Mar 1, 2018
Casino Royale (1967) (part 13 of 13)
So, here we are, pulling into the home stretch at last. I wish I could say it’s a cakewalk from here, but unfortunately, this is about the most chaotic, painful part of the film. In accordance with all “madcap” comedies made in the late ’60s, Casino Royale completely goes off the rails in the final minutes, and drops all semblance of story, continuity, character, and plot. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t around at the time to understand the trend, but to me this type of ending feels like a massive fuck you to anyone in the audience who just spent two hours following (or in this case, desperately trying to follow) an actual story with, you know, characters. But, whatever. This whole movie is a mess, so it’s only fitting that the ending is a nightmare. Bring on the hijinks!
Well, before we get to that, there’s one final bit with Woody Allen. Woody-Bond is easily the funniest part of this movie. This is mostly because, as others have observed, his scenes appear to be stolen directly from early Woody Allen comedies. And what comes next is no exception.
Woody is now in a chamber with round, earth-tone walls, where… well, how to explain this? One of the female 007 agents is tied up with restraints on an examination bed, while several of Woody-Bond’s fem-goons, wearing orange welding visors [?], stand guard around her. Oh, and she’s completely naked, except for two metallic straps that oh so conveniently cover up her naughty parts.
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The 007 agent is played by Daliah Lavi, who Mark earlier called “the tarted-up Edith Keeler”, if you can remember back that far. She was one of the many Bond Girl archetypes that challenged the chastity of Mr. AFSD himself, Agent Cooper. And believe it or not, Cooper is also going to suddenly reappear shortly, too.
Daliah’s character never gets a name. At least, not in the dialogue. She’s identified in the credits as “The Detainer”, which makes no sense at all, so I’ll just be calling her Daliah.
Woody dismisses the guards and Daliah demands to know why she was “abducted from the roulette table” and tied up here. He says he kidnapped her because she’s the “most beautiful and most desirable” of all the 007s. With competition like Vesper and Moneypenny and Mata Bond? Not likely. Hell, I’m not even sure she outdoes Peter Sellers in the looks department.
She asks if he treats all the women he desires this way, and Woody Allen breaks into rapid-fire Allenesque shtick, saying, “Yes, oh yes, I undress them and tie them up, yes! I learned that in the Boy Scouts!” Wow, does that joke take on different connotations nowadays. Allen continues to play the most neurotic supervillain ever, nervously asking if he looks “menacing”. Of course, she just laughs and insults him.
By the way, Daliah’s voice has some kind of raspy, transsexual thing going on. It’s really evident when she says Sir James “is a reeee-al man!” and her voice cracks all over the place. Geez, lay off the cigarettes, lady. Or the testosterone. One or the other.
Woody then earnestly tries to prove he’s just as much of an all-around renaissance man as his Uncle James. First, he steps over to a rounded earth-tone piano and begins fake-playing a concerto. I guess now is the time of day he has set aside for Debussy. Woody steps away, but the concerto keeps playing. He smacks the piano and the music stops. Predictable stuff, but at least they’re keeping things moving along here.
Then he straps on a big black sombrero—but of course—and snaps his fingers as he dances around. He takes a swipe at a punching bag with David Niven’s face on it. I also own one of these. Actually, I bought it sometime during the roughly eighteen hours this movie has been going on. Uncle Niven’s bag springs back into position with a big tympani BOOOOOIIIING and hits Woody in the back. I’ll continue to be generous and call this stuff “serviceable”, and keep going.
Woody then mounts a mechanical bucking bronco [!]. Yeah, right there in his lair. I would hate to shop for this guy, because it sure seems like he has everything. Daliah just rolls her eyes as he ends up twisted and turned around in a slapstick pretzel on the bull.
As he dismounts, they share this exchange that was good for at least a chuckle:
| Daliah: You’re crazy! You are absolutely crazy!
Woody: They called Einstein crazy!
