Monday, October 31, 2011

Bondage, Pt. 1: "Dr. No"

Through various top-secret means I have obtained the complete collection of James Bond movies, and I plan to watch them all, in order, over the next few months. As I do, I'll share my thoughts here. First up, obviously, is Dr. No.

This is the first Bond movie. It doesn't have a pop song theme, as all the others do. This one uses the classic spy/surf guitar theme as its opener, as well as some Caribbean music which was all the rage in 1962.

In this we see touches of the Bond of the books. Of course, it's Sean Connery, which most people would pick as "the best Bond," I'm sure. He's got a mean streak in this one - fewer witticisms and more bullets. At one point he simply shoots a guy in cold blood, very calmly, when he realizes the bad guy is out of bullets: "That's a Smith & Wesson...and you've had your six."

The movie is also noteworthy in that it lacks an appearance from Q. No "pay attention, 007," followed by a breakdown of that movie's special spy gear. Instead, a nameless operative brings Bond a Walther PPK and M orders him to use it from now on (it seems Bond's previous gun jammed in an un-filmed adventure prior to this one).

Ursula Andress is the Bond girl in this one, and as the first, she sets the tone for all the rest (nice and curvy, until the 1970s, that is). She also set the tone for ridiculous names (Honey Ryder). Apparently she spoke very bad English and her voice is dubbed in. She did win a Golden Globe for this one.

Dr. No is a nice bad guy - no hands, psychopathic - and is supposedly Chinese but the actor is obviously a Caucasian, a fact they explain away by talking about how his father is German. We get our first mention of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), the fictional terrorist organization that would be Bond's nemesis throughout the early films.

Bond's sometime CIA ally Felix is played by Jack Lord from the original Hawaii Five-0, and Felix gets a bigger part in this than almost any other movie (over the years that guy has been skinny, fat, black, white, old, young...he's by far the most inconsistently portrayed recurring character in all of Bondage).

This is not my favorite Bond movie by any means, but it definitely sets the tone for all the rest. In some ways it's my least favorite of the Connery era, but that's only because all the other ones are so good. This one is still way up at the top of the Sixties spy movies list.

Next up, of course, is From Russia, With Love.

1 comment:

  1. I really think this series will be great. I will look forward to them. When I started my advenures I did some series -Appian Way,Panaman Pundent, but I did not have them follow one another. Think about keeping them in order.

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