- Terence Young
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Wednesday, June 30, 2004
The franchise has become so colossal and followed throughout the decades that one can only be astounded by how simply it all started. Hearing Bond say his name for the first time and realize how little they suspected what that would become is definitely awe-inspiring. It came out so well, that it’s no wonder it became so big (and, let’s face it, so clichéd) later on. But to their credit, they’ve managed to keep the franchise fresh and updated, despite its ups and downs.
Dr. No introduces the Bond character like we’re already supposed to admire him, and incredibly enough, it works. Ian Fleming’s character had a lot of following on account of his novels, but what’s so admirable is how we get to admire the guy from the first frame in which he appears and we don’t even hesitate to fall for him. The actor playing James Bond is Sean Connery, back then nearly unknown, but undeniably charming and possessing an incredible ease to irradiate charisma. He becomes Bond in a second and never lets go, making the trip all the more entertaining, aided of course by Monty Norman’s now classic Bond theme (conducted by John Barry), which was far from a brilliant score, but obviously had something to it.
The plot has Bond, a “double-o” agent, assigned to the case of mysterious happenings in Jamaica. There’s something fishy going on there, which goes from murder to plans of world domination. During the investigation, Bond faces double-cross, femme fatales, and loyal servants of someone scary even to his followers. That someone is Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), a Chinese madman stranded in his deadly headquarters on a nearby island guarded by several lethal sentries. By the time Bond gets to the island, it’s pure entertainment coming up ahead.
The excitement of Dr. No, as well as that of further Bond films (some of them anyway), lies in its unique combination of action, comedy, and romance. Bond is as much a good agent as he’s a good womanizer, and he really does not miss the chance to score with a gorgeous girl who should cross his path. This time around, the main “Bond girl” is played by gorgeous Ursula Andress, whose appearance midway through the movie is a refreshing addition.
As comedy goes, you just have to see Bond deal with his boss M (Bernard Lee) and the latter’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell). They both became usual characters for further entries, as did Major Boothroyd a.k.a. Q, this time played for the first and only time by Peter Burton. Another character introduced here is Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), a CIA Agent who’d usually be played by different actors throughout the series.
There’s also wit thrown into the mix, especially in words spoken by Dr. No and Bond himself. It’s just too damn smart! You gotta love it…
Followed by From Russia with Love (1963).
“Bond. James Bond.”
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