Released in 1967, Casino Royale started life as a serious Bond film, designed to rival (and capitalise on) the successful Eon series. When these plans came to nothing, the film was instead touted as a spy spoof, to star Peter Sellers in the Bond role, but due to Sellers' unprofessionalism (leaving before his scenes were finished) and various other production nightmares, the film gradually mutated into the overblown tribute to 1960s' pop culture that we all know, but don't necessarily love. However, despite its reputation as an unfunny, overblown disaster of a film, the fact is that Casino Royale is actually quite an enjoyable movie. Holding the whole thing together with his customary charm and good humour, David Niven (playing the `original' James Bond) gives perhaps his most impressive performance of the 1960s; when Niven starts saying lines like `be careful, that's my loose kneecap' and `it's depressing that the words `secret agent' have become synonymous with `sex maniac'', you can't help but buy into the film, and laugh with it, rather than at it. Barbara Bouchet, playing Miss Moneypenny, is one of the most attractive women I have ever seen, and the film features a veritable parade of gorgeous sixties' starlets wearing very little indeed. John Huston, William Holden, and Orson Welles do great cameos (I'll take Welles' Le Chiffre over `Nads' Mikkelsen's any day), and Woody Allen, back when he was funny, has some good lines as Niven's nephew Jimmy Bond. The sets and art design for the film are absolutely astounding, and tons of British comedy actors appear in minor roles, some funny (Geoffrey Bayldon, Ronnie Corbett), some not (Bernard Cribbins). But the best thing about the film is the music; Burt Bacharach's score for Casino Royale must be one of the most underrated in film history, and is annoyingly catchy. All in all, Casino Royale is by no means a great film, but it is a harmless and funny one.