Daliah: That’s not true! No one ever called Einstein crazy!
Woody: Well, they would have, if he carried on like this!
All things considered, it’s hard to argue with that logic.
The Einstein thing becomes an awkward segue, because Woody opens up an oval medicine cabinet and asserts that Einstein could have never come up with what he now holds in his hand. He’s got a foil package, and he explains that the pill inside looks like an aspirin, but actually contains “400 tiny little time pills”. Apparently, these explode within the body, turning a person into “a walking atomic bomb!” 400 tiny, time-released atomic bombs? Is that the best they could do? I mean, this is like the stuff kids make up on the playground when they don’t feel like trying that hard.
He tosses the pill aside, followed by a zoom-in as Daliah zeroes in on it. So, bring on Bond Cliché #7,845, as Woody proceeds to fully explain his evil plan for world domination to Daliah. This is immediately followed by Bond Cliché #7,846, wherein he gives her one last opportunity to join up with him. He says that in a week it’ll be April Fool’s Day, which is apparently his birthday, not that it particularly matters (or is funny). On that day, he plans to have “all world leaders assassinated” and replaced with his “doubles”.
He claims he’ll soon be the “ruler of the earth”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that to be a ruler, you have to be at least twelve inches long. He asks Daliah to be his “co-ruler”. And also his T-square. She then makes a naked attempt (yes, pun intended, I’m sorry to say) to flirt with him. He completely buys it, and literally wags his tongue at her. This is not subtle stuff, folks. She asks him to unlock her, and he quickly complies, saying they can “run amuck! If you’re too tired, we’ll walk amuck!” Okay, if finding that funny is a crime, then guilty as charged.
He tosses over a purple chiffon dress to retain her modesty, and she has him turn around while she puts it on. Of course, this affords her the opportunity to grab his time-pill nuclear bomb aspirin. Woody continues to talk with his back turned, stroking a random sculpture in a severely disturbing way.
Meanwhile, Niven-Bond, Mata-Bond, and Moneypenny-Bond are all trying to escape from Jimmy’s lair. I’d ask why Jimmy didn’t simply have them all killed, but I believe that’s Bond Cliché #7,847. Down in a cave-like room, they’ve all gotten up on each others’ shoulders, in order for Mata to reach a puffy-clothy thing hanging from the ceiling. I honestly don’t know how to describe it any better than that, I’m afraid.
From below, Niven-Bond says that it’s “vaporized lysergic acid!” Yeah, now that sure is subtle. Can you guess where this is all going? I bet you can’t. But then, in the same beat, Niven-Bond calls it “highly explosive”. Really? It is? Hmm. Just out of curiosity, can you really call it a “script” if it’s mostly written in crayon?
And here, as promised, is Cooper-Bond, also locked up in the same room as the other three. No, I don’t know how he ended up in here, and the movie never tells us.
Meanwhile, Woody-Bond is leading Daliah-Bond down into a chamber where the recorded Dr. Noah voice tells them they’re entering his “personal aircraft”. In this big circular chamber is a girl dressed like a go-go stewardess, and rows of seats ringing the room. In each seat, there’s a person with a giant helmet on, obscuring his or her face.
So, it seems the folks seated around the room are Jimmy’s “doubles”, i.e., clones of world leaders and other assorted people. Sure enough, Daliah Lavi is also playing the go-go stewardess, who welcomes them to Woody’s “orbital space plane”. The real Daliah seems a bit too ecstatic about having a double, even after Woody implies he fucked her clone. I wonder if he got the Zombie Niven to watch?
He asks Daliah what she thinks of the décor, and I notice the place has an open bar. So, me? I’m sold.
Daliah looks over and sees obvious clones of Mao Tse-Tung, Ho Chi Minh, some other guys I don’t recognize, and… Fidel Castro. Geez. Can you believe that as I write this, that guy is technically still in power? Bring on the Agony Booth Death Curse, already!
