- Dr. No
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"Dr. No" by Barracuda
soundtrack of a low but almost screeching percussive arpeggio,
a fast moving succession of white dots moves across a black background,
pausing centre-screen to allow the names of the producers to
show for a split-second. The dots continue their journey towards
right hand side of the screen until the final dot enlarges to
a larger circle and within it the profile of a silhouetted figure
enters. While the figure takes a few steps towards the centre,
the spiral design of the rifling of a gun barrel is revealed
the circle; suddenly the figure swivels to face the camera and
shoots. You can almost smell the cordite as blood starts to trickle
down the screen and a brass section belts out the chorus to the “James
Bond Theme”. 007 has arrived on the big screen in no uncertain
Following the disappearance of the head of the local secret
service station in Jamaica and his assistant, M send James Bond
to investigate. Bond quickly teams up with the CIA’s Felix
Leiter and with the help of the CIA man and his local hand, Quarrel,
Bond follows up a series of leads. His investigations point him
towards Crab Key, home to the enigmatic Dr No, and he and Quarrel
set sail at night to investigate. After arriving, Bond awakes
to find a bikini-clad girl collecting shells on the beach. It
turns out that Honey Ryder also sailed overnight, but alerted
by the sail on her dinghy, Dr No sends a motor patrol boat to
deal with the trespassers. Disappearing into the mangrove swamp,
the three come face to face with a march buggy armed with a flamethrower
dressed up to look like a dragon. After seeing Quarrel being
scorched to death, Bond and Honey are taken to Dr No’s
base after surrendering, where the two are surprised to find
they have been expected in what appears to be some kind of luxury
clinic. After dinner with the Doctor, during which he reveals
that he has been interfering with American missile tests on behalf
of SPECTRE, Bond is taken to a cell. Escaping though a ventilation
shaft, Bond tracks Dr No down to his laboratory and kills him.
While a chain of gigantic explosions begins to rock the complex
all around, Bond rescues Honey, and they make their escape from
the island in a boat.
Although following Ian Fleming’s plot quite closely, the
scriptwriters added some characters, such as Felix Leiter, Professor
Dent and Miss Taro. They also added a central section in which
Bond has time to firstly bed Miss Taro, and then kill Dent in
cold blood. However, the script ignores
one of the best
of the book, in which rather then escape through a ventilation
shaft, Bond enters Dr No’s obstacle course, designed as
part of his experiments on human endurance.
It is difficult to imagine the impact that Dr No would have
made on an unsuspecting public in 1962. Although audiences have
come to expect the gun barrel sequence and opening credits from
40 years of James Bond films, the groundbreaking start to Dr
No was hugely influential. With a strong visual identity, fast
pace and tight editing the straightforward plot cracks along
with just the right balance between action and humour, while
a combination of spy craft with an absence of gadgets make the
film both harder and more believable than more recent Bond outings.
It is, of course, also the film in which Sean Connery first introduced
two iconic phrases to modern culture, without which the English
language would be all the poorer; “Bond, James Bond” and “shaken,
Connery’s hard edge, flawless delivery of one liners,
a simple plot and absence of gadgets all work in the film’s
favour and with a freshness that has evaded the series since
Goldfinger, Dr No remains one of the best Bond films.
"Dr. No" by Mark Brown
October 5th 1962 is a date that will remain a part of cinematic
history, possibly not because of this film in itself but because
it’s the date cinema audiences first came face to face
with James Bond 007(and of course the apparition that was Andress
emerging scantily clad from the ocean). No one can argue that
as a first outing this film was unlike anything of its day,
a handsome, witty and seemingly cold hearted hero (shown as
pumps two more shots into an already dead Professor Dent),
a mysterious villain and an exotic location. To audiences of
day it seemed to have everything but if you are a Bond fan
of today wanting to discover how it all started you will be
a little disappointed.
There are no gadgets, no dastardly henchmen and no Aston Martin.
Here we have James Bond pretty much left to his own devices (except
for a Geiger counter and new colleague CIA Agent Felix Leiter).
It has in the past been admitted that this film more than any
of the series sticks closer to the plot of the original Ian Fleming
book rather dishing up the cinematic treats we are used to. That
might explain why this film falls a little flat.
Bond seems to work things out a little too quickly and it makes
you wonder why a British Secret Agent was needed at all (although
I suspect in reality this is down to a rather suspect plot it
could be testament to Bonds skills as a Secret Agent and why
he is seen as Her Majesty’s best).
