MI6 Community Bondathon

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  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, terrific review of an elite Bond film.
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,537
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, terrific review of an elite Bond film.

    Yes I agree @Thunderfinger, it was an excellent review from Brady
  • edited October 2016 Posts: 1,386
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Wonderful review! I loved reading your insights on the film. On Quarrel: I remember reading that Live and Let Die was being considered to be the first Bond film made by EON before they decided on this one. I can't help but wish sometimes that we'd had the Quarrel character for that extra film before his demise so we'd had two Bond films to get to know Kitzmiller's Quarrel before he was gone. I really loved what you wrote about the 3 Blind Mice as well--specifically about how they are only masquerading as being blind. You've actually given me a whole new appreciation for this film. Perhaps the Three Blind Mice are present right from the start at the ending of the title sequence because in a way these three characters are kind of used to set us up for what to expect from the film. None of the three Blind Mice are what they initially appear to be --just like so many other characters in this film. That's a great review! So much to digest there. I look forward to reading your next.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited October 2016 Posts: 28,694
    Cheers, boys. I'll have the rest of my thoughts on the Bond elements and on the elements of DN's filmmaking up today sometime.
    josiah wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Wonderful review! I loved reading your insights on the film. On Quarrel: I remember reading that Live and Let Die was being considered to be the first Bond film made by EON before they decided on this one. I can't help but wish sometimes that we'd had the Quarrel character for that extra film before his demise so we'd had two Bond films to get to know Kitzmiller's Quarrel before he was gone. I really loved what you wrote about the 3 Blind Mice as well--specifically about how they are only masquerading as being blind. You've actually given me a whole new appreciation for this film. Perhaps the Three Blind Mice are present right from the start at the ending of the title sequence because in a way these three characters are kind of used to set us up for what to expect from the film. None of the three Blind Mice are what they initially appear to be --just like so many other characters in this film. That's a great review! So much to digest there. I look forward to reading your next.

    @josiah, that's a great connection! That's exactly why DN feels so much like a mystery to me, as there is such a mountain of deceit and subterfuge going on, capped off with Honey actually thinking Bond is a detective. It must have been an idea at the forefront of the writers' and filmmakers' minds that what they were making was heavily influenced by detective narratives. These detective elements continue in FRWL as well, so I look forward to rewatching that one next even more!
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,080
    It's been a busy week, so just catching up on everything I've missed.

    Bond and actor performance

    You won't find a more raw or stripped back portrayal of the Bond character than in DR. NO. Connery nails Bond in this film. He's intense and effortlessly charismatic whenever he is on screen. Although my favourite performance of Connery's is in FRWL, he comes damn close in DR. NO. I've also noticed with recent viewings that there are some occasions in DR. NO where Bond comes across as a bit flippant ("you mentioned Crab Key, why can't we go over there?", "One o'clock suits me fine"), which I sort of like. Channels Fleming's Bond quite well.

    Bond girl/s and performance

    Andress as Honey Ryder is a damn fine Bond girl- the first and still one of the best. Honey embodies everything a Bond girl should be- she's sensual, exotic, not overtly a "bimbo". There's a bit of character development there as well, although it is not expanded on as much as I would have liked (the story about her father). Still, she's top ten material and is always one of the highlights of DR. NO.

    Bond henchman and performance

    Professor Dent, although not much of a henchman, is a great character, excellently portrayed by Anthony Dawson. He's one of those minor characters, present in nearly every Bond film, that stick with me and are a pleasure to watch whenever they are on screen.

    Bond villain/s and performance

    DR. NO is a top five Bond villain. Wiseman portrays No with a steely, unnerving disposition that is perhaps more unsettling than his more prominent physical attributes, his mechanical hands. Although he appears late in the film, I relish every moment he is on screen. Like Honey Ryder, DR. NO is archetypal- he sets the standard for what constitutes a classic Bond villain, and only a handful of villains have equalled Wiseman's No.

    Supporting cast performances (M, Moneypenny, Q, allies, minor characters, etc.)

    M

    Bernard Lee nails the Bond/M dynamic in his first scene. Bond and M have great respect for each other, but M has no qualms in exerting authority over Bond when necessary ("leave the Beretta, 007"). It's in his very first scene in DR. NO that Lee establishes a character that would go on to be a beloved and quintessential part of the Bond franchise.

