Did you realize that the Daniel Craig, Bond reboot, “Casino Royale” is the THIRD version of Iam Fleming’s kick-off Bond novel? The first is an oddball entry, though technically the first time Bond was filmed. That was back in 1954 on American television when CBS aired a one hour episode of “Climax!” their weekly suspense show. However, for this, the first ever filming of a James Bond story, Bond was portrayed NOT as a British Secret Service agent, but one from the CIA! Felix, his CIA compadre in so many films was the Brit instead. Holy through the looking glass, Batman! For you trivia types, Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre in this early, b&w, TV version.
Okay, but David Niven. Before the first real Bond movie began filming, Ian Fleming stated to EON productions (the group that has produced the “official” Bond movies) that he preferred him to Sean Connery. Alas, it was not to be for Sir David and the part went to the Scotsman. However, in 1967, Niven had the last laugh, playing James Bond in a parody version of the spy films. Five, count them, FIVE directors worked to make this erratic mess of a psychedelic comedy. Along with Niven you have John Huston, William Holden, Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress (a Bond girl!), Woody Allen and Charles Boyer hamming up the screen. The plot barely makes sense, but somewhere in there is the bare bones of arms deals and gambling and…I can’t begin to describe the weirdness of this film, but maybe the trailer will give you an idea. Enjoy the perky Burt Bacharach / Herb Alpert soundtrack goodness: