The Oddball in the Series.The second adaptation of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, released in 1967. It was originally planned to be a straight adaptation of the one novel that EON Productions (at the time) didn't have the rights to, but producer Charles Feldman instead decided to mount it as spoof of James Bond and spy films in general. Unfortunately a Troubled Production ensued, and the resultant film, even for a comedy, has Mood Whiplash, incomprehensible plotting, and ridiculousness aplenty.Sir James Bond (David Niven), the original as opposed to that imposter who inherited his name and number, is forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths and disappearances of various British Secret Service agents, which turn out to be the work of the spy organization SMERSH. Organizing the recruitment of a new team of agents, he also plans to confuse SMERSH by naming all of them "James Bond" — even the women. The film proceeds to jump back and forth between the misadventures of the faux-007s before most of them are brought together for the climax. They are:
Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers): A baccarat expert sent to challenge SMERSH operative Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) at the titular casino, in the one plot thread that is derived from the original book. He is recruited and assisted by...
Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress): A former colleague of Sir James Bond who's gone into high finance.
Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet): Sir James's swinging daughter, the product of his tragic affair with Mata Hari. She's sent behind the Iron Curtain to investigate a SMERSH fundraising auction.
Cooper, aka "Coop" (Terrence Cooper): His specialty is resisting the advances of women, a vital skill given that the dead agents were all seduced to their dooms by SMERSH's roster of female spies.
The Detainer (Daliah Lavi): "The new secret weapon" of the group.
Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen): Sir James's "disappointing" American nephew.
And Starring: Terence Cooper and Barbara Bouchet are credited as co-stars, but right before them, George Raft and Jean Paul Belmondo are featured in the secondary cast with no special words around their names despite making a very minor appearance at the climax.
Anyone Can Die: It's the only movie where James Bond dies. All seven of them. Many at the same time.
Bilingual Bonus: The French Legionnaire translates "merde" when he hits his hand as "ouch." It actually means "shit."
Billing Displacement: Peter Sellers signed on back when the film was serious. At that point, it was intended to be a vehicle for David Niven. Much rewriting and scene-stealing later, Sellers actually ends up with top billing alongside Ursula Andress.
Egocentric Team Naming: Once Sir James Bond becomes head of MI6 after the previous M gets offed, the very first thing he does is rename ALL his agents, male AND female, James Bond 007 as a ploy to confuse the enemy.
Everyone Join The Party: In the finale, all Hell breaks loose when the Big Bad's casino is invaded by Ransome and an army of secret agents (apparently) sent to assist James Bond, consisting of a French-Foreign Legionnaire, George Raft playing himself, sterotypical Cowboys and Indians, chimpanzees, and even seals. And then everyone else in the casino joins in on the action. No one is safe, especially when the whole casino explodes at the end, killing everyone inside.
Mood Whiplash: When Vesper Lynd recruits Evelyn Tremble, the film suddenly becomes considerably less wacky, though still heavy on comic Double Entendre; it's where "The Look of Love" comes in after 40+ minutes of slapstick. Most of Peter Sellers' scenes come as this compared to the rest of the film, in part because he plays his role mostly straight — reacting to the strange world he's in rather than being just another wacky resident of it. (Sellers was cast when the movie was intended to be a straight adaptation, and he apparently considered the final script a bait-and-switch. He either refused to deliver the comedic lines as scripted and ad-libbed, or may have even out-and-out rewrote his scenes with the collaboration of an outside screenwriter to make them hew closer to the original conception he had been promised. Accounts vary.)
Real Life Writes the Plot: It's not quite sure where the increasingly zany plot originated. The best guess is that even though Charles Feldman had the right to make a straight James Bond entry, he feared that he would not be able to compete with the official Bond movies, and he directed each writer who came along to make the film more and more of a parody. As mentioned above, however, Peter Sellers had been hired while the film was still intended to be a serious Bond movie, and he saw it as a way to broaden his acting portfolio. He was not amused when the film veered towards a wacky parody during the filming process, and after many fights with the producers, the director and his co-stars, including/especially Orson Welles, Sellers either was fired or quit. After that, Feldman, scrambling for a replacement story, decided to go all-out and pack the film with seven Bonds, and also hired a different director for each act of the film, causing the disjointed feel of the movie.
Rule of Funny: Much of the movie runs on this, with the climactic fight the most elaborate example. However, most of the jokes/wacky events come off as less funny than strange.
Spoiler Opening: The title sequence contains shots from the ending sequence.
Stage Magician: Le Chiffre does a few magic tricks during the poker scene. This is because magic-loving Orson Welles was allowed to do them to keep him happy as the shoot dragged on. They're reportedly all genuine illusions, with no camera tricks.
Take That: Niven's Bond calls Sean Connery's Bond a sex maniac who dragged the James Bond name through the dirt, and takes his fellow spies to task for relying on gadgets.
Peter Sellers was fired/quit midway through the shoot due to chronic absences and miscellaneous poor behavior, so the filmmakers making up for this by having his character shot to death by the suddenly turncoat Vesper can be seen as this as well.
What Could Have Been: The producer had intended to cast Sean Connery as Bond, but balked at the star's paycheck demands ($1 million, which wasn't cheap back then). It is assumed that had Connery been cast, it would have been a straight 007 film rather than the parody it would eventually become. Years later, Connery ran into the producer and told him it would have been much better if he had agreed to the million-dollar paycheck.
Who's Laughing Now?: Jimmy Bond is the Big Bad, intending to conquer the world as revenge against his famous, and infinitely more stylish and sophisticated, uncle.