It’s not all doom and gloom however. We have Connery (widely
regarded as the best of all the Bond actors) who as it is shown
in later outings(as he begins to mould the Bond character) was
perfect for the role after first choice Cary Grant was said to
have turned down the offer to play Bond because he did not want
to become type cast in what film bosses could see had every chance
of becoming a successful movie series (if only they knew!!).
We have Ursula Andress whose mere appearance in the film more
than makes up for the films short comings. She is very sexy and
totally believable in the part of Honey Ryder and more notably
has remained even today the most famous of all Bond girls. There
is the appearance of Felix Leiter who later in the series becomes
a close friend of Bonds and the very first appearance of Major
Boothroyd, later and more famously known as Q and of course we
are introduced to SPECTRE the organisation that certainly in
the early films becomes hell bent on world domination.
If nothing else this first outing is good for the fact that
it quietly brings together most of the elements that as the Bond
series matures has made James Bond 007 the best known Secret
Agent the world over.
"Dr. No" by Overkill
He’s a ruthless killer. He slaps women around. He causes
road accidents. He shoots unarmed men. He sends an ally to his
death without a beat, and drops another man into a nuclear reactor.
All through this he smiles and jokes and never has a hair out
of place. And he’s the hero!
When a tuxedo clad man lit up a cigarette and told a lady his
name a cinematic legend was born. The world was introduced to
Bond, James Bond.
Dr No was not expected to be a huge hit. Successful? Maybe.
Make its money back? Probably? Launch the most successful film
series of all time? Yeah, right!
Whilst its true that Dr No did all that, it’s fair to
say that it wasn’t the film that created the phenomenon
of Bond movies that we all know and love. It does have some of
the elements that are a familiar part of the series (beautiful
women, exotic locations, quips, casinos and so on), but it doesn’t
quite feel like a Bond movie. It’s a bit like watching
early episodes of The Simpsons, where the voices are a bit different
and the animations a little jerky.
With Dr No, the character of the cinematic Bond was yet to be
created, so Connery plays him as a slightly lighter version of
Fleming’s creation: he retains the tough no nonsense approach
to his work, whilst showing signs of a sense of humour (as well
as a questionable singing voice).
The action is competent, but low-key. With only a few fistfights,
a car chase and an explosive ending, the action almost feels
tacked on. For the most part the film plays more like a detective
story (think Sam Spade crossed with Raffles), with Bond actually
deducing things rather than allowing the answers to come to fall
into his lap. This is actually quite refreshing when compared
to today’s standard of action film where the plot is explained
by peripheral characters whilst the hero avoids explosive debris.
Of course, no mention of Dr No is complete without mentioning
THAT scene. One short scene of a movie that has been talked about,
analysed and, to this day, is still one of the most famous and
best loved pieces of cinema ever: Honey Ryder emerges from the
It’s easy to dismiss Ursula Andress as just another model/model/whatever
who got a lucky break. But can you possibly imagine ANY other
actress doing that with quite the same impact? Halle Berry? Do
me a favour! Whatever Ms Andress may lack in acting talent (and
bear in mind her voice was entirely dubbed by another actress)
she certainly makes up for it in screen presence. And that look
Connery gives from behind that tree… every man in the world
looked like that when they first saw it.
Dr No is still, over 40 years on, very good entertainment. In
hindsight it may have been overshadowed by its immediate predecessors
in terms of scale (Thunderball), humour (Goldfinger) or intensity
(From Russia With Love), but it’s still interesting to
see how the character has developed and how this, slightly overlooked
film, did its part to change the course of cinema history.
"Dr. No" by Stromberg
In 1962, the first James Bond film was released, Dr. No. Forty-one
years later, this film is still the excellent watch that it was
so many years ago. Filmgoers were introduced to lovable characters
such as M, Miss Moneypenny, and of course, James Bond.
Here, we see Sean Connery play James Bond, and he pulls the
role off perfectly. Joseph Wiseman plays Dr. No, a cruel villain
interested in destroying the US space program. He has the suspense
that so many villains aspire to have. In Jamaica, James encounters
the lovely Honey Ryder, a sweet girl that gets tied up in the
world of James Bond. Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell put in excellent
efforts as M and Miss Moneypenny. Other characters, such as the
photographer, Miss Taro, Professor Dent, and Sylvia Trench are
nice additions that complement the film nicely.
