This column is for all you James Bond fans.
I urge you to take a break from all the Christmas specials to watch “Casino Royale” at 8 p.m. today on the BBC Channel. This film is the first to feature Daniel Craig as the British secret agent when he faces off against a terrorist banker.
I only suggest this film because my husband and I saw Craig in “Skyfall” on the new film's opening weekend, and he, by far, has impressed me most as Bond — a secret agent with flaws, grappling with the memories of his mysterious past. I don't know if it was the big screen so much as the director's (Sam Mendes) willingness to show Bond's grittiness, weakness and, yes, his progression to middle age (facial character lines).
Craig has evolved Bond in a way that no other actor has. George Lazenby came close in his one-time stint when he portrayed Bond in “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” in 1969. I wish he had signed on to do more films, but his agent told him the 007 Series was nearing the end of its popularity. Right!
Here are two questions regarding “Casino Royale.”
1. In the 1967 version of “Casino Royale,” David Niven portrayed Sir James Bond in a spoof of the Bond films. Who played nemesis Le Chiffre?
2. Which actor was first to play James Bond in the 1954 TV adaptation of “Casino Royale.” What was so unusual about him?
Answers: 1. Orson Welles. 2. Barry Nelson played an American spy — not British.