Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s first ever novel and in it he introduced James Bond, who since publication in 1953, has become a worldwide phenomenon largely thanks to the success of the film series. It’s strange then to think that this book, the first of the James Bond books, was only adapted properly for the big screen in 2006 in the critically and commercially successful movie staring บาคาร่า Daniel Craig.
Ian Fleming had originally sold the rights to the story, which was made into a 1954 television adaptation staring Barry Nelson. The film rights went first to Gregory Ratoff and later, on his death, to Charles K Feldman who brought the story to the big screen in 1967 as a comedy that featured everyone from David Niven to Peter Sellers and Woody Allen (and incidentally featured Ursela Andress, the very first Bond girl).
Hence, when Fleming sold the remainder of the film rights to Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli it was without Casino Royale. Eon Productions eventually got the rights to the film after an court battle with Sony in 1999 and decided to use the story following Die Another Day in 2002. However, more than 50 years had passed since the novel was first published and the producers felt it required some updating.
In the book the story is straightforward. Bond has been sent to a spa town in Northern France where he is to beat Le Chiffre, who is under the pay of the KGB and has lost the funds of his Russian paymasters. If Le Chiffre wins at the baccarat tables he can pay back the funds; if he loses then the British hope the Russians will assassinate him instead and therefore send 007 to help them achieve this goal.
While the film does remain faithful to this element of the plot it is considerably expanded. In the film version James Bond becomes instrumental in Le Chiffre losing the money. And rather than being paid by the KGB, Le Chiffre is working for a shadowy criminal organization which is laundering money for African guerrillas and Le Chiffre is involved in his own scheme to make some additional money on the deal by “borrowing” the money and investing it in a short term sure thing that, if it weren’t for the intervention of 007, would have been a sure thing.
It isn’t until about an hour into the film that it starts to become more faithful to the central plot, although it has been moved from France to Montenegro and the game is Texas Holdem rather than baccarat.
Following the successful mission Bond recuperates in hospital. While in the books Rene Mathis is a good friend, he is suspicious of Mathis and has him arrested by MI6. He then heads to Venice for a holiday with vesper (a small hotel on the French coast in the book); she eventually commits suicide by taking an overdose, while the film has an elaborate action scene in which it isn’t quite so clear that she kills herself.