The storyline and sets, albeit simple ones, are effective and
interesting. James Bond must foil Dr. No's plans to destroy the
US space programs. To do this, he travels to Crab Key, Jamaica,
where Dr. No has his massive headquarters. The clever design
of Dr. No's headquarters combined with the tropical theme of
Jamaica makes a perfect set that is a pleasure to watch. In the
dying moments of the film, Dr. No and Bond battle it out, atop
a bubbling vat of heavy water. Dr. No slides to his death in
the heavy water, and Honey is rescued by Bond. The rather short
ending may polarise some opinions, but I feel it wraps the film
To sum it up, Dr. No combines all the right elements, pulls
them off perfectly, and sets James Bond up for years to come.
"Dr. No" by Mr Brown
James Bond’s first film adventure and his greatest.
Many people classify this as a boring/dull Bond film and I believe it’s very under-rated. Sure, Bond’s not flinging gadgets around, running through stealth boats with armed guards after him, or driving a bobsled around the Alps; however, that may be the best aspect of this film. Most of the film is pretty simple- even the general storyline is, for the most part. Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate what is causing interference with American space launches- during the mission, we’re given romance, classic action, some espionage, and thrills. Plus, Connery is just oh-so-cool in this film and Ursula Andress is stunning.
The locations used in the film are very vibrant and gorgeous to see on screen. The colors of Jamaica really pop out to the audience, especially on Crab Key. While Bond, Quarrel, and Honey roam around the jungle, through swamps and rivers, I’m just amazed by the visuals. The water falls are gorgeous- so gorgeous, it makes me wish I was there to swim around in them. The sand is perfect on that beach. The locations are just so great, it really made me want to be there. No complaints at all.
As for the music, I’ve got various opinions. The soundtrack, in my opinion, is hardly interesting- the actual album soundtrack, I mean. It contains some catchy, jazzy / Jamaican-style tunes, but really doesn’t relate to the scenes in the film at all. "Dr. No’s Fantasy" on the soundtrack seems like a dance tune you’d hear in an Elvis film that takes place in Hawaii. However, in the film, I feel that the music was used quite accordingly. I used to have a problem with the James Bond theme playing too often. Now, I don’t think it was play too much at all. Just right, and stylishly, also. Cues from "The Island Speaks" were worked in well, too. The dramatic and suspenseful orchestral theme (which I don’t think is on the soundtrack) also fits well with the scenes like the finale, when complete chaos is taking place in No’s base of operations. The final cues of the film really stick in my head, though. The very orchestrated version of "Underneath the Mango Tree", as we see the lone boat in the ocean, and the titles "The...End", placed uniquely around the boat. Again- classic.
Dr. No is definitely one of the more "down to business" villains of the series. He’s an incredibly intelligent villain and quite intimidating. There’s no joking around and no BS games with this baddie. He’s probably one of my favorite SPECTRE agents, next to Grant and Klebb. You can certainly understand why SPECTRE avenges his death in the sequel to this film- just because he was such a great villain amongst the SPECTRE organization. Dent was also an interesting character, with probably the most well-done death of the whole franchise. "...And you’ve had your six..." [boom... boom].
As I mentioned, Connery is wonderful in this film. It’s almost like Connery isn’t even acting, and instead, just doing everything naturally. A natural James Bond, if you will. That’s what I love about his films.
No’s base of operations at Crab Key was certainly an ace job. Another thumbs up to Ken Adam. The aquarium, No’s dining room, and No’s laboratory, are all part of a quintessential Bond villain lair. When I think of an ideal Bond villain hideout, No’s base is one that comes to mind.
Alright. So that covers a lot of the good stuff. Where’s the bad?
Good question- where is the bad in this film?
That’s the thing. There hardly is any.
Besides a few minor continuity or prop errors, there’s really nothing to complain about with the actual film. Sure, the soundtrack wasn’t my favorite, but the way they incorporated the music into the film worked. So, I can’t even complain there.
All in all, Connery provides as a superior Bond actor, Andress is gorgeous, and Wiseman proves to be a formidable foe. The locations are vibrant, and the plot is smart and simple and stays faithful to Ian Fleming's original novel. This film was a perfect foundation for a series that would last for nearly 50 years, and counting...
