Tango to the death – Casino de Monte Carlo

Connery returned 12 years after Diamonds to do the unofficial Never say never again. The film is a bad remake of Thunderball, produced by Kevin McClory and Jack Schwartzman in 1983. McClory had retained the rights to the Thunderball story in the 60’s, and was allowed to remake the film after ten years had elapsed from 1965.

                                              ” -I’ll settle for one dance with Domino!
                                    -So, do you lose as gracefully as you win?
                                               – I don’t know, I’ve never lost…”

In the film, Bond follows Largo to the south of France. After meeting Domino at “la centre de la santé” in Villefranche-sur-mer he learns that Largo is having a charity ball at the casino and Bond crashes the party. For some of the scenes the real Casino de Monte Carlo was used. Most notable is the excellent tango scene with Bond and Domino. This scene was actually filmed in the big entrance hall after the lobby. Photography is not allowed so getting some pictures is hard, hence the rather poor quality. The hall is accesible for non-gamblers as well but it is truly a fantastic location that should be enjoyed before a game of Roulette or Baccarat in the most famous casino in the world.

Never was actually the first time Bond went to Monaco, but Brosnan would later bring the secret agent back to the casino in 1995 for GoldenEye. Unfortunately the Franc has been replaced by the Euro and smoking is no longer allowed inside the Casino…

“-Your brother is dead. Keep dancing!”

Bond is entering the casino from the right side (facing southwest), observed by Fatima Blush. This is actually  the entrance to the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, which is located in the same building as the casino. It houses La Salle Garnier, an exact replica in miniature of the Paris Opera House, designed by Charles Garnier. It is here Bond knocks out the guard and fools him with his cigarett “bomb” case to keep him in the closet.  

They make no reference to the fact that they are at Casino de Monte Carlo in the film. In fact, a sign in the entrance says that the charity ball is held at “Casino Royale in Monte Carlo”. This is probably why they didn’t use the very recognizable main entrance of the casino.

 Entrance to the Opéra. Hotel de Paris visible to the left. 

Never say never again should not be compared with the rest of the films in the series, but if it did, it would end up at the bottom. Brandauer is a poor choice for Largo and terrible in comparison with Adolfo Celi in Thunderball. Leiter is cliché, the dialogue is badly written and Kim Basinger’s acting is bad. Practically all the actors are poorly chosen for their respective roles. Rowan Atkinson is funny, but doesn’t belong in a Bond film. However, they did a few things right. Connery and Carerra is very good in the film and so is the music by Michael Le Grand. To sum up: it is a bad comedy but Connery, Carrera and LeGrand, combined with the locations in the Bahamas and at the Riviera makes it worth watching. Another interesting fact is that Bond is drinking Absolut Vodka for the first, and last time. So far…

 The Connery steps and the Casino/Opéra seen from the back, facing the Mediterranean.

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