Oh, but here’s the (supposed) kicker: Woody quips, “These are not doubles! These are the real people!” Okay, that’s worth another chuckle. Strange how there are more chuckles in these five minutes than there are in the other two hours. Woody explains that much of the world is already ruled by duplicates under his control, to which Daliah deadpans, “Oh, well, that explains a lot of things.” Not a kneeslapper, I guess, but at least it resembles a punch line. Which is more than I can say about at least half of the “jokes” in this movie.
The bartender brings out a bottle of “rain-cooled Taittinger” and Woody wants to make a toast. Daliah goes along with this, trying to discreetly slip the bomb pill into Woody’s glass. But he fakes left and gives a grandiose speech about “a world free of poverty and pestilence and war! A world where all men are created equal!”
And as he speaks, the floor beneath him rises up, becoming a pedestal that lifts him several feet in the air. The lighting also gets all weird and purplish, and below the pedestal are six tuxedoed men, standing in a circle, and humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic. And I swear, this really happens. Under normal circumstances, I’d call this a total mind trip, but after seeing dozens of Orson Welleses peeking out of Peter Sellers’ brain, everything else is kind of a letdown.
Woody’s speech is an obvious spoof of political speeches, all about how he hopes for a world “where a man, no matter how short, can score with a top broad,” and so on. Personally, I think it would be awesome if they actually held elections for the position of Evil Overlord. The pedestal then disappears down from whence it came, never to be seen again. And can you imagine how much it cost to build this set piece that appears for, what, less than ten seconds of screen time? Gee, how did this movie go over budget, again?
Daliah finally distracts Woody with a kiss, and drops the pill into his champagne. He drinks and she immediately tells him he just swallowed the pill. Smooth, lady. Did it cross your mind to just worry about escaping first, and let him find that out on his own later?
He doesn’t believe it at first, until he hiccups, sending out a light blue, cartoon mushroom cloud from his mouth. She stands at the doorway and warns that there are “398 more of those” to go. Well, 399, but who’s counting? Actually, all of us, while we watch every single one of these explosions play out in real time. She cries, “Have a real bomb of an evening!” and exits stage left. Woody’s response is to call for an Alka Seltzer from the bartender. Hey, what did you expect? It’s 1967.
Meanwhile, back in the dungeon, or whatever this cave-like room in Woody’s lair is called, Mata is still trying to pull the puffy beanbag thing down from the ceiling. At last she succeeds, and hands it to Niven-Bond and Cooper-Bond, and the two men stick it to the metallic, vault-like door. They light a fuse, and… At this point, I’m just gonna say “whatever” and let the random images wash over me. How about I put it this way: The good guys figure out a way to escape. There. Does anything more need to be said? Oh yeah, and when they run out of the room, it’s all undercranked like the Keystone Kops, but I think that goes without saying.
Meanwhile, Woody is still hiccupping, and more psychedelic-colored explosions come out of his mouth. He gets a glass of water from the bartender, and then complains that there’s a fish in his glass. It’s a long story, really. And while I do enjoy telling long stories, in this case, I think we’re better off just moving on.
Meanwhile, the 4 Non-Bonds are calmly strolling through Woody’s lair. Mata Bond is still playing the cheeky, unflappable flapper as she declares, “Super place for a coming out party!” I should note that “coming out” doesn’t mean the same thing in 2006 that it meant in 1967. Or perhaps it did, judging by the likes of Hadley and Forydize. Cooper-Bond suddenly screams, “Down!” And we cut to eleven of Jimmy’s miniskirted henchgirls firing machine guns at them. Boy, I bet it takes a keen eye to spot eleven girls jumping out of nowhere like that.
They spray the room with gunfire, while the good guys dive to the ground. This somehow causes jets of water to come spraying out across the room [?] and then a door slides up [?]. Niven-Bond cries, “Quick! Before the fuse burns out!” What? Should I even be trying to figure any of this out? And the closed captions transcribe this as “Before the fuel burns out,” which makes even less sense. They quickly scurry through the door as scads of explosions and sparks fly everywhere.
