Tomorrow, when James Bond finally comes back, the critics will give a SPECTRE-quality drubbing for one of my favorite cult films. To paraphrase a famous line of Deborah Kerr's, one of the stars of the film in question, when they speak of Casino Royale '67 -- and they will speak of it -- they won't be kind. But having just sat through a double bill of true excess yesterday -- Dreamgirls and Curse of the Golden Flower, I'd have to reevaluate what's meant by extreme, everything-but-the-kitchen sink filmmaking. Casino Royale 1967 may have burned through 5 credited directors, but at least it spared our eyes the sight of a color-coordinated Gong Li going slowly, slowly nuts from poisoned tea, and spared our ears the sound of Jennifer Hudson's American Idol-winning song stylings, which is too say a sort of gospel-meets-Alpine-yodeling.
I love music that's a little understated, and Dusty Springfield's quiet, almost whispered "The Look of Love" is one of the many moments that makes Casino Royale '67the spy musical, even if the characters in Our Man Flint seem ready to burst into song at any minute. (If Casino Royale '67 was Bollywood instead of Hollywood, everyone would praise it for its craziness, instead of deploring it for its weirdness.)