Casino Royale

From Academic Kids

For the 2006 James Bond movie see Casino Royale (2006 movie)
Missing image
A 2002 Penguin Books paperback edition

Casino Royale, first published in 1953 is the first James Bond novel by author Ian Fleming. It was adapted into a 1954 television movie and formed the basis for a 1967 film spoof.

In February 2005, EON Productions announced that the twenty-first official film in the Bond franchise, due for release in 2006 will be another adaptation of Casino Royale.

Once the new film is completed, Casino Royale will become the only Ian Fleming work to be adapted on three occasions (currently both it and Thunderball have been adapted twice).


The novel

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Rare 1969 reprint by Pan Books.

The first paperback edition of Casino Royale in the United States was retitled by publisher American Popular Library in 1955 (this followed a hardcover edition with the original title). Fleming's suggestions for a new title, The Double-O Agent and The Deadly Gamble, were disregarded in favor of You Asked For It. The novel was subtitled "[Casino Royale]" and made reference to secret agent 007 as "Jimmy Bond" on the back cover as per the 1954 TV version. In 1960 the original title, Casino Royale replaced You Asked For It for all further paperback editions in the United States.

When the book came to the UK in paperback form in 1955, readers were given their first glimpse of an image of secret agent James Bond on the book jacket. The image of Bond was based off a photograph of American actor Richard Conte, who would become known for roles in films such as Oceans Eleven (1960) and The Godfather (1972).

Plot summary

Monsieur Le Chiffre, "the cipher", is an agent for the Soviet assassination bureau SMERSH, running a baccarat game at a French casino to raise needed operational funds—namely, to recover SMERSH's money that he (Le Chiffre) lost in a failed attempt to establish a chain of brothels.

Expert baccarat player James Bond (British secret agent 007), is assigned the job of beating Le Chiffre, in the hope that the agent's gambling debts will provoke SMERSH's killing him. After several nights intensive play, he manages to beat Le Chiffre, but only with extra money that Felix Leiter in attendance as a covert observer won on the roulette wheel. Bond having provided Leiter with a small stake to help him maintain his cover.

Bond has been provided with an assistant sent out from MI6, the (of course) beautiful but emotionally turbulent Vesper Lynd, who becomes his lover. But she is holding a terrible secret - she is actually a Russian double agent and under orders to see that Bond does not escape Le Chiffre. With her unwilling connivance, Bond is captured and tortured by Le Chiffre. But Le Chiffre is assassinated by SMERSH, Vesper commits suicide and her body is discovered by Bond, who reports to his superiors, tersely, "The bitch is dead now."


Comic strip adaptation

Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel to be adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper, and syndicated worldwide. It ran from July 7 to December 13, 1958, and was written by Anthony Hern and illustrated by John McLusky; the strip was reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s; a new reprint by Titan is planned for publication in 2005.



  • Jonathan Cape, the publishers of the first British edition, would publish the first hardcover editions of every Bond novel (with the exception of novelizations) until No Deals, Mr. Bond in 1987.

Film and TV adaptation history


In 1954 CBS paid Ian Fleming a mere $1,000 US dollars to adapt Casino Royale into a one hour television adventure as part of their Climax! series (see below). Additionally, CBS in the late 50's made an offer to Fleming to write 32 episodes over a two year period for a television show based on the James Bond character. Fleming agreed and began to write outlines for this series. When nothing ever came of this, however, Fleming grouped his outlines together and released the 1960 anthology For Your Eyes Only.

In 1955 Ian Fleming sold the film rights of Casino Royale to producers Michael Garrison (later creator of The Wild Wild West) and Gregory Ratoff for $6,000. Ratoff eventually tried to sell the idea of a James Bond series to 20th Century Fox but was turned down. After Ratoff's death, his widow in conjunction with Michael Garrison, sold the film rights to producer Charles K. Feldman. With the success of the official James Bond film series, Feldman went to producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman with a proposition to produce a serious film version starring Sean Connery as agent 007, but was turned down. Coming off the success of the comedy What’s New, Pussycat?, Feldman decided the best way to profit from the film rights was to make a spoof. Feldman's spoof was produced and released in 1967 by Columbia Pictures. In the 1990's, Sony Pictures (which had incorporated Columbia) decided to make a serious adaptation of Casino Royale, but these plans, in addition to Kevin McClory's plans for a second Thunderball (see: Never Say Never Again) remake were laid to rest when Sony settled an ongoing suit with MGM in 1999 giving up any rights to the James Bond character. Later in 1999, MGM paid Sony $10 million for the rights to Casino Royale. The film rights to Never Say Never Again were acquired by MGM from Sony in 1997.