    Moneypenny

    Ditto with Moneypenny. Lois Maxwell is the perfect Moneypenny. Nobody comes close. Her "repartee", to use M's words, with Bond immediately lays the foundations for the Bond/Moneypenny relationship- "close, but no cigar".

    Q

    Nothing much to say here, as the Burton's Quartermaster is just a background character with virtually no qualities. A far cry from what the character would go on to become.

    Quarrel

    Quarrel is a great little character, who has strong chemistry with Bond. I love the fact that he remains loyal even when the idea of sailing to Crab Key frightens him. I also like the fact that he doesn't even flinch when the photographer scrapes the smashed lightbulb across his face ('cause it certainly made me recoil a bit!). I do think it is a shame, however, that his death is a little bit goofy. I don't think it is quite executed as well as it could have been.

    Gun barrel sequence

    I always liked that little hop that Simmons does! Anyway, I can't say anything that hasn't been said already. The gun barrel sequence is iconic, and it gets the Bond series off to mesmerising start. It is a stroke of genius.

    PTS

    N/A, obviously

    Locations

    DR. NO exhibits so truly sublime locational work. It is to DR. NO's credit that the film takes place solely in Jamaica (save for the beginning scenes in London). The Crab Key environment is beautiful, and the scenes in Kingston allow us to be immersed in Jamaican life.

    Gadgets

    Slim pickings here apart from the Geiger counter. A lack of gadgets, of course, does not detract from Dr. No in anyway (in fact, some Bond films could do with less gadgets a la DR. NO).

    Action

    The action is minimal in DR. NO, to its benefit. Where there is action, its not particularly thrilling; the car chase is, quite frankly, awful, a product of its time or not. However, I do quite like the final showdown between Bond and Dr. No. I know some complain that it's short and over before it starts, but I think its a satisfying conclusion, its short and sweet. Dr. No dying because of his own metal hands is also a great touch.

    Humor

    The humour is in the dialogue with DR. NO, and it's pretty much spot on throughout. I'll discuss this more in the 'script' section.

    Plot plausibility

    Dr. No is down to earth, and so it is not very extravagant in terms of plot or action. I suppose Dr. No's lair is a bit outlandish. I do like both down to earth Bond films and the more OTT films, so plot plausibility is not something I particularly care about in a Bond film.

    Villain's scheme

    DR. NO's scheme is a relatively simple affair compared to future Bond villain plots. It's very topical (for the 60s) and so I can see how this would have been exciting for audiences in 1962.

    Opening title design

    Binder's first title design is eclectic and visually arresting stuff. Love the dots, the love the dancers, love the popping colours. I even like the transition into the Three Blind Mice.

    Script

    Electric from start to finish. Full to the brim with witty dialogue and sharp one-liners. No better scene illustrates this better than dinner with the Doctor. The rivalry of intellects between Bond and No is marvellous to watch owing to the constant put-downs between the two ("you're nothing but a stupid policeman", "does the toppling of American missiles really compensate for having no hands?"). The script is also laden with funny quips and witticisms from Bond that gives DR. NO a sort of perkiness ("almost immediately", "I'm just looking", "that's a naughty little habit, listening at keyholes").

    Cinematography

    DR. NO's cinematography is warm and lush, with the colours really popping out (I mean, Quarrel's T-shirt is the reddest red I've ever seen!). Ted Moore really makes Jamaica look gorgeous, and some shots in the film are simply sublime (Dent in the spider room, for example, or when Dr. No comes to check on Bond in bed).

    Music

    DR. NO's one glaring problem. Norman's score really is quite atrocious at times. To think what Barry could have done with DR. NO, with FRWL only being released a year later. The score is grating and too loud in places, its blaring.

    Editing

    I've come to appreciate Hunt's innovative jump cuts, which I used to find intrusive and sloppy. I think there's a certain charm to them. However, some of the sped-up footage can take me out of the film (a recurring issue in the 60s Bond films).

    Costume design

    Connery's suits are perfect, save for the black stripes down his trousers in the London scenes (60s fashion, I know, but they look a bit tacky to me). Otherwise, spot on. Nobody wears suits finer than Connery in his first three films. Dr. No's Nehru jacket is iconic and goes on to become somewhat of a convention for Bond villains. The ladies' dresses are stunning, especially Sylvia Trench's dress in the casino scene. And, of course, Andress looks mighty fine in that white bikini.