Now they’re making their way through the corridors of the hideout. Niven cries, “Try not to look conspicuous!” And considering they’re the only people running around in something besides leather outfits or metallic miniskirts accessorized with welder’s visors, I’m assuming that’s a joke. As random goons scamper past, they just happen to stumble upon Daliah-Bond.
She cries that they have to escape “before he blows up!” Does she mean Orson Welles? Because I think it’s a bit late for that. Without any further ado, Niven simply says they have to get back to the office, so they can go back up the same way they came down. Straightforward enough, I guess. Not that this smacks of “money’s running out, find the quickest way to end this movie”, or anything like that.
They step forward, but quickly halt when Frankenstein’s Monster crosses their path. No, you didn’t miss anything. They just randomly inserted Frankenstein’s Monster into this thing. It’s really not supposed to make sense, so don’t even try. Oh, and the Monster is actually the first screen appearance for David Prowse, later to play some character in Star Wars. I can’t remember which.
Niven actually tries to talk to Prowsenstein’s Monster, demanding to know where the office is. You might be shocked to learn the Monster is not very forthcoming. He was never really the chatty type, was he?
But eventually, the Monster slams his body directly into a set of metallic Star Trek doors, and it appears that this is the location of the office. Well, that’s great, thank you so much, sir. Directions would have been fine. You could have drawn us a map. But showing us right to the door, well, you have gone beyond the call of duty, sir. You’re a credit to all reanimated beings composed of stolen body parts.
Everyone runs to the sliding doors to pry them apart, but a gunshot rings out. They all dive for cover behind these odd, bell-shaped, metallic go-karts. It turns out the Mini-Skirt Brigade is firing upon them again, so everybody jumps into the bumper cars. They use the go-karts to barrel into the gang of hench-strippers at an intimidating three miles per hour, which, I think, scatters them, but the editing is doing me no favors here.
Then both bumper cars make a U-turn, and slam directly into the doors to the office. Somehow, this causes the doors to instantly open. Yep, time is money, alright. They were definitely trying to bring this baby on home.
Both go-karts drive inside the office, and Niven tells Mata to stick her finger in the tiger’s ear. This closes the doors and sends the office shooting back up the mineshaft, and the windows dutifully show rock formations sliding down to indicate upwards movement. Of course, earlier in the film, the Kilt Guys pushed the tiger’s eye to start the movement, but who’s keeping track? No, seriously, who was keeping track? Anyone? Anyone at all?
Cooper asks what their “strategy” is, and Niven says, “Get out of the bloody place before it blows up!” Well, can’t get any simpler than that, now can we? He might as well have said, “Get out of the bloody movie before the credits roll!”
The office reaches the top and they all pile out, and now we’re back in the casino. Yep, just as simple as that. Daliah suddenly doesn’t want to “chance” the casino. She steps into the nearby ladies room and says, “I’d rather slide down a drainpipe!” Now, that’s what I call committed. Niven dryly comments, “Beautiful, but no stamina.” I beg to differ, David; Sliding down a drainpipe takes a hell of a lot of stamina. Just ask Deborah Kerr. And that, it seems, is pretty much the last we’ll see of Daliah Lavi, or hear of her smoker’s voice. Can’t say I’ll miss it.
They step out onto the casino floor, and Niven quickly has Cooper get the “girls” out through a rear entrance. He apologizes for getting them involved, but Mata flappers, “Good heavens, Dad-dee! I couldn’t have enjoyed it more!” Well, thanks for sharing that one last tiny bit of spunk with us, Ms. Pettet. Now kindly see your way out of this movie. I might miss looking at you, but I sure won’t miss that annoying voice.