After MGM's acquisition of the film rights to Casino Royale there was speculation that an official version would be produced. At one point, Die Another Day was rumored to be an adaptation of Fleming's novel (however, that film ended up being more a loose adaptation of Moonraker). In 2005 EON Productions announced that their next James Bond adventure would in fact be Casino Royale.

The 1954 television episode

Casino Royale was made into an episode of the CBS television program Climax! during its first season. The episode aired on October 21, 1954 and starred Barry Nelson as American secret agent "Card Sense" Jimmy Bond and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre. This was the first screen adaptation of a James Bond novel, and was made before EON acquired the Bond film rights. When MGM eventually obtained the rights to the 1967 film version of Casino Royale, it also received the rights to this television film. Some sources have suggested that this was intended as a pilot for a potential Bond TV series starring Nelson.

Two versions of the episodes currently exist; a three-act version and a four-act version. The fourth act features the infamous scene in which Peter Lorre, killed in Act 3, stands and walks off camera. The television episode was added as a bonus feature on the DVD of the 1967 film Casino Royale, the version ends with Act 3, whereas the proposed DVD release of the full version has been indefinitely delayed.

For this Americanized version of the story, Bond is an agent for "Combined Intelligence", while the Felix Leiter character from the original novel becomes "Clarence Leiter", a British agent, and a combination of two characters from the novel, Felix Leiter and Rene Mathis. The name "Mathis" is given to the leading lady, who is named Valerie Mathis (instead of Vesper Lynd).

Cast and characters


Leiter: "Aren't you the fellow who was shot?"
Bond: "No, I was the fellow who was missed!"

The 1967 film

Template:BondInfo A film version of Casino Royale, made in 1967, features Orson Welles, as Le Chiffre, battling James Bond in the guises of: Sir James Bond, David Niven, and six other James Bonds—Terence Cooper (named Coop), Woody Allen (Bond's nephew Jimmy Bond), Joanna Pettet (Mata Bond, illegitimate daughter of Mata Hari and James Bond), and Peter Sellers (card-sharp Evelyn Tremble impersonating Bond at Casino Royale).

The movie is very different from the book, and the other James Bond films, in that it is a broad spoof of the genre, the makers having decided they couldn't compete with the EON series on its own ground. The Sellers–Welles segment is the only portion based upon the novel.

Plot summary

The story of Casino Royale is told in a somewhat disjointed, episodic form and is best outlined in "chapters". Note: some of these chapters overlap.

Chapter 1: M (here referred to by his family name, McTerry, and played by John Huston) accompanies representatives of the CIA, KGB and French secret service to the massive country estate of Sir James Bond (David Niven), a First World War hero who resigned from the secret service after luring the love of his life, Mata Hari, to her death in front of a firing squad. (The film ignores the fact that these events would have taken place 50 years earlier, suggesting that in the Casino Royale universe, the First World War occurred during the time of the real world's Second World War.)

M and the others beg Bond to lend his leadership to a mission investigating the disappearance and deaths of secret agents around the world. When Bond refuses, M orders a military strike on Bond's mansion, but is killed in the attack.

Chapter 2: Sir James travels to McTerry Castle in Scotland in order to return McTerry's remains to his ancestral home. All that remains of M is his toupee, which is promptly dubbed a "hairloom" by Lady Fiona (Deborah Kerr), his grieving widow. Bond soon finds himself fending off the advances of McTerry's many daughters. Unknown to Bond, McTerry's wife and family have been replaced by agents of the mysterious Dr. Noah, who have been assigned to either discredit or kill Bond. But after Bond handily defeats a gang of thugs in a sport involving players throwing a heavy concrete ball at each eater, Fiona falls in love with Bond and helps him to escape. En route back to London, Bond survives another attempt on his life involving a remote-controlled dairy truck.

Chapter 3: Bond, now promoted to the position of M, settles into McTerry's old office and his secretary, Miss Moneypenny's daughter (Barbara Bouchet). Bond's first order is to rename all remaining MI6 agents "James Bond 007" in order to confuse the enemy (and, no doubt, the audience). He also orders that an agent be found who has enough self-control to resist the charms of female enemy agents. Such an agent is found in "Coop" (played by one-time Bond candidate Terence Cooper).

