January 2010`s installment in the series of Bondathon fan reviews is `Dr. No`
To celebrate the spate of upcoming Bond film anniversaries and the pave the way to Bond 23, we thought it was high-time the forum (Keeping The British End Up) pulled together for an official review of the whole series
A film will be presented each month for viewing, discussion and review; running in conjunction with the main site, overall ratings and a selection of the best reviews will be published at the end of the month on mi6-hq.com.
This month, "Dr. No", the classic 007 debut adventure starring Sean Connery is the first film of a new decade and the eighth film to go under review in the MI6Forums Bondathon
Welcome to the '60s.
Whilst "Goldfinger" may have been the film that made James Bond a household name, it was the fresh and exciting 007 debut, "Dr. No", that sparked Hollywood's interest in the new and vibrant spy-fi genre. Prior to "Dr. No", adventure films of the 1940s and '50s generally had a superficial stage-drama feeling, but with "Dr. No", a remarkable team that included the talents of Terence Young, Peter Hunt, Ken Adam and a young Sean Connery succeeded in adding a kick to adventure films of the future.
"Dr. No" is not remarkable simply because of what was to come, but it is exciting and memorable in its own right too. The simplicity of a genuine good-versus-evil story, the bright, colourful backdrop of Jamaica is a natural and honest setting for an exotic spy and Sean Connery oozes luxury, self confidence and success from the first meeting across the chem-de-fer table to the passionate kiss he shares with his co-star as the credits roll.
The plot is a simple one - we find 007 in the midst of a murder enquiry after Bond's colleague, Strangways (head of Second J, Jamaica) disappears, along with his dishy secretary. Bond has to leave his tuxedo at home as he and Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) investigate the spooked island of Crab Key and its reclusive owner Dr. No - a half-Chinese half-German mad-scientist-type played ably by Canadian Joseph Wiseman. On the island filmgoers are shown another side of James Bond: a more brutal, daring and emotionless 007, arguably more frequently demonstrated by Ian Fleming's character than by any Bond film to date. The beauty normally associated with the tropics is juxtaposed by radioactive rivers, gigantic fire-breathing "dragons" and murderous guards and dogs.
Throughout "Dr. No", viewers get a sense that what they see is not merely invented for screen, but that the film and its characters are only the smallest extension of reality. This is thanks largely to the use of extensive location-shooting and local actors. "Dr. No" takes viewers to a far off place, presents quite a traditional story in an engaging fashion, blends humour with adventure. Most importantly, this 1962 film displays a more honest reflection of spying than ever before, not shying away from the brutality of the espionage game. It somehow manages to be confident and yet unassuming, sophisticated and also raw and rugged. Director Terence Young strikes a delicate balance between breaking the mould and providing two hours of escapist nonsense.
- Introduction by Q
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