James Bond 007: revisiting Dr No
Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:09 AM
Good to see the article is generally respectful of Doctor No. They got so much right in the first film, and it really is the template for everything that followed. For me it's a top tier Bond film. I love how they handled Bond's personality most of all. I think this is the best he's ever been portrayed in terms of Fleming, even more so than Dalton. Truly a cold hearted womaniser.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:28 AM
Having recently watched Dr No, FRWL and Goldfinger, I would never question anyone who had them as their Top 3 Bond movies.
Dr No is an excellent spy thriller, and the final half an hour is great, whereas that is usually the part where many 007 flicks start to lose their way a little.
The villain himself is fantastic; and scary. Even his voice makes Professor Dent tremble.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:54 AM
All three are top tier films for me, with FRWL still at number one.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 04:04 PM
I'd definitely agree that Dr. No and From Russia With Love are both top tier Bond films. Goldfinger not so much, but Connery's first two are among the very best in the entire franchise, right up there alongside Dalton's two films and Craig's first two.
Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:27 AM
Dr No certainly was the template in many ways - beautiful Bond girl, deranged villain, opulent villain's HQ and so on. But the first half of the story, up until we set off for Crab Key, actually plays more as a crime/detective thriller set in the Caribbean. It's also interesting, looking at it as an English Bond fan, as reflecting the last days of the colonies. Jamaica was on the cusp of independence in 1962 but all the scenes involving Bond, Dent, Pleydell-Smith and the like give the impression of the island as very much a two tier society with British officials and ex-pats at the top and everyone else underneath.
It's both a top tier Bond movie and a historical curiosity.
Posted 02 March 2015 - 10:45 PM
Hum... I'm not completely agree.
I watched Dr. No again a couple of weeks ago on blu ray and to me it's realy an old looking, old fashioned and very dated movie. It's fun because it was the first one and as a Bondfan it's important, but especially the first half is very slow and in some places a little boring; It's indeed more a detective movie and it could have been a black/white Humphrey Bogart movie. The second half is more exotic and than it get's more suspensfull and Bond-like.
Ofcourse it has a couple of famous and classic scene's like Connery as Bond's introduction at the casino table, Bond killing Dent, the introduction of Honey, the scene's between Bond and Dr. No at Crab Key,
but there are also scene's which doesn't realy work like the car chase and the spider on the glass plate, because both are obvious very fake.
Also the music sounds very dated, more a fifties movie score, besides ofcourse the James Bond theme arranged by Barry.
The book is one of the best Bond novels imho. It's full of suspense and exitement, a real page turner, the movie comes not even close.
The second and especially third Bond movie, Russia and Goldfinger are much better movies, which also have stood the test of time way better.
Goldfinger is iconic, almost every scene is a classic, Dr. No isn't.
Edited by Grard Bond, 02 March 2015 - 11:43 PM.
Posted 20 April 2015 - 09:52 AM
I finally started my re-watch sessions, going through every Bond film in the order of their release.
I can´t remember how often I´ve seen this film. I know it was not the first Bond film in my life - that was "The Spy who loved me", and since I had read about "Dr.No" being the first one, not having all the famous ingredients yet and being made in 1962, I had been wary about it. Of course, I wanted to see it - but I tried to lower my expectations.
I was 10 years old back then. And it was a time when no Bond film had been released on video. However, cinemas showed them consecutively during "James Bond film festivals", one film per week.
I can´t remember exactly how I liked "Dr. No" when I finally saw it or how many other Bond films I had seen up to that point. But I remember thinking it was okay, not my favorite. Not enough jokes, probably.
When I got older I revisited this one less frequently but came to appreciate it more. And more. But still, while setting itself apart from other thrillers of the 50´s and early 60´s, it was still rooted in that tradition. Of course, how couldn´t it have been?
Now that I am even older and I have seen every Bond film up to now, my attitude towards "Dr. No" has changed again, naturally.
This was the first time that I tried the blu ray of it - yeah, of course, I had bought the set, but apart from some sampling of the discs for their visual quality I have not yet seen the films in full in this format.
And I must say I enjoyed it more than ever.
Sure, the score is not elegant yet, doing too much "mickeymousing" in a 50´s style (apart from Barry´s version of the "James Bond theme" which does retain its rough and dirty character), and the dancing dots in the credit sequence are lacking the inspiration that so many other aspects of the film already show. But still, the film is exciting, moves at a great pace without becoming hectic. The location work is excellent, and the mostly workman-like dialogue transcends itself into some wonderful moments in the dinner scene between Bond and Dr.No.
However, what the film really holds together, for me, is Sean Connery. Some critics say it took two more films to have him act comfortably in the role. I disagree. I think he is a perfect Bond right from the start, showing a steely reserve and a sardonic edge in everything he does. He commands the screen (very often is photographed right in the center of it, by the way) and makes everything work. Even Bond´s kind of weird (for today´s standard) intro to Honey, singing "Underneath the mango tree" back to her (what is this, a musical?) didn´t make me flinch because Connery was so relaxed and self-confident.
There´s only one thing that disappointed me in the story. Bond is able to destroy Dr.No´s plan (and lab... and island) much too easily. Sure, a nuclear reactor meltdown would send me running and screaming, too, but wouldn´t Dr. No have built in measures to cool down the reactor? There is a safety switch a guard does not reach anymore - and Dr. No tries to overpower Bond, probably with the intention of controling the reactor again. But at that time, evacuation is already in full gear. As if nobody trusted the Doctor to control his creation. Then again... maybe they just needed a reason to flee anyway, and that situation was their best chance ever.
Also, and that always irritated me when this ending became duplicated again and again as a traditional ending: Bond and Honey are on a boat in the middle of the ocean, with no gas, no means to contact anybody, no food or water supply - and then they do get rescued. And Bond decides to let go of the rope because he wants to have another round of sex.
What about after that? Wouldn´t Honey say: hey, what were you thinking? Now we´re lost again! Was that worth it? Well, not to me, you idiot!
And Felix Leiter, wouldn´t he say: That British sex-addict! No way we´re going to search for him now! He´ll just be letting go of the rope again! What does he think I am? A taxidriver he has at his disposal? I am CIA, damnit!
Posted 21 April 2015 - 06:44 AM
Ha. Yes, I really enjoyed it when I re-watched them all recently.
I love how Bond goads Dr No over dinner.
Posted 04 May 2015 - 07:00 AM
I'm also a Dr No fan. It's easily in my top ten, maybe even my top five. Connery's early films are certainly a cut above most of the rest of them.