Casino Royale: Bond’s Navy Linen Pre-Credits Suit
Daniel Craig as James Bond, tough British government agent
Lahore, Pakistan, Summer 2005
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
On the 00-7th of August, with just two months until Daniel Craig’s final Bond movie will [likely] be released, I wanted to reflect on the start of his tenure and also include some insights from my friend Caleb Daniels, who many in the Bond fan-iverse know as the creator of the @CommandoBond Instagram and blog, discussing the then-significant return of 007’s trademark Walther PPK!
Interestingly, both of the last two James Bond actors have been introduced in their first films with pre-credits sequences that included commode-related combat, each fortelling the tone of respective actor’s characterization. In GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan cheekily grins as he “drops in” to knock out an indisposed Soviet henchman, while Daniel Craig’s hard-hitting Bond knocks down several stalls (literally breaking down barriers, if you will) in a hard-fought hand-to-hand brawl to the death, a potentially polarizing sequence for long-time fans of the franchise.
Dryden: How did he die?
Bond: Your contact? Not well…
As we soon learn, this was Bond’s first of two kills required before he could attain 00 status. He nearly drowns his nemesis in a bathroom sink, only for the man to suddenly scramble for his gun. Spying the movement in his peripheral, Bond picks up his own discarded Walther PPK and fires it directly at the camera to kick off the opening credits scored by Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name”, simultaneously rebooting the iconic “gunbarrel sequence” that had been a series signature since the first James Bond film, Dr. No.
The original screenplay, set photography, and a deleted scene included on some home video releases now show that the fast-moving black-and-white sequence seen on screen was actually meant to be considerably longer. We begin at a cricket match in Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, where Bond had been stalking crooked MI6 deputy Dryden’s doomed contact Fisher (Doud Shah), ultimately following him through the locker room into the bathroom where Fisher would meet his ultimate demise. In my opinion, these extended scenes were wisely trimmed to focus more on contextualizing the confrontation between Bond and Dryden, punctuating their conversation with the hard-hitting brutality of our new Bond.
What’d He Wear?
Consistent with the concept of Casino Royale rebooting the franchise, the James Bond character regresses from the debonair agent we know to a less sophisticated “blunt instrument”; after all, this is truly the earliest we see of Bond in the rebooted chronology. Granted, his light layers of linen are contextually appropriate for the year-round heat of Pakistan, and he’s certainly better dressed than some, such as the ill-fated Fisher.
Still, the wrinkled linen, the short-sleeved shirt worn tieless, that hefty belt, and the suede boots don’t complete the traditional image we have of James Bond wearing a suit, though this unsophisticated foundation built in the prologue pays off in the epilogue as a more polished 007 steps onto the screen, immaculate in his tailored three-piece Brioni suit, striped shirt, and perfectly knotted tie, assuring both the wounded Mr. White and the wowed audience that the name is, indeed, “Bond… James Bond.”
The Fisher fight scenes are presented in a high-contrast black-and-white, though the prominently seen production photography—including the shot featured on the cover of Greg Williams’ illustrated volume Bond on Set—shows us that the linen suiting is navy blue, perhaps chosen to evoke the color of the tropical worsted suit often favored by the literary Bond in Ian Fleming’s novels. After all, Casino Royale was the first Bond movie to feature one of Fleming’s titles in nearly 20 years, and Daniel Craig’s characterization had been heralded as a return to the rougher-edged character of the books.
In their excellent new book, From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, Peter Brooker and Matt Spaiser contrast how “in the films prior to Casino Royale, Bond is typically comfortable in his suits and takes pride in the clothes he wears,” while “Craig’s less-experienced Bond… draws parallels with Fleming’s Bond here—anti-establishment and at odds with the formalities expected of him.”
Writing about this suit specifically for his comprehensive blog Bond Suits, Spaiser identifies this suit as crafted by an English tailor rather than the Brioni suit that Bond would later wear, a subtle touch of verisimilitude suggesting that Bond wouldn’t yet have the budget to afford a suit from the esteemed Italian fashion house.
