MI6 looks back to 2002 when American Cinematographer
reflected on the iconic wrap shot of James Bond's
first adventure "Dr. No"...
7th July 2011
By Ron Magid, from the November 2002 issue of American Cinematographer
In this scene from the stylish 1962 spy thriller Dr. No, secret
agent James Bond (Sean Connery) and Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress)
make their way upstream in the jungle of Jamaica's Crab Key to
elude the dogs and minions of the titular villain (Joseph Wiseman).
Agent 007 uses Ryder's knife to cut reeds, which the two then
breathe through in order to stay underwater as the dogs pass
by. Soon enough, though, the attractive cohorts are captured
and imprisoned -- albeit in luxurious splendor -- in the fiendish
doctor's atomic compound.
Dr. No launched cinema's longest-running franchise.
Produced by Albert ''Cubby'' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, it
was one of
the most faithful adaptations of lan Fleming's 007 yarns. Broccoli's
wife, Dana, suggested Connery for the role after seeing the actor
in the Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Fleming
had originally wanted David Niven to portray Bond, but he later
admitted that Connery was ideal for the role.
All exterior scenes for Dr. No were filmed on location in Jamaica
by cinematographer Ted Moore, BSC and director Terence Young.
Camera operator John Winbolt and sound recordist Wally Milner
typically wore very little attire while filming on the river.
Moore was born in South Africa in 1914 and moved to Great Britain
in 1930; during World War II, he served as an RAF pilot and as
a member of the RAF's Film Unit. In 1951, Moore operated the
Technicolor camera for Jack Cardiff, BSC on the arduous location
shoot for The African Queen. The entire crew contracted either
dysentery or malaria while shooting in dangerous river conditions
on white water and in whirlpools.
Moore became a director of photography in 1954 and soon established
a reputation as one of the industry's finest color and widescreen
cinematographers. In addition to the Bond films, he photographed
The Day of the Triffids, A Man for All Seasons (for which he
won an Academy Award) and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. By filming
the first seven Bond pictures, Moore created the series' signature
style, which involved the use of wide-angle lenses, deep focus,
and bold, primary colors.
Moore shot the Bond films in a manner that allowed editor Peter
Hunt to pioneer an exciting editing style that Hunt called ''crash
cutting.'' This fastpaced method eliminated dull footage and
generated suspense with nonstop movement, a tempo that has now
become commonplace in action filmmaking. After Dr. No, Hunt fine-tuned
his technique on the next four Bond films: From Russia With Love,
Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.
Fleming, Bond's creator, had been a journalist before he began
working as an agent with British naval intelligence in 1939.
His experiences as a spy provided the foundation for his 13 Bond
novels, the first of which, Casino Royale, was published in 1953.
Dr. No, published in 1958, was actually the sixth novel in the
Fleming first visited Jamaica at the end of World War II to
attend a naval conference. He fell in love with the island and
became determined to return to it. After the war, he built a
house -- which he dubbed ''Goldeneye'' -- on the north coast
of the island, and he wrote all of the Bond novels there. Jamaica
gave Fleming the privacy he needed to write, and he set major
parts of three Bond novels, Dr. No, Live and Let Die and The
Man With the Golden Gun, on the island.
All of the Bond books feature larger-than-life villains who
harbor outrageously evil ambitions in their opulent hideouts.
The nefarious Dr. No's scheme involves developing a high-frequency
radio wave to deflect a Cape Canaveral missile from its scheduled
course. This timely plot capitalized on public concerns over
nuclear proliferation, which came to a head a year after the
film's release during the Cuban missile crisis.
Compared to later Bond pictures, Dr. No had a small budget and
relatively little gadgetry, but in one notable moment Agent 007
is issued a new gun, a Walther PPK with a Brausch silencer, to
replace his Beretta. The Walther became Bond's signature weapon,
and he never hesitated to use it during subsequent adventures.
With permission from American
Cinematographer magazine www.theasc.com
no longer the official site of the American Society
of Cinematographer or American Cinematographer magazine.