Scene Of The Crime: Casino Royale (1967)

 

Throughout the history of cinema there have been spoofs and pastiches, tributes, and vainglorious failures. Then there is Casino Royale. To paraphrase Woody Allen’s character Fielding Mellish in Bananas, Casino Royale, in which he plays Jimmy Bond, the nephew of the great spy, is “a travesty. A travesty of a mockery of a sham.”

The film had five different directors, and a temperamental star in Peter Sellers, who jumped ship for a large portion of the filming, partly explaining the disjointed mess that appears on screen. The plot sees David Niven as the original James Bond reluctantly come out of retirement to assume the mantle of “M”. He comes up with the idea of renaming every British spy James Bond, to unnerve enemy forces. Sellers plays Baccarat wizard Evelyn Tremble, who is recruited as a Bond impersonator and sent to Casino Royale with Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress). There he is to beat enemy agent Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) at cards, and prevent him embezzling funds. This brief segment is where any similarity to Ian Fleming’s plot can be found.

Sellers desperately wanted to play a smooth part like Bond and legend has it he didn’t realise he’d signed up for a broad parody at best. He took an instant dislike to Welles, especially when Princess Margaret visited the set and fawned over Welles, ignoring Sellers completely. Welles was equally dismissive of Sellers. The two men refused to act together, so their joint scene in the Casino below never shows them in the same shot at the same time. An amusing dichotomy therefore of two vain actors attempting to upstage each other with neither present to witness their rival’s umbrage.

For your delectation, instead of the nerve shredding tension of a card duel for the highest stakes, we witness the showing off of two overgrown children with, as Welles famously put it years before, “the biggest electric train set a boy ever had” at their disposal.

INT. CASINO ROYALE

TREMBLE and LYND enter, LYND standing beside LE CHIFFRE, TREMBLE nervously swallows and joins the Baccarat game.

TREMBLE

I believe you have my name, erm Bond, James Bond.

CROUPIER

Yes, Mr Bond.

LE CHIFFRE

Bond? James Bond? The name is familiar.

TREMBLE

I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure, though I’m flattered you’ve heard of me.

(Unseen, LYND switches LE CHIFFRE’S cheat glasses for ordinary ones)

LE CHIFFRE

I’ve heard of you, but not as an expert on Baccarat.

(He puts on ladies comical glasses)

TREMBLE

I’m sorry you weren’t told.

LE CHIFFRE

(Removes glasses, regains composure) Don’t think I haven’t noticed, Mr Bond. I see everything that goes on around this table. Nothing escapes me.

TREMBLE

I’m quite sure it doesn’t. But you know we mustn’t forget (adopts comic Indian accent) “The beggar who sits in the market, is completely deaf, in so far as the song that has come from the Mockingbird is concerned.”

LE CHIFFRE

Sorry, Mr Bond, I don’t see the connection.

TREMBLE

Ah, you will, you will.

LE CHIFFRE

Sim, Salabim.

(A ballon pops, revealing a card stuck in a champagne cork next to him)

TREMBLE

(Smiling tolerantly) When you’re quite ready.

LE CHIFFRE

(Removing his pocket handkerchief) For my next experiment I require a perfectly ordinary gentleman’s handkerchief.

TREMBLE

From the pocket of a perfectly ordinary gentleman.

LE CHIFFRE

(Transforming handkerchief into a small Union flag) That’s the sort of remark that can lead to war (Produces a multitude of flags) How much better for all of us if the all the nations could learn to live together in peace?

TREMBLE

(Clapping) Marvellous, marvellous.

LE CHIFFRE produces a multitude of flags and sparklers, even a white dove. The crowd all clap and cheer.

TREMBLE

More! More! Oh, ah, that’s finished, is it? Fantastic, incredible, never seen anything like it

LE CHIFFRE basks in the glow of appreciation. TREMBLE now stands, all serious intent

TREMBLE

And now if you’re ready Mr Le Chiffre, I would like to play Baccarat. I use the Evelyn Tremble method.

LE CHIFFRE

(Laughs) Oh, you read Tremble? I thought he only published a few papers, a few paperback editions.

TREMBLE

Well, I have an autographed first edition. it’s a bit dog-eared now, mind you. I’ve been through it a few times, but it nevertheless has a certain-

LE CHIFFRE

-Uninformed quality?

TREMBLE turns his cards, wins a hand.

LE CHIFFRE

Aren’t you a little out of your depth, Mr Bond? In the last twenty minutes I have ruined two Greeks and a Maharaja. You understand we aren’t playing for marbles. The night is young, the rose garden is already littered with my victims.

TREMBLE

Yes, but the (adopts comic Indian accent again)”beggars who sit in marketplace, are deaf to hum of Nightingale.”

LE CHIFFRE

You amuse me, Mr Bond.

TREMBLE

I’m glad you’re enjoying me.

Originally posted 2012-10-26 14:11:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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