"Dr. No" by w7
"Dr. No" is a very underrated James Bond film because it was "Goldfinger" that invented "the formula" that everybody is now associating with James Bond: Our hero as the sophisticated super spy and suave globetrotter who is always getting into dangerous situations and to get out of them always has an appropriate super gadget at his disposal. "Dr. No" is different. Here we see a raw and focussed Bond who is less a spy than a detective and whose prime weapon is his brain. What I especially like about this very first film of the series is how committed Connery's Bond is. 007 is following his aim relentlessly, and he's making no compromises. This simply is Bond at his best. Connery, an inspired choice for the main part, nails the role right from the beginning and rightfully earns the title of "best Bond ever".
Director Terence Young did a fabulous job in making Connery Bond. Documentaries about "Dr. No" show that Young's role in creating the cinematic Bond was crucial: This Bond knows exactly how to play Baccarat, how to put on a jacket, how to smoke, and how to seduce a lady in style. One of the film's greatest moments is a silent scene when Bond is coming back to his Jamaican apartment and is taking a moment to relax. This moment which shows that Bond is a human too makes it so great to watch him doing his job during the rest of the film.
Then, there's of course the iconic moments: Bond introducing himself to Sylvia Trench at the baccarat table, Honey emerging from the sea. And one of the greatest things about "Dr. No" is the locations: I like it a lot how the film moves from London locations (a casino, the MI6 headquarters, Bond's London apartment!) to exotic Jamaica and then to the most dangerous island of the world. The film has a wonderful flow, and it's perhaps the one film of the series where I wouldn't change a thing. (Poor rear projections? – Come on, it's 1962, things are supposed to be done this way!)
And finally, there's the first Bond super villain: Dr. No himself. Here is one thing in which this film is perhaps most different from "Goldfinger": Goldfinger and Bond meet right at the beginning and cultivate a distinctive antagonism during the course of the film. Dr. No on the other hand is arguably Bond's one main antagonist with the least screen time. The reason why this works in "Dr. No" is that the film succeeds in building up a suspense aimed at the mysterious antagonist: We know right from the beginning that there is an evil doctor waiting for our hero on a strange island, right? If we should not have noticed that in the film's title we at the latest should know from that mysterious "Dr. No" file shown in the film's very first scene (a file for which people are killed). So, the doctor is always there even when he's not there. And we know, he and Bond will meet eventually. When they actually do we not only meet one of the most iconic villains but also some of the very best dialogue of the series. The No/Bond dinner table conversation is easily one of cinema's most outstanding confrontations between good and evil.
"Dr. No" by Commander Ross
Even though many feel Goldfinger was the ultimate Bond-film that started it all, it might be fair to first see what Dr. No, the very first Bond-film brought us. Perhaps, when we place it in Bond cinema history and compare it to later installments, remembering of course that while we have the luxury of comparing these, the filmmakers did not, we can see what Dr. No really brought us.
The film kicks off with what later will be seen as one of cinema's most famous hero introductions. Silvia Trench is apparently playing baccarat against a gentleman and, unlucky for her, losing. This sparks interest in this man, who we finally see smoking, introducing himself with a now immortal line (you know the one!).
It takes only seconds to understand this man is sophisticated, smart, and as many girls at the time would no doubt have agreed on, sexy.
Bond is sent to Jamaica, to investigate the death of Strangeways, his colleague searching for clues about the toppling of US space rockets.
The film was made in 1962, whilst the space race between the USSR and the USA was heating up. Toppling of missiles would have been almost sci-fi for the cinema going public, it also meant Bond was part of his time. This feature of the films would return in (almost) every film, most notably in GoldenEye where Bond dealt with the fact that the Soviet union had ceased to be the world power it still was in 1962.
Joseph Wiseman's Dr. No is therefore the more intriguing when he apparently finds this whole world power business utter nonsense. "East, West, mere points on a compass". He hereby sets the stage for villains who think bigger then big. Perhaps this isn't such a good thing, as many villains therefore turn out to be over-the-top characters, trying to outclass predecessors. But what more is there to take (or destroy) the whole planet.
Anyway, back to Bonds investigation:
As Bond does some proper spy-work and some seldom-seen-before brutal violence he finds himself killing a scientist, again some brutal violence there, and bedding a hench-woman.
Perhaps it's because we have gotten used to Bond bedding girls as soon as they come into view, but this is a true Bond trait, especially as she is working for his enemy.
Bond then finds himself at a stunning location, at that time seldom seen by the general public. Again Dr. No leads the way to a Bond-given: beautiful and/ or exotic locations the world over.At one of the islands where a stunning mermaid, eh, I mean, adventuress beaches. Her introduction is another one that goes down into the history books of cinema, and rightfully so.