    Sets

    Adam's contributions to the Bond films cannot be overstated. His work in DR. NO is stupendous. Dr. No's spider room, his lair and the reactor room remain some of the best sets to date. Cutting edge design, and so far ahead of his time. A genius.

    Final thoughts on DR. NO

    DR. NO, the first James Bond feature film, immediately provides the foundations for the Bond series, maintaining the core elements of Fleming’s novel while also introducing the basis for what would become the Bond film formula, albeit still in a rough form (something that would not become set-in-stone until GOLDFINGER, 1964). Amongst the Bond film canon, DR. NO is somewhat of a curio- with the Bond film formula still in its infancy, it is difficult to compare DR. NO to other entries in the series and it remains one of the most unique Bond films. One could argue that it is very of its time, something I think works both in its favour and against it.

    With a budget of $1 million (a huge amount for a film at that time, a measly amount when compared to future Bond film budgets), the money is clearly on the screen, from the gorgeous Jamaican location work to the impressive sets by Ken Adams. DR. NO would prove to be a roaring success with audiences, resulting in the rapid-fire release of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL between 1963 and 1965.

    And while I have been glowing in my review of DR. NO for the most part, I don't love this film as much as others. When it comes to the 60s Bonds, I'll quite happily take GOLDFINGER, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE over DR. NO.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited October 2016 Posts: 28,694
    I've finished my analysis of the rest of Dr. No, and posted them below. In the filmmaking categories, I also added "Direction," as I can't believe I forgot about adding it to the rest of the Bondathon topics originally. I've updated my first post in this thread to include it in our discussions from this point on.

    Bondian Elements

    Gun barrel sequence- What more can be said? Binder writes himself into history with the gun barrel to begin them all. I love the noise that cues up before the lead in to the gun barrel. It sounds like the noise a radio signal would make, as if the film is announcing to audiences that a change in cinematic history is arriving with James Bond’s big screen debut. The booming, ear-shattering blast from the gun as Simmons finishes his walk concludes the sequence nicely. Although his movements feel a little forced, overly staged and unnatural, it gets the job done. The only drawback here is that it’s not Sean doing the walk and shoot, and we don’t get that pleasure until 1965.

    Locations- There’s a great sense of atmosphere visible in this film, and that’s all down to the amazing location shooting we get here. Everything in Jamaica feels alive, and for those of us viewing our Blu-ray copies of this movie, it’s like being there right with Bond. The filmmakers strove to show off a lot of the great culture of the place, opening up a real window into what it’s like to be in Jamaica. You see the very tropical designs of the interiors to homes, hotels and offices, the palms frolicking in the wind everywhere, the jumping, feverish dancers at the clubs, and of course the beautiful greenery and sands of the beaches. Everything we see feels lived in, and it is very much like watching a visual travelogue of the location that is genuine and exotic all at once.

    Gadgets- There’ a lack of gadgets here, but I prefer it actually, because it means Bond must think on his feet more than anything and put his wits to use to face the threats waiting from him in Jamaica. The absence of gadgets really makes this feel like a straight up espionage thriller with no frills, and it’s all in Dr. No’s favor, as it also makes it feel more Flemingesque on top of it all. Armed with nothing but his brain and PPK, it’s game time for Bond.

    Action- While Dr. No isn’t as action packed as entries in the series would eventually grow to be, what we’ve got here does the job and feels in touch with the world Bond exists in, as the fights are rough and messy. We get a small taste of action with the short but sweet fight and flip Bond gives Mr. Jones, the back projection car chase, and then the many series of close-quarters fights Bond has with Dr. and his agents after he puts the nuclear reactor in overload mode. It’s not the best action or stunt work we’ll see in the rest of this Bondathon, and it’s beat out easily by just its immediate sequel, but the stripped down, no frills action but it does the job, and the rough and tumble fights we see accurately characterize Bond and his enemies as men who pull no punches and fight to kill.

    Humor- Dr. No contains my favorite kind of humor, which is both black humor and physical humor. Bond’s sarcastic, dark wit carries throughout the film, and the deliveries are at their best when 007 is faced with peril or conflict and chooses to sardonically laugh in the face of it all. My favorites instances of this in the film are these:

    <font size=1>James Bond: Tell me, does the toppling of American missiles really compensate for having no hands?

    James Bond: For me, Crab Key's going to be a gentle relaxation.
    Felix Leiter: From what? Dames?
    James Bond: No, from being a clay pigeon.