The single-breasted jacket’s sporty details like the edge-stitched notch lapels and patch pockets on the hips are consistent with the coarse linen suiting to signal that this casual suit can be more appropriately worn dressed down than a more conservative business suit. The two-button jacket also has a wide-welted breast pocket, soft shoulders, four-button cuffs, and long double vents.
Bond’s short-sleeved shirt was likely chosen for practical reasons, allowing Bond to beat the heat, while taking into consideration that he wasn’t yet at the level of sartorial sophistication to care about the impact of sweat on the lining of his suit jacket. Coincidentally (or not), the choice also recalls Ian Fleming’s controversial decision to outfit the literary Bond in “sleeveless”—meaning short-sleeved—shirts under his suits, particularly while serving in the warmth of Jamaica during the events of Doctor No, mirroring the author’s own preferences.
The shirt is constructed from linen or a linen-and-cotton blend, woven fil-à-fil (“end-on-end”) with white and blue warp and weft threads to create a heathered light-blue effect. The shirt has a front placket and a high two-button collar.
The trousers have a flat front and appear to be finished on the bottoms with turn-ups (cuffs). There are side pockets with openings placed along the seams but no back pockets.
Consistent with the fashions of the mid-2000s, Bond’s trousers have a fuller fit that also allows linen to better “perform” its function of allowing the air to breeze through the fabric and keep its wearer cool… at least cooler than if the fabric was form-fitting and repressively warm agains the wearer’s skin.
Bond holds up his trousers with a wide dark brown leather belt that has a large gunmetal single-prong buckle. While sartorial purists may have already been reeling in horror at Bond’s attire (a suit with no tie!), surely this unglamorous belt would send them into hysterics. Aside from creating the image of a less-polished Bond, the chunky belt may have served a more practical purpose of holding the agent’s Walther PPK against his waistband, as he doesn’t appear to be wearing a holster… but more on that later!
Though the shades of the leather don’t match—nor would they need to—the belt coordinates with his tobacco brown suede two-eyelet chukka boots, worn with dark socks.
Bond has yet to adopt the luxurious Brioni and Turnbull & Asser wardrobe that would be featured later in Casino Royale, which leaves the question of his watch. Not prominently featured in the scene, it would be reasonable to question if Bond indeed wears one of his signature Omegas, though the nature of the franchise’s product placement agreement would likely preclude Daniel Craig from appearing on screen wearing any timepiece but an Omega.
Based on the glimpse we get on screen and blurred on some behind-the-scenes set photography, it’s safe to deduce that Bond is already wearing the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 chronometer on the sporty black rubber strap, as appropriate for diving as the watch itself in its 45.5mm stainless steel case with the black bezel, black dial, and scratch-resistant, anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal.
To explore how Bond may have been—or should have been—carrying his famous Walther PPK, please enjoy the below insight from Caleb of Commando Bond:
One of the lingering questions for me constantly is how James Bond carries his equipment in the field. During the Madagascar-set free-running sequence, we see 007 carrying at the 4 o’clock inside the waistband (IWB) position with his P99 Gen 1. But is that also how he elects to carry his PPK during the pre-titles?
Personally, I think probably not. The jacket in this scene is double- rather than single-vented, which makes a huge difference in concealability. I make this claim because a double vent leaves itself vulnerable to exposing the firearm while you go through your daily tasks; it would be very awkward for Bond to be explaining that away to somebody during the cricket match seen in the deleted portion of the opening titles.
For example, say Bond was carrying this way in Casino Royale as he scopes out the One&Only Ocean club. Recall that he pretends to lace his shoes as he inspects the camera placement. If he was still wearing his coat (which was double vented, incidentally, making it a perfect candidate for this example!) the fabric would have casually draped around the handgun as he knelt, keeping it mostly concealed. However, upon rising, the vent would likely catch on the beavertail or grip of the PPK which would prevent it from falling back to its original position, leaving the handgun entirely exposed. I have seen this happen many times, and each time I have I wince for the individual who made that choice. As Bond constantly verifies his concealment prior to going out into the world (as he does in the novel Casino Royale) I would argue that this is something he would’ve noticed and have not done.