Dr. No turns out to have another trump up his sleeve, he uses a dragon to scare away the local people. Is this to show English superiority over the Islanders? Perhaps. But it is Bond's rational thinking that gets him into the villains lair.
Bond's discussion is another that will turn out to be a Bond trait. He tries to off balance his opponent by making him angry. This makes his opponent angry in a way that he prefers to organise an agonising death for our hero. This, obviously, turns out to be Bonds rescue as it gives him the chance to escape.
This setting may be the mockery of many a spoof film, it has been copied time and time again, also by more serious films.
The end of the film is as classic as can be. The lair is blow up and Bond ends with the damsel, now thankfully out of distress.
Summing everything up Dr. No is quite a special film. Not only does it set the stage for a a franchise now running almost 50 years, it has most of the key elements in place too. It also has two of the most iconic moments in film history. Not bad for a film which had no predecessors to let people come and look anyway, as all other Bond-films had.
"Dr. No" by Louis Armstrong
'Quarrel, fetch my shoes.' 'Sho' ting, cap'n!'
Ahh, the first James Bond film. The back of my DVD reads: 'Here, in his explosive film debut, Ian Fleming's immortal action hero blazes through one of his most spectacular adventures.' It then goes on to describe the title villain as 'a scientific genius bent on destroying the U.S. space programme.' You may find it odd, my mentioning the blurb on the box. But the fact is, no, this film's not explosive. Nobody blazes through anything in it. And its events are a lot less outlandish than the description of Dr No's plan may lead you to believe. Of course, these aren't faults. In actuality, Dr No is a solidly paced, plot-focused thriller filled with downplayed brutality and natural-sounding dialogue (for example, the subtle sexuality of Bond and Sylvia's post-gambling hook-up.) The only things that let it down are some dodgy special effects, a silly last quarter, and some poor music choices.
The questionable special effects are found right about the middle of the film. There is a rear screen projection car chase, which is a letdown after seeing a filmed-on-location one earlier. Sean Connery's reckless wrenching on the still car's steering wheel (which hardly matches the driving) adds injury to insult. The movie's second offender is a tarantula which we're supposed to think is crawling on a sleeping Bond. But the spider's on a sheet of glass, casting a noticeable shadow on the man. This takes away some of the excitement, for me. John Barry's reworking of the James Bond theme is used far too much, often chopped up awkwardly to fit sequences and played over things that obviously aren't exciting. Monty Norman's Jamaican-flavoured tracks lend a unique feeling, but his other contributions are forgettable.
As I mentioned earlier, there were parts near the end that made me sit up and say, okay, that's kind of stupid. After killing Bond's local guide, Quarrel, Dr No suddenly decides Bond and the female lead can live. The justification for this is flimsy or, on her part, non-existent. After Quarrel is burnt alive, I expect Bond to just be shot. Bond and fellow explorer Honey Ryder are brought to a fortress on the island they've infiltrated, and cute lines like "Pick some clothes, we didn't get your sizes until last night" imply Dr No had an unrealistic foreknowledge of Bond's arrival. The villain is far too accommodating, then puts Bond through an inexplicably escapable pain endurance test. Without supervision. You might see where this is going... These cartoony trappings contrast sharply with the film's usual believability. Dr No's seemingly friendly attitude towards Bond might have been more easily digested had his interest in testing Bond's pain threshold been better expanded on.
All of this aside, the film does little wrong. The entire fantastical plot is born out of Bond investigating a simple murder, and the villain's motivation turns out to be largely ego-based. These are classic Bond devices if there ever were any. My favourite part of Dr No is the human characterization of Bond. He's not an overly silly guy; he's got a job to do, and must get on with it, as he explains to Sylvia Trench. He kills because he has to, as he explains to a shocked Honey. He's more of a casual talker than in most of the films, as seen when he exclaims 'Lord no' to something undesirable or when he tries to convince Honey that her seashells aren't important. He isn't afraid to wet his lips and take up the refrain of a pop song an attractive woman is singing. He's also not afraid to give this same song a spin and play some solitaire while waiting to kill someone. He smashes a teacup in anger when he learns he's been drugged, and tries to comfort Honey by telling her he's scared, too. He's somehow both pushy and unconcerned when he impulsively says "I'm hungry. Let's go out and eat," to Miss Taro. Then, after she protests: "Forget it." After sleeping with this woman who was supposed to aid in killing him, he toys with her, knowing he's in control. Connery plays it perfectly.