    [Bond pulls up to the front of Government House with a dead man sitting up in the backseat]
    James Bond: Sergeant, make sure he doesn't get away.

    [Bond picks up a bottle, prepared to use it as a weapon]
    Dr. No: That's a Dom Perignon '55, it would be a pity to break it.
    James Bond: I prefer the '53 myself...</font>

    And of course, there’s other moments that make me laugh or smile where Bond is being more of a flatterer:

    <font size=1>Miss Moneypenny: Me, given an ounce of encouragement. You've never taken me to dinner looking like this. You've never taken me to dinner...
    James Bond: I would, you know. Only "M" would have me court-martialed for... illegal use of government property.

    Honey Ryder: What are you doing here? Are you looking for shells?
    James Bond: No, I'm just looking.

    Miss Taro: What should I say to an invitation from a strange gentleman?
    James Bond: You should say yes.</font>

    As is the case with many Bond films, especially the Craig era, I laugh or grin in moments where Bond gives a mere look that says everything about how he’s feeling. Such is the case here with Dr. No. Sean’s expressions during the dinner with Dr. No and his obvious boredom at hearing the droning arrogance of the man are delicious, as is his awkward discomfort and surprise when Honey tells him she has killed a man. Moments of humor dot the film, but it’s never silly or cheesy, and always perfectly in touch with the kind of dark world Bond exists in, and the equally dark humor he’s need to get through it.

    Plot plausibility- Overall, like any good mystery, Dr. No’s plot is extremely well-constructed and overall, believable, especially for the Bond series. This film, like From Russia with Love, Thunderball and Goldfinger after it most especially felt Flemingesque because, for all their style, sensational frills and escapism, they felt rooted in some sort of reality. The story of Dr. No unfolds like a mystery would, with Bond uncovering hints of a greater conspiracy gradually over time with twists thrown in between, until all the puzzle pieces align and Dr. No is exposed when his veil is torn away.

    The only aspect of the plot that doesn’t hold up is the idea that a simple paste and a bit of liquid bathing could wash away the radiation Bond and Honey were exposed to out in Crab Key, radiation they came into contact with sans the protective outfits all of Dr. No’s men are wearing. I suspend my disbelief and just deal with the silliness. Bond is too much of a man to get killed by something as wimpy as radiation, right?

    Villain's scheme- At the time of Dr. No’s release, the worldwide space race was very much a reality, ushered on by president Kennedy in America, who gave the movement a charming face. The idea of Dr. No manipulating shuttle launches and foiling American attempts at getting into space, then, feels extremely relevant to that time period and not too “out there” to believe.

    No’s scheme is fascinating, because it gives us a great introduction to just what SPECTRE’s ultimate aims are, ie., manipulating other nations and obstructing the progress of nations they see as threats or deserving of a little agony. Why No is doing this scheme is up to us to imagine, but that’s also what makes his character so fascinating. The toppling of the American shuttles could be a mission Blofeld specifically assigned for No to realize to drum up discontent in America and maybe get them paranoid that the Russians, not SPECTRE were ruining their launches to get a war going between them. Or, much more interestingly, maybe Dr. No was toppling shuttles just because he had the technological capabilities to do so, and instead of taking money or power as payment for it, this person mission of his was a nice middle finger from him to the Americans for turning his genius down in the past. Either way, I love the scheme, and I love Dr. No for orchestrating it.

    Film Elements

    Direction- When considering all the directors of the Bond films, it’s hard not to see Terence Young as the maestro of them all. Young was a true character himself, and had such a dramatic hand in forming the image of the cinematic James Bond as we know him, it’s impossible to underestimate his contributions. He worked with Maibaum to bring Fleming’s creation to life and trained Sean Connery in ways of gentlemanly etiquette, taking him to Saville Row and out to dinner to ensure he would know how a man such as Bond would look and act in a variety of settings.

    In many ways, Terence Young is the Michelangelo of Bond directors. He took a film and character that was nothing more than a blank, expressionless block and carefully chiseled every angle of it into a perfectly realized and statuesque creation. The iconography and greatness of Bond was trapped inside that block, and Young led the charge to coax it out for all audiences to see. If Dr. No was a block of granite, then, and Young was the chiseler, I image the statue he’d coaxed from the angles would be that of Sean’s Bond down low on one knee, his left arm and hand drawn out, his right hand pointing his trusty PPK at the viewer. In a word, he chiseled the cinematic Bond to its every feature.

