Tag Archives: Orson Welles

Casino Royale (1967) Review


Casino Royale (1967)

Time: 131 Minutes
David Niven as Sir James Bond
Peter Sellers as Evelyn Tremble/James Bond
Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd/James Bond
Joanna Pettet as Mata Bond/James Bond
Daliah Lavi as The Detainer/James Bond
Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond
Barbara Bouchet as Miss Moneypenny/James Bond 007
Terence Cooper as Coop/ James Bond
Deborah Kerr as Agent Mimi/Lady Fiona McTarry
Orson Welles as Le Chiffre
William Holden as Ransome
Charles Boyer as Legrand
John Huston as M/McTarry
Kurt Kasznar as Smernov
Jean-Paul Belmondo as French Legionnaire
Director: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Joe McGrath, Val Guest

James Bond, a secret retired agent, sets a plan to take down SMERSH. Later, James Bond renames a group of agents with the same name in order to hide the real one.

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I had watched all the James Bond movies, including the unofficial Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery. But one Bond film I hadn’t gotten to yet was the 1960s Casino Royale. Casino Royale was the first novel in the James Bond book series, there were attempts to adapt it in the 60s with Sean Connery, but from what I could tell, there was issues with the rights. Eventually it was made as a spoof of the James Bond movies, and most nowadays people don’t really know about this film (especially after the 2006 film). Despite the reviews, I went in open minded and was hoping to enjoy it on some level. However, it ended up being worse than I thought it would be.


The movie is titled Casino Royale, it features characters named Le Chiffre and Vesper Lynd, and there is a card game that takes place at Casino Royale. But that’s as far as the similarities to the original James Bond story go. The movie is pretty much a James Bond spoof, unfortunately it doesn’t really succeed as that. The script really is a mess, and its not surprising that 11 scriptwriters had worked on it. It just felt like they had thrown a lot of different ideas at the wall and saw what stuck. The plot is bizarre and absolutely incoherent, even spoof movies are at least comprehensible. The setup is that a retired James Bond played by David Niven returns from retirement to take on SMERSH (parody of SPECTRE) which involves giving multiple agents the name of James Bond. That’s as far as I can describe the plot. As for the spoof/satire aspect, it largely deals with the themes of sex and womanising in the James Bond franchise, and this is established very early on. Eventually it forgets that, and very little of the overall humour is based on Bond tropes. Most of the jokes aren’t funny and really miss the mark, and it only grows more tedious to watch as the movie progresses. I won’t say that its completely unfunny, there are some moments which are so absurd that I did find them funny, the ending is particularly insane. But those take up a very small part of the movie, and with the unfunny and annoying humour and the prolonged sections, Casino Royale is quite boring and a slog to sit through. The worst part of this movie might be the length. Had this just been 90 minutes long, I think I wouldn’t have minded the movie as much. It would’ve been a weird and trashy 60s James Bond spoof that would’ve been somewhat enjoyable in its weirdness. However, Casino Royale is over 2 hours and 10 minutes long, there’s just so much pointless and random padding, and it makes the experience even more insufferable.


There is a weirdly large cast, filled with known names from the 60s. Unfortunately, they are all wasted here. I did somewhat enjoy David Niven, in this movie he’s playing the original James Bond. His stuttering and flustered Bond was amusing to see, even if you can easily call him the worst on screen James Bond. For the most part though, the cast are just wasted and given bad parts. There are a couple of exceptions. For examples, Woody Allen is in this movie and while his character is bad, his presence makes the whole movie even more annoying when he appears on screen. This is the first time I’ve seen Allen act in a movie and I’m very content with never seeing him again. That being said, his final scene did actually make the viewing worth it in the end. The other exception is the surprising addition of Orson Welles. In this movie he plays Le Chiffre, and for what its worth he was one of my favourite parts of the movie. He is good in his scenes, unfortunately he’s not in this movie as much as I would’ve liked. Its just a shame that out of all the James Bond movies he could’ve been in, he ended up in this one.