"Dr. No" by Octopussy
Dr. No set the standard for all future Bond films, and what a performance to match.
The moment Connery utters the words, "Bond. James Bond", is the moment Hollywood loses it's virginity. Dr. No is the quintessential Bond film. Firstly, Connery's performance is absolutely his best, he has the cool swagger, sophistication, sexuality, machoism and ruthless cunning of the literal character and holds such gravitas and presence on screen. The Connery, Young duo are yet to be out-done, and I highly doubt they ever will be. Then you've got Ursula Andress, who is simply stunning, Jack Lord, who is Felix Leiter, and Joseph Wiseman, who makes the literal character of Dr. Julius No come to life, making him larger then life, sinister and suave in addition to being a mental and physical threat to Bond, making him one of, if not the best and most memorable villain of the franchise, despite his lack of screen-time. Wiseman, like Connery, set the standard for all villains to meet. Then you've got the plot, rather simplistic, and yes, Bond isn't skiing off mountains and diving out of planes parachute-less, but we see Bond doing real detective work, and using, what I personally find is lacking from the latter films, his own intuition and gut-instinct to further the investigation. Yes, no gadgets either, but this is also a massive plus in my eyes. Many have also criticized it's soundtrack, I, however, don't have a problem with it, sure, it isn't the greatest or most structured soundtrack to a Bond film, but it's got charm and it adds a real atmosphere to the film, I absolutely love the use of "Underneath The Mango Tree" as a secondary theme which really accompanies the Jamaican setting to perfection, which also I might add, are shot, beautifully. I think when judging the score, one must think back to 1962, when the film was made, and not compare it to others in the Bond franchise. The sets of Dr. No are imaginative and well produced for the time period. The action is raw, and most enjoyable to watch.
In closing Dr. No is a well executed, well rounded Bond film, with beautiful locations, stunning women, and is still, in my humble opinion, the greatest Bond film to date.
"Dr. No" by thegiantcookie
Ah, Dr No, we meet again. The bond film that started it all and it still holds up even when compared with the newest bond films. The template for films to come, Dr No is a fantastic James Bond film, but all is not perfect.
Dr No’s story is classic bond. The head of crime syndicate S.P.E.C.T.RE plans to end the US space programme, whilst double-oh agent James Bond travels to Jamaica to investigate the death of a colleague. It’s fairly simple story, with an easy to follow, free flowing narrative, and manages to keep this old time bond fan captivated every time he watches it (which, by now, has been quite a lot).
I’m going to go ahead and say it. Connery reeks of 'Bondness'. The original bond puts in one of the, if not the definitive bond performance, perfectly towing the line between the cinema bond we now all know and (sometimes) love whilst containing all the qualities of Fleming’s character. Take the first time we meet Bond in the casino, the direction, music, mise-en-scene, dialogue, hell, everything else comes together to make cinema history. It’s cooler than an ice cube in a freezer at the North Pole and it makes me tingle with enjoyment every time I see it. It just hasn’t been topped and I doubt it ever will.
There are so many other fantastic elements in Dr No. The villains are perfect, Professor Dent suitably slimy and perfectly portrayed by Anthony Dawson, and best of all, Joseph Wiseman setting the perfect bond template as Doctor No, a perfect blend of menace and evil.
Ursula Andress is the ultimate bond girl as Honey Ryder, and when she comes out of the ocean in that bikini, well, suffice to say, I was just ‘looking’ as well. Jack Lord and John Kitzmiller are fantastic support as Felix Leiter and Quarrel respectively, with Quarrel’s untimely and quite horrific death still resonating, even after the amount of times I have seen the film. Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell are established in the film, and turn great performances, only giving a glimpse of their performances to come.
Like I said, all is not perfect. The film introduces that classic bond theme that is known worldwide, thanks to Monty Norman, but the theme is nearly the only music that plays through the film. The first and second times, its ok, but it really goes into overkill and by the end of the film, I start to hate it. The film could have done with a proper soundtrack, and luckily John Barry was promoted for FRWL, which has a vastly superior soundtrack.
Whilst I love Dr No, I don’t love it enough to give it a full 10 out of 10. Whilst the film is extraordinarily good, its successor, From Russia With Love, just outclasses it in every way, so when compared to that, no, its not the best bond film. On its own, however, it is a fantastic thriller, true to its setting and source material, and above all a fantastic bond film. Its a pity the modern bond films aren’t more like this.