    Opening title design- For such a simple, nascent title design, this one is actually extremely meticulous in execution and structure. In many ways, the opening titles of Dr. No is a study in transitions. We lead directly from the gun barrel into the titles without pause as the Bond theme iconically takes over as sequences of dots and what look like strips of film feverishly flash before us. The mix of the vibrant color palette and the shifting, rhythmic blinking of the graphics create a fun sensation that makes me bop my head along with it all.

    Over time, the design introduces us to the silhouettes of gyrating bodies feverishly moving to the calypso beat that starts itself up. The colors of the silhouettes shift from warm hues to cool ones, a nice visual for the Jamaican climate, and The Three Blind Mice tune “Kingston Calypso” kicks in to finish the sequence off. This is probably my favorite section of the titles because it has a lot of thematic resonance to the rest of the movie. The song is a great flip on the script, and depicts a predator/prey relationship shifted. Instead of the cat holding the power over the mice, the mice are the ones banding together to “knife” the cat for killing a rat.

    If you view the song as symbolic of the coming film, Strangways is the sly cat who’s messed up things for the Mice and Dr. No, so now the three blind mice have set off to get their pay back. Carrying that symbolism through even further, if we take the song literally, the blind mice would be walking around searching for the cat until their dying days with no sight to locate the fiend, no matter how much they might have wanted to get their revenge. The song, then, is a nice little metaphor for Bond’s world as well, and its dangers. You go into missions blind, and at times that lack of sight or insight makes it a struggle to know who to trust, and often impossible to track down those you want dead. “Kingston Calypso” in relation to the Bond film it accompanies delivers a clear message with its blind mice going on a bloodthirsty hunt for a cat: revenge, more often than not, will allude you in the end.

    In addition to its lyric’s thematic nature, the sound of “Kingston Calypso” is beautiful in its contradictions. It’s a song about a group of mice premeditating murder, yet its tune is so light and fun. The nature of the tune as a relaxed and tropical sounding calypso tune collides wonderfully with the dark brutality of what The Three Blind Mice are plotting to do to Strangways.

    Eventually, the opening titles beautifully continues its genius transitions as, just like the gun barrel directly led into them, the titles hand off to the very first scene of the movie as we follow the Three Blind Mice as they travel off to kill Strangways in real time. On the whole, it’s a beautifully constructed sequence from beginning to end, and artfully crafted though on the face of it, it seems so simple and ordinary.

    Script- When it comes to Bond scripts, it seldom gets better than Dr. No. As I haven’t read the novel, I can’t accurately comment on how well Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather realized Fleming’s vision, but what I can comment on is the amazing structure and pacing of the script.

    As I stated previously, Dr. No, out of all the Bond films, feels more like a detective novel than anything, and that is what makes it so engrossing. The writers take us down a twisty mystery with Bond as the private dick getting entangled in all the duplicity. For reasons we won’t understand until a long while later, a man named Strangways is shot in cold blood along with his secretary by three men faking blindness, and two files are taken from his Jamaican office by the trio. With no questions answered and nothing in our heads but the strange images we’ve just witnessed, we head to London where we are gradually introduced to an equally mysterious and intriguing man in the form of James Bond, who, over the course of the next few scenes, takes on the case to uncover just what trouble is brewing in Jamaica. This is when things really get interesting.

    Put simply, the entire script of Dr. No is a study of essentials. Not one moment, or one line is wasted or worthy of being tossed. Maibaum and co. give us all we need in ample proportions, and structure the film through a series of character interactions that tells us things we wouldn’t know otherwise about each character through the accompanying performances of the actors and their slight mannerisms. Bond and M’s discussion in the MI6 office underscores M’s intimidating figure and control as a head of the department, and we see Bond bend at the knee to his orders as a son would a father, M being the only man he is willing to do that for. As we hit Jamaica, the scenes between Bond and Quarrel, then Bond and Felix, then Bond and Felix and Quarrel, Bond and Dent, Bond and Taro, and on and on slowly build up the mythic nature of Crab Key and Dr. No in an artful way that can’t be underestimated. With each new scene, the mystery behind the toppling shuttles, Strangway’s murder and the radioactive rocks become more intense as Bond navigates his way through an endless line of liars and conspirators, out maneuvering their many attempts to snuff him until he’s silenced or tricked them all with devastating precision.