As if 11 screenwriters for one movie wasn’t enough indication that Casino Royale was going to be a mess, its also directed by 5 people: John Huston, Ken Hughes, Robert Parrish, Joe McGrath and Val Guest. Just by looking at the movie, you can easily tell that its from the 60s and the direction is really a mixed bag. For what its worth though, there is some creativity on a visual level, from the production design to the colours and lighting. There’s even some German Expressionist inspired visuals in the Berlin segment. I also liked the score, its very 60s and probably deserves to be in a better movie than this.


1960s Casino Royale is easily the worst movie with the James Bond character, but also one of the most ill-conceived films I have seen. I do like some of the actors, and there were a few moments of absurdity I did enjoy. On the whole though, it is really bad. Most of the humour misses, it fails to be a solid spoof or satire of James Bond, and its just dull to sit through. The troubled and messy production certainly comes across in the end product. If you are looking for a good parody or spoof of James Bond, Austin Powers and Johnny English deliver on that much better. I’d only recommend Casino Royale (1967) to those who are very curious or want to watch all the James Bond movies, but you really aren’t missing out if you don’t watch this.

Citizen Kane (1941) Review


Citizen Kane

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane
Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland
Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane
Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane
Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane
Ray Collins as Jim W. Gettys
Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter
Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein
William Alland as Jerry Thompson
Paul Stewart as Raymond
George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher
Director: Orson Welles

The investigation of a publishing tycoon’s (Orson Welles) dying words reveals conflicting stories about his scandalous life.

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Citizen Kane has been widely called ‘the greatest movie of all time’, even if a lot of people haven’t seen it, they certainly heard of it somewhat. Its at the point where a phrase became associated with it: “____ is the Citizen Kane of ____”.  I remember when I watched it for the first time earlier this year, and being quite surprised how much I liked it. I decided to revisit it in the lead up to Mank, the David Fincher directed film about the man who wrote Citizen Kane. I wouldn’t place Citizen Kane as one of my favourite movies of all time or anything, but I still think that the movie is still quite great.


Citizen Kane is a 2 hour long character study, and a great one at that. It has modern day parallels, with themes that are still relevant to this day. Much of the film’s success has to do with the script from Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles, which was very well put together. One of its elements that ended up being quite influential was its inventive narrative structure and style which makes it much more modern and energetic that you’d expect it to be considering that it was released back in 1941. It is a rise and fall fictional biopic but is done in an unconventional style. It certainly must’ve been quite the experience for people who watched it back in the 40s. The film begins with the death of Charles Foster Kane and a reel of an overview of his life. Then we follow journalists investigating who Charles Foster Kane was from multiple different perspectives of people who knew him, and particularly try to find out what his dying word meant. It’s quite engaging and I was generally interested throughout, even with some moments that I wasn’t as invested in.


The acting was great from everyone, especially as most of the actors hadn’t worked on movies before. Of course the standout is Orson Welles, who plays central character Charles Foster Kane excellently. It really was an eye-catching and iconic performance, that personifies the complex and ambiguous protagonist, greatly.


Orson Welles directs Citizen Kane excellently, it is brilliant on a technical level, and this is for sure one of the best directorial debuts of all time. I won’t dwell too long on the directional aspects because much of them have been talked about plenty of times already. Many of the filmmaking techniques were quite ahead of its time and really inspired and influenced the way cinema would be created. The cinematography is fantastic, the lighting and use of shadows were stunning, and the angles and shot types were quite unique. Welles’s direction is also surprisingly snappy and straight to the point, very effective. The editing is innovative for sure, and some of the production designs were well done. The direction still holds up quite well to this day.


Citizen Kane is a classic for a reason, with its excellent direction, acting and script, and its widespread influence across media and cinema. Sure, I would not consider it one of the greatest movies of all time by any means and wouldn’t watch it a lot, but I do somewhat understand its acclaim. I certainly understand if you watch it and you’re let down from what you’ve seen, and find it to be boring, underwhelming or something else similar. Nonetheless, I think it is worth watching at some point at least, even just to see what all the fuss is all about. Though I do highly recommend going into the movie not with the expectation that you’ll be seeing the greatest movie of all time, just go in expecting a really good movie instead.