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Apr 12, 2016

Film Club: Casino Royale

The twenty First film in the James Bond series and the first to star Daniel Craig. Shot in the beautiful Czech Republic.

Casino Royale (2006) is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis, the film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond's career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls in love with Vesper Lynd, the treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt a terrorist financier, Le Chiffre, by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008), with explicit references to characters and events in Spectre (2015).

Casino Royale reboots the series, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede or succeed any previous Bond film which allows the film to show a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond. Additionally, the character Miss Moneypenny is, for the first time in the series, completely absent. Casting the film involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, and significant controversy surrounded Craig when he was selected to succeed Pierce Brosnan in October 2005. Location filming took place in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the United Kingdom with interior sets built at Pinewood Studios. Although part of the storyline is set in Montenegro, no filming took place there.

This film was shot primarily in Prague’s fabled Barrandov Studios, known as the "Hollywood of the East” for its use in films including Mission Impossible, the Bourne Identity and Amadeus. However there are only a few opportunities every year to tour the studio and its costumes department.

A more accessible location is Prague’s open-to-the-public Strahov Monastery library, which stands in for an interior committee room of London’s Parliament in a scene with M, played by Judi Dench. The city's international airport, Ruzyne, (and the Nassau airport in the Bahamas) features in the film as the airport in Miami, Florida. The exterior of Prague’s Ministry of Transport and the interior of Vitkov Monument’s history museum in Vitkov Park were the shooting locations of the film’s Miami Body Worlds exhibit. And the lobby of the Venetian hotel where 007 and Bond girl Vesper Lynd stay is actually Prague's National Museum on Wenceslas Square, currently closed for reconstruction and scheduled to reopen in June 2016.

About a two hour drive west of Prague -- faster if you are a fictional British secret agent -- is the picturesque Bohemian spa-town of Karlovy Vary, which takes on the role of the small European country of Montenegro, part of Yugoslavia in Ian Fleming’s day. The city’s most historic and beautiful spa, the-closed-to-the-public Lázně I (or Spa 1, formerly known as Kaiserbad), located on Mírové náměstí, was used as the exterior of the titled Casino Royale. The outside is all a traveller is likely to see of it now; except for rare occasions, it has been closed for the last decade awaiting funds for renovation. Just a few hundred metres away is the high-end Grandhotel Pupp, which served as Bond and Lynd’s Hotel Splendide in the film. If you had your heart set on actually going to Montenegro, there is a real Hotel Splendid in the coastal town of Becici, with posh rooms overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Director: Martin Campbell, 2006, 144 mins.

First-come, First-served.


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Apr 12, 2016


Czech Center

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