    And, for all the marvelous, intricate scenes the script delivers us, my favorite moments often happen to be the quieter ones. I’m on the edge of my seat, fully engrossed in a scene where we just get Bond alone in a hotel room, as he plucks a hair from his head, lathers it in saliva and sticks it in between the shutters of his closet or peppers powder over the knobs of his suitcase all with the ultimate goal of finding out if he and his room are being inspected and surveyed by outside forces. Scenes like this, and others where Bond sniffs a bottle of alcohol, questions its contents and chooses another he’s assured is safe to drink display his intellect as well as his nature for always being 12 steps ahead of his enemies, like a true detective would need to be. Moments such as these build up Bond to monolithic proportions, and he soon feels like a man who would be impossible to defeat, he’s so on top of things and prepared for every single eventuality.

    On the whole, for the little moments and the big ones, the loud sequences and the quiet ones, Dr. No’s script is something for the ages.

    Cinematography- When I think of the cinematography of Dr. No, the adjectives “vibrant” and “wide” come to mind. The colors of the film are gorgeous to look at, and give a great life and vitality to the shots we see. Reds and blues dominate, and everything pops.

    As far as shot composition goes, so much of what we see on screen feels large because Ted Moore’s composition takes us farther back from the action unfolding than you’d expect. This film’s camera isn’t zoomed in or scrunched up to Bond and his allies in scenes where they talk, refusing to get in close to their faces. Character moments are shot such that we either see the actors cut off only to the knees in the frame, giving us a great picture of them in the scene, or in other instances, the camera pulls all the way out and we see the actors in full form navigating the sets or interacting as they play the scenes out. I love the moments where the camera pans far out to give us these kinds of distant perspectives on the action, like when Bond is following Quarrel to Puss Feller’s, or when he’s infiltrating Dr. No’s lab where the reactor is housed and he’s navigating through all the workers, trying his best to blend in.

    Another favorite is near the end when Bond is racing to evacuate Dr. No’s facility, at which point the pulled out camera with its wide perspective on the action makes us feel the dramatic chaos of all the frantic bodies running around like their heads are cut off. As Bond and Honey move outside the lair as the place gradually goes up in flames, with workers diving past the frame and into the water below, the hysteria is magnetic and visceral, finished off by a great bit of stunt work by Simmons as Bond jumps with Honey to a boat, fights the two men on it, and they race off.

    Music- John Barry makes cinematic history forever with his iconic arrangement and orchestration of the music that Monty Norman desired to become the Bond theme. What we hear in the beginning half of the opening titles can’t be underestimated for its genius, as Barry’s handling of the tune changed everything and introduced what we still call the “James Bond sound” to this day. In arranging the theme for Dr. No, Barry dipped his toes into the water of James Bond score composition. With From Russia with Love onward, he dived in and gave us an unforgettable catalogue of Bond music with a legacy as strong as the character’s. More Barry love will be coming in the very near future, of course.

    Monty Norman, though often forgotten, also makes great contributions here. His music gives a great life to the Jamaican surroundings, and he incorporates the Bond theme to make it sound more tropical and natively in touch with the climate. Of course, Norman also had great versatility and his compositions that play when Dent is grabbing the tarantula cage and later, when Bond confronts the tarantula and maneuvers his way towards killing it add an uneasy sense of peril with their notes that make those moments beyond visceral.

    My favorite contributions Norman makes to the film, however, are his original songs like “Kingston Calypso,” “Jump Up” and “Underneath the Mango Three.” “Kingston Calypso” introduces the brilliant image of the Mice and“Jump Up” provides a bopping, frenzied feeling to the club scene where Bond and Quarrel meet “Freelance.” It’s “Underneath the Mango Tree” that makes it into the history books, however, as it’s impossible to forget the moment that the first real-deal Bond girl is introduced as Honey hums the tune as she rises from the ocean, which Bond then joins her in singing. When I think of Dr. No, the first image that comes to mind is Bond and Honey on that beach, and a lot of that is owed to Norman’s music.

    Editing- The birth of the jump cut as we know it. Peter Hunt’s work in Dr. No adds a sense of increasing drama to each scene he holds dominion over cutting. Fast jumps in mid-action like in the scene depicting the murder of Strangways’ secretary are brilliant to watch as the camera quickly moves in on each of the Three Blind Mice as they storm and pillage the place. Hunt also amped-up the sound for these kinds of scenes, giving all the action we witness a visceral punch. While at the time it was editorial blasphemy to make a cut while the camera was still moving, Hunt dared to be different in this work here and made history because of it. Pays to be a maverick.

