After the death of M, Sir James Bond is called back out of retirement to stop SMERSH. In order to trick SMERSH and Le Chiffre, Bond thinks up the ultimate plan. That every agent will be named James Bond. One of the Bonds, whose real name is Evelyn Tremble is sent to take on Le Chiffre in a game of baccarat, but all the Bonds get more than they can handle.Written by
The opening credit animation by Richard Williams parodies illuminated manuscripts with cartoon-style calligraphy. It sets the tone for the film as a psychedelic "knight's tale" of Sir James Bond. See more »
Contemporary reviews of this film mention an opening sequence that spoofs the Bond films' "gunbarrel" opening, only instead of us hearing a gunshot, we hear a popping cork. Perhaps it was thought to be too similar to the opening of the regular Bond films, because TV and video prints instead use a short Peter Sellers sequence from the middle of the film as the "teaser." See more »
A terribly silly affair that is made worse by the sheer weight of wasted talent involved
With the baccarat winnings of Le Chiffre giving them access to a new funding stream, SMERSH is on the rise and only one man can stop them James Bond. But not THAT James Bond, he is only a mere playboy with gadgets, the real Bond retired years ago but now finds himself approached to come out of retirement to counter the new threat. With his pure lifestyle and impeccable reputation, SMERSH send an array of lovely ladies after him to sully his image or, if that fails, kill him. Things get more confusing as many other agents (also called James Bond) get involved!
With only the number of uncredited writers outweighing the number of directors, this film screams 'mishmash' and indeed, it transpires, that that's exactly what it is a silly mess which amazingly manages to be less than the sum of its parts. To waste any time here discussing the plot would be to give the film credit that it simply doesn't deserve the makers owned the rights to the actual novel and could have made a 'real' film but instead the outcome is a film that is more like a load of poorly conceived individual scenes. Some of these have funny moments but generally they are silly beyond being funny and are just daft for the sake of it. The design, 'humour', directing and script is all very 1960's and I do not mean this as a compliment in this case.
The cast list makes this film even more annoying some of the funniest men alive are in this film but yet they are given nothing to work with whatsoever. Niven is amusing at times but he does no more than play his usual personae. Sellers is a comic legend but this film has him doing a bad Bond spoof and he struggles even when allowed to ad lib. Allen is an unusual find here and in fairness he is actually funny because he brings his stand up routine to the role and seems to just be having a laugh as he goes.
Even to waste these three actors is a crime, but when you consider that the film also has Orson Welles, Ursula Andrews, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, John Huston, George Raft, Jacqueline Bisset, Derek Nimmo, Ronnie Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Peter O'Toole, Stirling Moss, David Prowse, Burt Kwouk, John Le Mesurier and a few others then you have to wonder how so many people were fooled into appearing in this. I can only imagine how good it seemed at the development stage ('Bond but with laughs') but I doubt if any of those involved are actually proud to have this on their cv.
Overall this is a pretty awful film but I suppose you may get a few laughs out of it if you can buy into the silly tone but I'm afraid I wasn't even able to get close to the mind state needed to enjoy this. The laughs come occasionally but they are too rare and the plot and actual script are not big and not clever. The end product a silly, self-indulgent mess of a film that is actually very hard to work though and not worth the handful of laughs that you might actually have.
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