Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962)

Dr No

My in-order rewatch of all the James Bond movies begins well. Dr. No is fresh, urgent and witty stuff – and looks superb (especially the Caribbean locations and the arch, dramatic sets). Obviously and famously, it has one of the *the* great character introductions (pictured), and after that we get an engaging if simplistic detective plot. Directed with purpose and no fuss, the film does peter out a bit for its last half hour, but I enjoyed seeing it again very much. Seven mango trees out of 10.

Bond: Sean Connery is just terrific, right from the word go. Equally at home with seduction, sarcasm and sadism.

Villain: Dr No doesn’t appear until the 84-minute mark, and is hopelessly boring when he does. His various lackeys who try to hamper Bond earlier on are all more interesting.

Girls: Everyone goes on about Ursula Andress, but she’s really rather bland – and isn’t in the film’s first hour. Bond’s London squeeze, Sylvia Trench, is much better with just two scenes (and looks very sexy in just a man’s shirt playing golf).

Regulars: We meet Sylvia, Moneypenny, M, Major Boothroyd and Felix Leiter. The first three are all excellent; the last two rather dreary.

Action: Relatively little, given the film’s era. A couple of nice car chases and some punch-ups.

Comedy: “Make sure he doesn’t get away,” Bond says of a dead body: the birth of the tossed-off quip.

Music: It might be over-used as incidental music, but, my God, John Barry’s James Bond Theme is still an electrifyingly exciting piece of music.


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