    Sets- Like Terence Young and Peter Hunt before him, Ken Adam had no idea just what he was helping to create when he signed on as production designer for Dr. No. Just as Barry gave Bond his sound over time, Ken Adam is as responsible as anyone for giving Bond a look and atmosphere.

    Adam’s sets live in history because they are at once perfectly geometric, yet askew and off-kilter. So much of his pieces are constructed in shapes of circles or squares realized in metals or rock, which give them an earthy feel. Adam said that he wanted to create “space” with his sets, and that’s exactly what he accomplishes here. Like no other set designer, he makes the characters feel small and in over their heads through his compositions of rooms, a perfect visual metaphor for the dangerous landscape of spy craft Bond finds himself operating inside. Adam was a master manipulator of proportion, material, light and shadow, and knew how to construct sets that would best serve the atmosphere and overall feeling the film needed, and had a keen sense about what designs would be most visually engrossing when put on celluloid.

    Adam’s work in Dr. No may be best represented by the anteroom, where No reprimands Dent and orders him to take the tarantula. We’ve got that stunning big circle that overtakes the ceiling of the set with bars across it that cast a dramatic shadow that cuts into Dent. Adam plays with space, making the set large to underscore how insignificant Dent is in the face Dr. No and the job ahead of him.

    Adam’s set work in the rest of the film, namely at Dr. No’s headquarters on Crab Key, is just as masterful. No’s lair gives off a suitably earthy feel, as so much of it looks carved with rock, stone, metal and wood and Adam tricks you into thinking that he really burrowed underneath the ground and built his sets right into the rock of the seabed, the designs are so magnificent. Adam’s sets also tell us much about No as a character and feed directly into the script itself, like his use of a magnifying glass that gives a view of the sea life out in Crab Key’s waters that underscore No’s desire to impress people, while for Bond, it represents how No purports to be a whale, while in reality he’s only a minnow. My favorite aspect of Adam’s set work in No’s lair, however, is the frequent usage of those big metal doors he uses to transition the sets from room to room. Every time Bond and Honey are escorted to a new area and one of Dr. No’s aids twists those thick, wheeled doors shut behind him, you wonder how they’ll ever get out alive. Adam’s design in this instance helped to transmit to the audience just how inescapable Crab Key may be for Bond, and how much he may have fatally underestimated Dr. No’s power.

    Honorable mentions must also go to Adam’s design of the regal and elegant casino where Bond makes his debut, as well as M’s office, which I praised earlier in my analysis of the character himself. We have Adam to thank for single-handedly creating the blueprint for just what M’s office should look and feel like, and what its particular atmosphere should relate to us as viewers. His use of strong wood for the walls and the items hinting at M’s service and overall “Britishness” are immaculate.

    And he did all this amazing work, for the first time out, on a ridiculously measly budget. That’s true genius, right there.

    Costume Design- When it comes to the costume design of Dr. No, as with so many elements involving the production, simplicity wins out in the end. The thought was that Bond should look good and sophisticated in a British sense, but like any good spy, he should never attract too much attention to himself in his outer style.

    For this reason, Bond’s suits express from Anthony Sinclair are kept simple yet gorgeous, with Sean shifting from suits of blacks, blues and grays throughout, which he pulls off to perfect effect. Because the suits are so simple in color and style, they were destined to always remain in fashion, while a flashier ensemble would’ve been in danger of feeling passé in just a few decades. That’s why, over fifty years later, you could replicate Bond’s style exactly as it’s depicted on screen in Dr. No and you would be dressing just as fashionable as Sean was way back in ’62.

    The suits Bond wears in Dr. No not only look good, they are sensible for the climate. Many of the suits he wears once he’s in Jamaica are composed of lighter fabrics with suit coats and pants that would be comfortable to wear in that climate and that would allow for the range of movement Bond would require as a man of action. The details of the suits connect to this idea of sensibility and comfort across the board, even down to the Daks tops on Bond’s trousers that allowed the spy to comfortably adjust the pants with just buttons and elastic, making them more comfortable to wear since they wouldn’t require a fussy belt. The ensembles are finished off with immaculate navy silk grenadine ties, which would become a staple of Connery’s Bond style.

    While suits are what makes the Bond films style time capsules, a very special mention must also be made to the magic that the Jamaican born actress and fashion designer Tessa Prendergast brought to Dr. No. