Monday, October 15, 2012

The 10 Best Moments from Climax!: "Casino Royale" (1954): Countdown to Skyfall— Nov. 9th!

Spoilers, of course. 

Here's my list of the top ten best moments from Climax!: "Casino Royale". I've tried to pick actual individual moments rather than sequences. What are your favorite moments?

10. Bond explains in just a few words the basics of baccarat as cover talk when consulting with Leiter, but this also serves to explain the game to the audience.

9. Bond kisses Valerie and says it's for "old times sake," than says "this is for now" and plants another one on her.

8. Leiter, fast on his feet, outsmarts Le Chiffre's henchman, who's trying rob him of Bond's stake money before the game.

7. After Bond is miraculously resupplied with money, he takes Le Chiffre on the next hand 4 to 3.

6. Le Chiffre announces: "It's about time we stopped joking, I think he's ready for the bathtub."

5. Bond sees Le Chiffre's cigarette case, and his chance to cut himself free.

4. Le Chiffre lays it out for Bond: "I'm quite without mercy.... you'll be tortured to the edge of madness."


3. As Bond stakes the money for his last hand with Le Chiffre, a cloud of smoke rolls by (whether this was intentional or otherwise, nice moment).

2. Le Chiffre holds a razor blade to Valerie's neck.

[Note: there is a version that floats around missing this final sequence; watch the You Tube video that has a running time of 51:50 here, which is NOT the one labeled "full film"]

1. Straight from the book and well-handled in this "live" TV presentation, Bond throws himself backward, knocking the gun-cane from Le Chiffre's henchman.

Climax!: "Casino Royale" (1954) is a well-done early American TV presentation, boosted by good performances and a fairly faithful adaptation of the source material.

For good measure, what I think is the worst moment from Climax!: "Casino Royale": for what this is, a "live" TV presentation, again, it's pretty good, so it's hard to quibble: but I guess the gun shots at the start are pretty crudely done, with Barry Nelson just kind of waiting for them to go off.

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