Sunday, February 27, 2011

Revealed: Ben Hecht's Casino Royale

Today, I have a long article about Ben Hecht in The Sunday Telegraph. Hecht was a critically acclaimed novelist, poet and playwright who also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays of several classic films, including Underworld, for which he won the first best screenplay Oscar in 1927; The Front Page, based on the play he co-wrote; the original Scarface; and Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound and Notorious. Known as ‘the Shakespeare of Hollywood’, he also worked uncredited on dozens of other screenplays, including Gone With The Wind, Foreign Correspondent and a few other Hitchcock films.

In the Sixties, Hecht wrote several drafts of a screenplay for Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale, a fact that has been mentioned in passing in many articles and books over the decades. But the contents of Hecht’s drafts for that film have never been revealed. Until today.

Read my article on Ben Hecht’s Casino Royale in today’s Sunday Telegraph – and keep an eye on the Telegraph’s website, as an extended version of the article will be going online shortly.

EDIT: The full article is now online here.


  1. Fascinating article, Jeremy. Allegedly, Peter Sellers wanted to play a serious Bond in Casino Royale. Although he was a veritable chameleon, I'm not at all sure he could have pulled that off convincingly.

    I would have preferred a more stripped-down spoof based around the simple idea of Sellers' Evelyn Tremble masquerading as the absent (Connery) Bond, and gleefully aping Eon tropes left, right and centre a la OSS117. But of course, in the mid-60s, excess was all the rage, and nothing exceeded like Bondian excess.

  2. I must thank you for a great article! As a long-time Bond fan I was absolutely thrilled to read your fantastic article!

    I wonder, do you think the documents you found will ever be released to the general public, be it online or through other means? I really would love to read them!

    Is there anyway I can get hold of a copy of such documents?

    Well, thanks again for your enlightening and wonderful article!