Nov 16, 2020
Casino Royale (1967) (part 2 of 13)
We open on what could only be a street in a Parisian slum, judging by the “Les Beatles” graffiti. As the camera slowly pans over, we see an older guy in a coat peek around a pillar and ask, “Mr. Bond?” Then we see he’s talking to a guy literally five inches away, who replies, “Yes?” This is our first look at the Peter Sellers version of James Bond, and for some reason, the master chameleon Sellers is projecting things like “nondescript” and “mousy” while supposedly playing James Bond. We find out why later, but nonetheless, for a Bond film, even a Bond spoof film, this opening does not bode well.
The older guy identifies himself as “Lt. Mathis of the Special Police.” The camera pulls back as Mathis says, “These are my credentials.” He displays some papers to Bond, who says, “They appear to be in order.” Mathis says, “Come with me.” Odd. Usually when you’re showing your credentials to someone, they’re the ones who say, “okay, that’s good, come with me,” or whatever. Maybe Mathis is Bond’s new personal shopper.
Meanwhile, some schoolchildren are marching down the street, singing “Frère Jacques”, just to remind you we’re in Paris. This film has a split personality about locations (as it does with pretty much everything else): half the time it pounds you over the head with where a scene is taking place (pretty soon we’ll be in Scotland Scotland SCOTLAND!), and then the rest of the time, it drops you down the rabbit hole and lets you fend for yourself.