"Dr. No" by James Clark
"If you carry a 00 number it means you're Licenced to kill, not get killed [...] You'll carry the Walther"
It's that age old thing. When you're beginning what will inevitably become a film franchise, just how do you begin in style? A good director's guide would be to study the attention to detail, panache and charming subtlety brought to the proceedings in this first film adaptation of Ian Fleming's world famous secret agent. Dr No is the perfect cocktail of elegance, sophistication and glamour, with some great humour thrown in for good measure. When asked what were the three main ingredients of Dr No, director Terence Young was later quoted as saying "Sean Connery, Sean Connery and Sean Connery" which in all honesty is probably most fan's opinion. The truth however is that Connery was a relatively unknown actor before Bond; the biggest film he starred in was the fairly boring Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People in 1959. Fast forward just three years and Connery begins what will surely be the greatest years of his film career as James Bond. From unknown to world famous character. It is Terence Young who was to thank for modelling Connery to fit Fleming's character persona of the novels. The man is debonair, a womaniser and utterly charming and this is well evidenced on screen.
It is fair to say that films were not like this in the years preceeding it's 1962 release. Women were not presented as provocatively as Miss Taro draped across a bed wearing only a towel or displayed with such vivacity as Ursula Andress' Honey Ryder emerging iconically from the sea sporting that multi purpose white bikini. Bond broke new filmic ground and the success of the first few Connery films is largely the reason for the massive popularity of Bond nearly half a century later. All the characters are very well rounded and nothing is over the top, especially the humour and the sets, as it became in some of the later entries in the series. Connery's portrayal of Bond is, at times, a little timid and unassured in his debut outing in the role but that is understandable – the success or failure of the film would ultimately rest on his head, the protagonist. Connery makes an indelible mark on audiences and it's no real surprise that the film, made on what would be described today as a meagre, impossible £1million, made around 50 times this in ticket sales.
Dr No is ultimately a pleasure to watch, particularly if you are watching it in its new HD transfer from Lowry. The quality is crisp, the style is quite inimitable and the passion of the filmmakers is infectious. Every penny was clearly well spent in making sure that Bond would live to die another day. For audiences, Bond would next be seen in From Russia With Love within exactly a year and Bond mania had well and truly begun.
"Dr. No" by FieldsMan
Dr. No - The Birth of Excitement, Intrigue and Danger.
Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli tried getting the rights to the James Bond novels to convert them to films. He saw potential in them, so upon learning that Canadian producer Harry Saltzman has got those rights, he didn't waste any time meeting up with him. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The first Bond film is hailed as one of, if not, the finest James Bond film amongst cinema-goers and aficionados alike. The determination shines through the picture as even director Terence Young explains to one of his actresses “I'm going to make the best movie franchise ever” and he did. Dr.No started the cinematic James Bond.
Faithfully adapted from Ian Fleming's latest novel, Dr.No, the cinematic adaptation is one full of intrigue, excitement and danger - and much of it comes from the performances. Sean Connery admirably translates the written character to screen, capturing the essence of the literary version of OO7, and letting James Bond come to life. His introductory scene was voted to be the best scene in the whole franchise by members of Keeping the British End Up - A man sits at the table. His face unknown to the audience. We see his hands deal cards to the surrounding players, most notably an elegant female sitting opposite him. With admiration of her determination, the man asks with his voice reeking of masculinity and sophistication, 'I admire your courage, Miss?' She looks up at him. 'Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mister?' She asks curiously. 'Bond. James Bond.' - And with that, that phrase would become the most famous phrase in the world. Everybody knows it. Eunice Gayson (who played Sylvia Trench) is very much apart of that. She played a “blatantly sexual” lady, a woman titled a Bond girl, OO7's first love conquest on screen. And one couldn't forget the other brilliant performances - Anthony Dawson (as the realistically desperate Professor Dent), Bernard Lee (as the faithful cinematic adaptation of the literary character M), Lois Maxwell (as the flirtatious Miss Moneypenny) and John Kitzmiller (as Bond's ally, Quarrel). Of course, there is still Joseph Wiseman who accurately portrays Bond's nemesis Dr.No, leaving a lasting impression whether it was because of the brilliant portrayal or his metal hands (the beginning of a trend to give the villain some sort of deformity). And of course, Ursula Andress, with the most iconic introduction to any Bond girl. A bikini clad Honey Ryder emerges from the water onto the shore of the forbidden Crab Key, with a knife, shells and goggles - all these displaying what type of character she is. Independent, sexy, tough and resourceful to name but a few. With an entrance like that, it's hard not to like her.
