Dr. No (1962)

When a British Intelligence station chief is killed in Jamaica, Bond is sent to investigate.  His investigation leads to the reclusive Dr. No, whose island mine is shrouded in secrecy and danger…

 


 

Dr. No is the first movie of the franchise, and sets the standard by which all future movies will be judged – and it sure sets the standard high!  Sure, it’s a fairly low budget movie that is over 50 years old, so don’t expect million dollar effects or the same kind of polish that modern action movies have (keep an eye out for the car chase scene!), but what it does, it does brilliantly.

Sean Connery comes out of virtual obscurity to define James Bond in style.  Connery’s Bond is the quintessential agent, who can talk his way out of most situations, and can fight his way out of anything else.  Dr. No gets limited screen time but the egocentric and arrogant criminal mastermind is a good counter for Connery as Bond.  Honey Ryder is the Bond Girl who sets the standard from her memorable entrance: drop dead gorgeous, a damsel in distress, yet not overacted. The rest of the supporting cast introduce their characters well for the future, but have little time to shine here.

Major credit also needs to be given to Monty Norman and the John Barry Orchestra for a score and theme that has come to define a genre.

All in all, this is a good watch, for those who can put aside that a movie has aged… however gracefully.

 


 

Bond:
Sean Connery.
Suave, smart, and perfectly cast.
5/5

Villains:
Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman).
Short screen time, but counters Bond well.
4/5

Bond Girl:
Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress).
The Bond girl against which all other Bond girls are compared!
5/5

M:
Bernard Lee.
Succinct and strong.
3/5

Moneypenny:
Lois Maxwell.
Miss Moneypenny gets only one scene to make an impression, but she paves the way for a memorable character to come.
3/5

Others:
Felix Leiter (Jack Lord).
A minor role, but shows potential as a future ally.
2/5

Gadgets:
Nothing but a Walther PPK and Bond’s imagination here.  The lack of Q branch (only the Armourer, played by Peter Burton) may have something to do with this.
0/5

Cars:
Sunbeam Alpine Series II.
An open top roadster to showcase Bond, and it does an admirable job.
3/5

Overall:
It may be dated, but this is a movie that defined a franchise, and paved the way for spy movies and TV shows for decades to come.  If it seems cliched, it’s only because it has been copied and parodied so often – and for good reason.
9/10

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