Meanwhile, Bond reconciles with his long-estranged daughter Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet) - also the lookalike daughter of Mata Hari - who spends her time smoking from hookahs and giving poor dance recitals. Recruited into MI6, Mata is sent to East Berlin to infiltrate a school for nannies which is a front for a spy school (the same one Mata Hari attended). Mata encounters her mother's teachers and a plan to sell compromising photographs of military leaders from the United States, China and Great Britain at an "art auction" which she disrupts. The plans are being sold by a man named Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) in order to make money to pay back SMERSH after he squandered the organization's money at the gambling tables.

Chapter 4: In the only section of the film remotely connected to the novel (and one that overlaps the preceding "chapter"), Sir James convinces millionaire spy Vesper Lynd (Bond film veteran Ursula Andress) to recruit baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) into taking part in a mission to undermine the finances of Le Chiffe, who is now trying to win back the money owing to SMERSH at the Casino Royale. After a brief fling with Vesper, a whirlwind indoctrination into the ways of spying thanks to Q, and a detour via the provocative Miss Goodthighs (Jacqueline Bisset), Tremble/Bond finally sits down face to face with Le Chiffre, who would rather do magic tricks than play cards. Ultimately, Tremble defeats the villain at the game, but he is then kidnapped and tortured by Le Chiffre, and is eventually killed by Vesper, who tells Tremble, "Never trust a rich spy". Le Chiffre, meanwhile, turns out to actually be an agent of Dr. Noah and is killed in suitably bizarre fashion.

Chapter 5: After Mata Bond is kidnapped from the heart of London by a giant UFO, Sir James and the rest of the surviving James Bond 007s head to Casino Royale to rescue her and discover that the casino is located atop a giant underground base run by Dr. Noah, who turns out to be Sir James' weak-kneed nephew, Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen). Jimmy's nefarious plan is to kill all men over 5 feet tall, leaving the diminuative villain the big man who gets all the girls. Meanwhile, as a huge brawl breaks out in the casino involving secret agents, French police, stereotypical movie cowboys and Indians, George Raft, William Holden, and a seal with the name tag "James Bond 007", another MI6 agent called "The Detainer" (Daliah Lavi) tricks Jimmy into swallowing a miniature nuclear bomb, leading to an explosive finale. As the film ends, the various Bonds are seen playing harps in Heaven, including Jimmy Bond -- a fact quickly rectified as the angel of Evelyn Tremble sends Jimmy "to a place that's incredibly hot."

This version of Casino Royale is notable as the only legally authorized (albeit unofficial) Bond story in any venue in which the main character is killed off.

Cast and characters



  • The film is notable for the behind-the-scenes drama involving the filming of the Peter Sellers segments. Sellers and Orson Welles disliked each other and, except for a couple of shots, were never in the studio simultaneously. Welles also insisted on performing magic tricks as Le Chiffre, and the director obliged. Sellers ultimately walked off the film before he completed all his scenes, which is why Tremble is so abruptly captured.
  • The single most successful element of the film was the song "The Look of Love", performed by Dusty Springfield and heard during the Peter Sellers segment. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, it has become a standard for its era. It was heard again in the first Austin Powers film, which was to a degree inspired by Casino Royale.

The 2006 film

Main article: Casino Royale (2006 movie)

In February 2005, EON Productions announced that a new version of Casino Royale would be released in 2006 directed by GoldenEye director Martin Campbell. An actor has yet to be chosen that will take over as James Bond (this announcement is expected sometime in 2005). David Arnold will be composing the film's soundtrack, as he has done for the last three Bond films.

Other versions

  • A fan-made rendition of Casino Royale appeared on fan film sites somewhere around 2003.


  • According to the biography Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood, by Todd McCarthy, the director of His Girl Friday considered filming a version of Casino Royale in 1962, possibly starring Cary Grant as James Bond, but, ultimately, chose not to. There is a webpage ( that speculates on what a Howard Hawks Bond film might have been like.
  • In 2004, American Quentin Tarantino supposedly went to EON Productions attempting to lobby for a "proper" film adaptation of Fleming's novel, based on a screenplay he had written starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Ultimately, the company assigned the film to someone else, and Tarantino himself claims to have removed himself from the project when he learned that Brosnan would not be playing James Bond.

External links

de:Casino Royale

nl:Casino Royale sv:Casino Royale (bok)


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