Niven goes to the concierge, who’s no longer played by Graham Stark. I knew heads would roll at the casino over that autograph incident. Niven very casually says, “Clear the building immediately. It’s liable to blow up.” Now, that might seem like a rather flippant way for him to deliver such horrible news, but keep in mind, Jack Bauer does this every other week. Or, every other “hour”, as the case may be. Niven attempts to call London, but someone reaches over and hangs up the phone.
It’s Vesper Lynd. Holy shit, Ursula Andress is still in this movie? She’s holding a gun on James, and they have dialogue that makes absolutely no sense, no matter how you rearrange the lines. Something about her doing “it”, whatever it is, “for love” instead of money, or some damn thing.
Anyway, none of that really matters, because the clock on the wall says it’s time for this story to lose what little meaning and continuity it had in the first place. Of course, some might argue that happened in the first fifteen minutes. But it was nothing like this, trust me. Ladies and gentlemen, brace for madcap hijinks!
Cooper-Bond suddenly runs in, telling Niven that the “American aid” has arrived. Cut to stock footage of… cowboys riding through the desert in broad daylight. Whoops, there goes gravity. Somehow, this stock footage distracts Vesper, and allows Niven to get behind her. He grabs her arm, forcing her to shoot the concierge instead. Now, was that really necessary?
This causes panic! at the casino. A random guy at one of the tables pulls out a gun and starts shooting. He might not be involved with either side, by the way, and just looking for an excuse to go postal. He starts shooting the place up, and here we go! Cue the Benny Hill-type oompa-loompa music as The Comedy begins, and suddenly a dozen cowboys on horseback ride through the front doors of the casino.
Everyone scatters at the sight of the posse, with several people jumping and/or being thrown behind the bar. Welcome to Unthinkable Mayhem, everybody. I have three little words for you: Pan. De. Monium. Casino patrons actually start fighting with the cowboys, jumping on them and throwing chairs. Enter Woody-Bond, still hiccupping neon mushroom clouds. “Eighty!” he gulps.
A full-on brawl breaks out. Cut to two seals snapping at each other. Yes, seals. As in the marine mammal. And as if that weren’t enough, the curtains are on fire behind them. Hey, why not? “Why not” is the official motto of this ending, by the way.
The cowboys continue riding through the casino. A girl is hiding under the roulette table, and it appears the roulette wheel has all kinds of gadgets and lights underneath the table. This includes a switch marked “Laughing Gas”. But of course. Don’t all roulette wheels come with a Laughing Gas add-on?
She flips the switch—just because, I guess—and then the wheel begins spinning, and suddenly there are little rockets shooting out of the bottom. The roulette wheel flies upward, leaving the table, and flies up into the air, spewing out bright green gas.
Then it (I think) shoots out fireworks, too. One firework lands in a potted plant, and in the next shot, the plant is spewing out soap bubbles. Oh, how I wish I had my pretty mind back.
The roulette wheel continues to hover above the casino, and there are now soap bubbles everywhere, and people are still scampering about like mad. Somewhere in the casino, a monkey with a light brown wig [!] pokes his head out of a hole, somewhere, and sticks out his tongue to catch the bubbles. Very soon, this will get freakier than a Flaming Lips video.
Niven gets in a whole fight scene where he kicks random guys in the face. That’s the entirety of his fighting moves here, by the way. Random guy runs up, Niven kicks him in the face. Another guy runs up, Niven kicks him in the face. And the kicks are all timed to big cymbal crashes on the soundtrack. Oh, but actually, he kicks the last guy in the ass. Would be kind of amusing, except the guy’s ass is just suddenly there, completely out of line with continuity. Wait, what am I saying? Continuity? What’s that?
Then some men try to restrain a mule kicking its hind legs. Okay, so we’re now looking at an actual “kicking ass”, which comes just after Niven… yeah. I would compliment them on a joke this subtle, but it lasts approximately 0.3 seconds. There’s absolutely no way I would have ever caught that joke without pausing the movie every few seconds.