I would rather argue that he is utilizing a shoulder holster in conjunction with his softer-cut linen jacket. The jacket’s drape would effectively conceal the gun and provide Bond with ample access to it as well.
Read more of Caleb’s insights in Commando Bond’s most recent post, “How to Carry in a Suit (Without Ruining the Lines)”.
The Walther PPK returned to the James Bond franchise with little fanfare after it hadn’t been seen in 007’s hands for nearly a decade since Pierce Brosnan swapped it out for a new P99 in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Craig’s Bond only uses the PPK during the opening sequence, as he too would carry the more modern P99 as his standard sidearm after he becomes a full 00 agent through the end of Casino Royale. (Beginning with Quantum of Solace, Craig’s Bond would again carry the PPK through the end of his tenure.)
To delve more deeply into the PPK’s history and relevance, I again share the wisdom of Caleb from Commando Bond:
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic handguns of the 20th Century, the Walther PPK has a unique legacy as both the first true concealed carry pistol and 007’s most constant companion. Its stunning profile catches both the eye and the imagination. From the first scenes of Dr. No, we hear just why Bond ought to carry the Walther. Fleming’s prose, perfectly translated to the screen, captured our imaginations and immediately forged an unbreakable bond between 007 and the PPK. In Casino Royale, we only see the handgun during this brief and violent portion of the pre-titles sequence, and with its final shot in the film, we get the movie’s take on the gunbarrel, and the powerful introduction of Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name.”
The Walther PPK chambered in 7.65mm is a seven-round capacity, double/single action pistol designed in 1929 by Walther to resolve a glaring hole in the market. At the time of its creation, most defensive handguns were pocket sized, .25 Autos, (like Bond’s original carry, the Beretta 418) or they were full-framed handguns that were less suited for the deep concealment required of an MI6 agent.
In 1929 the first PPKs found their way to market, filling this huge gap. They were intentionally designed to be carried covertly and became the first real concealed carry pistols. The PPK was designed with all the shortcomings of the current product offerings in mind and was a massive commercial success because of it. While striker-fired handguns are some of the safest and most reliable today, used worldwide by LEOs and military forces, they were gaining a very negative reputation at the turn of the century. All of this was in Fritz Walther’s mind as he began designing the PPK. After years of designing and beta-testing, the PPK was released in 1929. It featured an exposed hammer, manual safety (which also functioned as a de-cocking lever), and a loaded chamber indicator. All three of these items were intentionally included to create something entirely new for the market, something fit for a 00.
You can read more about the Walther PPK in Commando Bond’s first blog post, “An Eternal Bond: James Bond & the Walther PPK”.
Of note, the Heckler & Koch USP Compact was evidently a favored pistol among Bond’s early enemies in Casino Royale, drawn first by Fisher to clear the bathroom and then by Mollaka the bombmaker in Madagascar.
Bond and Fisher grapple for the weapon, only for it to discharge and destroy a sink next to them before Bond smacks it out of the struggling Fisher’s hands. Fisher makes one final grab for his firearm just in time for Bond to spin around with his PPK and…
How to Get the Look
James Bond’s sense of sartorial sophistication was rebooted with the franchise itself at the start of Casino Royale when we see Daniel Craig dressed for a deadly warm-weather mission in a wrinkled navy linen suit, open-necked short-sleeve shirt sans tie, and suede boots, a decent and contextually appropriate outfit in itself but not close to the tailored perfection we would eventually expect from agent 007.
- Navy linen suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button jacket with wide-welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, long double vents
- Flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Light blue linen/cotton short-sleeved shirt with tall 2-button collar and front placket
- Wide dark brown leather belt with large gunmetal single-prong buckle
- Tobacco brown suede 2-eyelet chukka boots
- Dark socks
- Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Big Size” 2900.50.91 on a large black rubber strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie, and watch the extended version of the opening sequence to see the full context of Bond’s brutal fight against Fisher.
I also invite readers to check out the blogs of fellow Bond community experts, such as Commando Bond (who contributed to this particular post) and the estimable Bond Suits.