And with a film like this opening the doors to the next twenty one Bond films, it's hard not to like this film. Dr.No is filled with the intrigue and excitement one comes to expect from any Bond adventure. It leaves you gripping to your seat, your eyes glued to the screen, fascinated throughout. It's the beginning of the escapism - James Bond, the character every man wants to be and the man women want to be with - and it's executed in a realistic fashion.
However it does have its minor flaws. Why doesn't 'the dragon' burn Bond too? Ursula doesn't really convince the audience that she is Honey (although this could be a problem due to her dubbing), the score is forgettable (except of course, the legendary James Bond theme) and while this is a fantastic entry, I feel it has been bettered by the likes of From Russia With Love (it's successor), Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights and arguably, Tomorrow Never Dies. In saying that, the film should be praised, even if just for the amount of espionage in the film. Bond actually tends to do a bit more spying and detective work which is always welcome and adds to the excitement to it all.
Overall a brilliant Bond film filled with excellent performances, many iconic moments, and a thrilling plot. It should be recognized for successfully launching the franchise that would last even through the 21st century. James Bond will return.
"Dr. No" by benny
Everyone has to have a beginning. I suppose as Bond fans, we're lucky we started with Dr.No.
The reason I say this is this is a great story in which to introduce the world to James Bond OO7. A thrilling spy adventure set in Jamaica. A truly memorable villain and not one, but two of the most famous screen entrances of all time.
Though a little dated, (though it was forty eight years ago, so what should we expect?) Dr.No is still a joy to watch.
Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had a very limited budget for their first outing, but to me, the film looks like it had a budget 10 times the $1 million that was used.
It helps I think that they had Terence Young in the directors chair, Young was possibly the best person to helm a Bond film and much like Martin Campbell has done with Brosnan and Craig, Young had the task of not only introducing Connery a then unknown actor, but also make a film that would begin the Bond series. It was at the time always going to be a series of films. And Young delivered in spades. Not only does Dr.No work, it's kept Bond going for five decades!
On his first screen mission, Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent. Commander Strangways had been looking into a complaint from the Americans regarding toppling or their missile program. It's all gee whiz science stuff, and sounds very important, what with radio beams and radiation suits.
Bond arrives in Jamaica and as soon as he's stepped off the plane he's involved in a car chase, that results in the driver being exposed as someone of dubious standing. Soon several attempts are made on Bonds life. But these seem to un-phase OO7. He's cool and collected. He wears immaculate Savile row suits, drinks vodka martini, shaken and not stirred, he doesn't break out into a sweat after a fist fight, and he has a quip to put a smile on our face.
In a word, he's what we'd like to be when we grow up.
After discovering one of the nearby islands is owned by a mysterious doctor who likes his privacy shall we say, and is also one which Strangways had found radioactive samples on, Bond sets off with his native guide to find out more.
Here he meets Honey Ryder in a then very small bikini. And giving us a scene in which males around the world would never forget. After her boat is machine gunned, Honey is trapped on the doctors island with Bond who is trying to evade capture.
Eventually though Bond and Honey are caught, and brought to Doctor No's lair.
For most of the movie the main villain in Doctor No is kept a secret, he's unseen with only his ominous voice being heard. It's a great set up, and just makes him more mysterious and eeeeeevil in my mind.
Bond and Honey are invited to dinner with the Doctor who tells Bond he's a member of SPECTRE, a criminal organisation with intentions of world domination.
Bond who shows no hint of being concerned merely taunts the Doctor. Untill that is he's given a quick beating and placed in a cell while Dr.No goes about his business of sending another US missile off course.
Bond escapes through a series of tunnels, confronts Dr.No in his control room and dispatches the villain in his own reactor pool, and just in time to save the day.
He even manages to save the girl and escape the island before it all goes bang.
All the while he still hasn't got a bead of sweat on his brow. He does however end up in a small boat alone with Honey, and as they're about to get to know each other better, the credits role and the Bond theme is bellowed out.
That's pretty scrappy account of the film I must say, but there ya go. It's a great Bond film to introduce us to this fantastic world that James Bond inhabits. From exclusive London clubs, a penchant for the finer things in life, a cavalier attitude and possibly the coolest character of all time.