Anyway, bubbles fly. A dog with a 007 collar chews on someone’s coattails. Cooper breaks a chair over a guy’s head. He shakes one guy’s hand, then starts to shake another guy’s hand, but decks him instead. Psyche!
Then another guy in a tux, for unknown reasons, is flying through the air. He crashes through the mirrored wall behind the bar, ending up in some sort of studio, where artist guys are spray-painting nude models gold. It’s obviously a jab at Goldfinger that really goes nowhere, because all we see are the Golden Girls briefly running for cover, and that’s the end of that bit. Not helping is that the mirrored wall behind the bar is intact again in the very next shot.
The roulette wheel is still hovering in the air, and the air is still filled with soap bubbles. Then the wheel suddenly flies into a wall and explodes in a massive fireball. Well, yeah, that was completely expected, wasn’t it?
Cut to a shot that really tries my patience with this film. First, we cut to a plane passing overhead, and tiny figures parachuting out. Cut to a guy in the door of the plane crying, “Geronimoooo!” And he, of course, is dressed like Geronimo, as a stereotypical American Indian with a headdress, tomahawk, and fringe shirt. He leaps out of the plane, followed by several other guys who are dressed just as stereotypically. And the plane has 007 painted on the side, so I guess they’re here to, I don’t know, rescue Bond?
Back at the casino, the patrons are now getting pelted with ping pong balls. Yes, it appears several of the cowboys have somehow gotten their hands on ping pong ball guns. Those are always lying around at casinos, I’m told.
Also getting showered with ping pong balls is Woody-Bond, who hiccups another cloud and says, “Fifty one…” And then the shower of ping pong balls causes him to lose his glasses, and he walks into a random sculpture. This is quite an ending. It’s amazing how it all comes together, isn’t it?
Cut to the exterior of the casino, as the Indians parachute in, and.. oh my god. Their parachutes are teepees. I know it’s 1967 and everything, but you really have to wonder how they got away with some of this stuff. The Indians parachute in through the skylight, and their parachutes get caught on the skylight, leading to overhead POV shots of them swinging around. Hmm, they sure are helpful. One chieftain lands, and he’s got 007 painted on his forehead in white. Everybody say it with me: Why not?
One Indian lands on a card table, and then another Indian lands on the other side of the table. This causes a see-saw effect, complete with an old favorite, the big tympani BOOOOINNG on the soundtrack. One Indian goes flying, and ends up on the shoulders of a female patron. Oh, but the pain of this “bit” isn’t over yet, not by a long shot.
See, the female patron tumbles over a railing, sending the Indian flying, and she herself ends up upside-down and showing off her bright white bloomers. And which part of this was supposed to be the least bit funny? If you figure it out, let me know.
Then… cut to George Raft. Yes, the actual George Raft, standing in a tuxedo, flipping a coin, which is a reference to his role in the original Scarface. Unfortunately for George, we’ll be seeing him again in a minute or two.
Meanwhile, there’s more mayhem, with William Holden suddenly appearing and kicking a random guy’s ass. Yes, William Holden is also still in this movie, sadly. He heads on over to Niven, shaking his hand and saying he’s glad they could be “of help!” Um, what help did he provide, exactly?
Niven immediately recognizes Ransome, who replies, “A-OK, Sir James! CIC at CIA!” Yep, he’s still speaking in acronyms. “Now, don’t start all that again,” Niven replies. If he means this whole worthless movie, I’m 100% in agreement.
The two men barely make a break in their small talk to punch out two goons headed their way. And then they simply say “Ciao” to each other and return to the melee. Meanwhile, Woody Bond hiccups a purple cloud and informs us this is explosion 37.
And then, just to add to the general chaos, an obviously French military official enters. He’s played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, mostly known for his appearances in French New Wave cinema. He goes up to Niven and starts speaking in French, and Niven declares his French is “rather rusty.” So the guy pulls out an English-to-French dictionary just so he can say, “The French have arrived!” Well, thanks for that. That’s like punching somebody out and then saying, “My fist has arrived!”
