12 Apr: The First Casino Royale

A chaotic, shambolic and critically panned parody, the first on-screen incarnation of Ian Fleming’s novel ‘Casino Royale’ received its London premiere on 12th April, 1967 – with final edits still being made in the projection room. Nonetheless, it went on to take an extraordinary $40 million at the box office. 

Hardnut hero James Bond’s adventures had become a swinging Sixties sex comedy starring Peter Sellers, thanks to Fleming’s disasterous decision to sell the movie rights to actor Gregory Ratoff for a song long before Bond was known all around the world thanks to the highly succesful film versions of his later books ‘Dr No’ and ‘From Russia With Love’.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal how producer Charles K Feldman assembled such an impressive cast list for his 007 ensemble, including Orson Welles, Ronnie Corbett and Ursula Andress; explain how an on-set visit by Princess Margaret prompted an enormous clash of egos; and ponder why ‘the Spice World of the Sixties’ became such a box office hit… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Casino Royale movie review & film summary’ (Roger Ebert, 1967): https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/casino-royale-1967

• ‘The Casino Royale calamity: how Peter Sellers turned Bond into a laughing stock’ (Daily Telegraph, 2021): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/casino-royale-calamity-peter-sellers-turned-bond-laughing-stock/

• ‘Casino Royale: Official Trailer’ (MGM, 1967):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.