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Lights, Camera and Baccarat

Why Baccarat in movies? After all, the sole aim of most spy movies is to create a suspenseful situation between the suave hero and the scheming arch nemesis. Nothing clicks more than a game of cards as it is always exciting to see how the hand of cards will turn out to be. But, baccarat is hardly associated with wits or skills and that is why, perhaps, poker was Daniel Craig's preferred weapon of wits against the stony eyed villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Usually, baccarat has been the motif of indulgence and wry humor, be it in noteworthy James Bond movies or in lighter vein in slapstick fests. Its presence has hinted towards flirtation, romance and nostalgia. A simple scene of baccarat can lend some moments of calm to a frenetic rush. Here are a list of some memorable scenes of baccarat and how it has lit up the soul of even the most outrageous movies.

The Beatles and Banco

When the legendary Beatles were not crooning together to milestones of career, they also found time to star in a concert film. One such film was A Hard Day's Night, where they stop in at London to have some fun. One of the delightful scenes is where Paul McCartney's father John gets an entry ticket into a casino, while it was meant for Paul's fellow performer Ringo Starr. He wins quite a bounty on the baccarat tables, even as he plays it without much knowledge of the game.  The version which he is playing at the scene is Punto Banco, and a croupier even reminds him that it is Banco, not Bingo as he puts it!


Bond with Baccarat

Ian Fleming, curiously, intended to associate the game of baccarat with his famous creation. That is none other than Bond, James Bond. Fleming used the mystical charms of baccarat in full force, setting up several situations of baccarat games between Bond and his enemies while ratcheting up tension by the means of witticisms, folded into conversations and dialogues. Obviously, the people who were overwhelmed with the thrills of movies were often bored with lengthy sequences of baccarat. It is hard to deny that some of the scenes of baccarat are legendary, as much as any car chases sequence. Consider the scene in Dr. No. We first get to see James Bond (Sean Connery) when he is playing baccarat and the he introduces himself as Bond, James Bond, in his trademark style. This is also the scene where we meet the beautiful Sylvia Trench in a gorgeous red dress where she slowly warms up to Mr. Bond's charms. The trend has continued and Bond has met many of his female counterparts, in similar sequences in later films. Spoofs are usually unmemorable and forgettable but there is an exception to the rule. Remember the 1967 James Bond spoof, known as Casino Royale. While it has little to do with the actual series, Ken Hughes and John Huston film boasts of a scene of detailed baccarat that is famous for its ensemble of Hollywood stars. Here, famed comic Peter Sellers is Evelyn Tremble, an ace baccarat player, who has to beat the SMERSH agent Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) who is trying to cheat at the game with infra red glasses. Eventually, he is aided with Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress) who steals the glasses and Evelyn makes the killing. It is a memorable sequence, largely due to the presence of Welles, Sellers and Andress.