Then the French guy has a random guy coming at him, so he punches him out. Frenchie immediately shakes out his hand, crying, “De merde!“, or something like that. Which he kindly consults the book to translate into “Ouch.” (Although he pronounces it “ooch”.) Well, good to see the “pussy Frenchman” stereotype has been a comedy goldmine for at least several decades now.
Patrons are filing out of the casino en masse. The casino director is on the concierge’s phone, calling for “Police!” So we immediately get a black-and-white clip that’s made to look like, no joke, an old Keystone Kops film [!]. I almost thought it was a clip from a Kops film, until I saw photos in the Playboy pictorial of actors from this film in old-time police costumes. Anyway, to the expected speedy piano melody, the Faux-Kops run out of a police station and pile into a car, and that’s the end of the clip. This never results in anything, so feel free to forget it, as I already have.
A guy in a tuxedo has his head through a panel of wood, and his hands in some golden vases, and he swings at anybody who comes near him. And, just like everything else in this scene, it’s just as bizarre as it sounds. Meanwhile, Frenchie punches out some other guys, still constantly crying out “ooch!” and shaking out his hands.
Then Cooper-Bond suddenly has a flag that’s on fire, and he uses it to assault random guys. He also inadvertently sets some nearby curtains on fire, which will surely add to the mayhem. By the way, I presume this is why the curtains were on fire behind the earlier shot of the seals. Meaning that we got a glimpse of the fire before the fire was even set. Par for the course in this film, unfortunately.
Then the great George Raft approaches a random blond guy at the bar. “I’ve been framed,” he says. “This gun shoots backwards. I just killed myself!” And then he keels over. And, uh… “Framed” is not really the word that comes to mind when I hear about a gun that shoots backwards. Maybe Mr. Raft meant “punk’d”?
Woody Allen is still hiccupping little explosions. This one is pink, and he whines, “18!” A cowboy with glasses starts to punch him out, but Woody takes the guy’s glasses off, and uses them to replace the ones he lost a few minutes ago. As a result, the myopic cowboy subsequently punches out his compadre instead.
The Indians go on an assault. Niven notices a set of buttons on the end of a railing and pushes them, and this causes the railing to shoot off bullets all along its length. And this kills like six or seven random guys. Niven grins slightly and moves on. All in a day’s work, huh? So, I’m just going to assume that all of those guys got exactly what was coming to them. Not that any of them appeared to have been evil or murderous or anything. Certainly not as far as Sir David knew.
The mod soundtrack continues as the cowboys and Indians face off. A guy plays the cavalry call on his bugle while standing in front of the flaming curtains. His bugle then ends up with an arrow through it. Cut to several Indians who have, I don’t know, like the John Rambo versions of the bow and arrow. Like, there’s some sort of enhancement where each bow shoots out five or six arrows at once.
And then several Indians are doing a war dance around a flaming object that’s spewing out sparks. Then we cut to another seal, now up on the bar, and flapping its fins. It’s got a big leather dog collar on, and the collar has a giant silver tag that says “007”. And I fully realize that I should not be trying to make any sense out of any of this, so I won’t even try.
The Indians continue dancing with their tomahawks around the sparkly pyre. Then the Indian war music abruptly shifts back to the ’60s go-go music, and now they’re all happily shimmying around like extras on Laugh-In. And I’m so very tired.
Woody Allen is still hiccupping, and now he’s down to 3. As he begins the inevitable countdown to 1, there are pointless cutaways to people smashing chairs over each other’s heads. Woody finally gets to 1, and then there’s an exterior shot of the entire casino. Which then explodes. Everyone dies. No, seriously. That’s really how this movie ends. All the characters die. Don’t tell me that actually surprises you?
