Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 19th, 2002
Sir James Bond (David Niven), a superhuman prude with a stutter, is forced out of retirementto discover who is killing off all the world’s spies. He recruits a whole load of other 007s, fromPeter Sellers to Ursula Andress (don’t ask), and the villain turns out to be Woody Allen.Comedies should rarely run more than 90 minutes. This clocks in at 137. Interminably,mortifyingly dull. I defy anybody to sit through this.
The sound comes in both 5.1 …nd mono. The surround mix is pretty low key for the mostpart. Even the music doesn’t have much rear presence initially, though it does pick up. But thesound effects hardly register. Still, the sound is crisp and clear.
The image is a nice 2.35:1. The colours aren’t bad (the reds are gorgeous), but the contrastcould be a bit stronger, and the picture a bit sharper. Still, this is a 1967 picture, and barring acouple of speckles, the print is in terrific shape.
The menu has a scored and animated main page, and scored secondary ones. “PsychedelicCinema” is a twenty-minute look back at the making of the film by Val Guest (one of the picturesfive directors). Guest speaks well, and sheds light on a rather troubled production (Sellers wasfired, for instance, before completion). There’s also the theatrical trailer. But the real treat — infact, the best reason to pick this disc up — is the inclusion of the 1954 television version ofCasino Royale. This is the very first adaptation of a Bond story, only here he’s American. PeterLorre plays the villain. The print is in as good a condition as could be expected from an almostfifty-year-old kinescope. Though not without some serious flaws itself, the show is such ahistorical curiosity that it really demands to be seen.
The main feature is unwatchable. But the TV show, at only 50 minutes, is easier to take, andis a must for Bond completists.
Special Features List
- “Psychedelic Cinema” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
- Casino Royale (1954) TV Adaptation