And when your entire cast is dead, there’s only place left for your movie to go. That’s right: Heaven! Or at least, a patch of dry ice fog, with the entire cast standing around in fake wings and playing harps.
Niven plays the harp. Ursula Andress plays the harp. Woody Allen plays the harp. The ragtime-like Casino Royale song returns. “Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale,” the song goes, “they came to save the world, and win the gal at Casino Royale!” Even Vesper? Interesting. Strangely, it appears Mata, Moneypenny, and Daliah are all playing harps in “Heaven” too, even though they hustled out of the casino long before it blew up.
And then they plug in a shot of Peter Sellers, who was already off the project long before they got around to filming the ending. It appears they’re using outtakes from the torture scene, with Sellers standing in the dry ice fog, wearing Scottish garb, and playing the flute.
The footage cuts back and forth between Woody Allen Angel and Stock Footage Sellers, and the song informs us that six of the James Bonds “went to a heavenly spot, the seventh one is going to a place where it’s terribly… hot!” Sellers puffs out his cheeks, and Woody suddenly descends through the clouds. The harp flies out of his hands as the footage is tinted red, and we see flames superimposed all around him. Well, this is what happens when you fuck your own stepdaughter.
And if you can believe it’s finally here, that’s the end of the movie. It’s off to the credits. These play over the “greatest” “moments” from the film, which are all tinted random colors, and some of the footage is even played in reverse, for no particular reason.
It’s all shown in slow motion, but a very odd type of slow motion, that seems to just be a series of crossfades into still shots. And the whole time, we hear the Casino Royale theme, and it’s right here, at the very end of the film, that we find out the damn thing actually has lyrics. I mean, this is like finding out the Star Trek theme has lyrics, except these are way stupider, and they even got a guy with a goofy aristocratic British accent to sing them. It goes:
| The formula is safe with old double-oh seven!
He’s got a redhead in his arms!
Though he’s a lover
When you are in trouble
Have no feeeeear!
Look who’s heeeere
They’ve got us on the run
He’s gonna save the world
At Casino Royale!
The formula is safe with old double-oh seven!
They’ve got us on the run
He’s gonna save the world
Now, there’s a set of lyrics that nicely sums up the insanity of this film. In fact, you’d seriously be missing out if I didn’t provide you with an MP3 sound clip.
And so, we’ve reached the end. Thanks for spending what was (no doubt) a significant portion of your life with us and this film. It would be a shame to go through all this and not end up with some kind of moral, so what did we learn, kids?
First, under no circumstances should you complete a film after the principal actor either quits, gets fired, or dies. (Sadly, not even Blake Edwards grasped this last lesson.) Seriously, if this ever happens to you, just take the loss and move on to other projects. You and the rest of the world will be much better off.
Second, never build a movie around star cameos. It just barely worked for Around the World in Eighty Days (but definitely not the remake) and The Cannonball Run (but definitely not the sequel). And it sure as hell didn’t work for Masked and Anonymous. Really, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
Third, never have a madcap, free-for-all ending that throws the entirety of the preceding movie in the trash. You might think audiences will be dazzled and delighted by all the hijinks, but really in their heads they’ll be working on all the death threats they’ll be sending you, mostly for making them endure two hours of plot threads with no resolution. And if you really must have a madcap ending, see the original Pink Panther for how to do it the right way.
And finally, under no circumstances should you ever, ever put together a film, or any other type of creative work (dramatic, comedic, or otherwise) where the authors have no clue what anyone else is doing. The result will never be anything other than schizophrenic.
In fact, I think I’m going to take this final lesson to heart. Which is why this is probably going to be the last Mega Recap you see for a very, very long while. How Val Guest was able to survive putting together a movie this incoherent, and still live to be 94, I’ll never know.
Seriously, though, thanks to everybody who contributed this time around. Me, I’ll be curled up in bed in a fetal position for the next several days, trying to remember what this “reality” thing is that everyone’s been talking about.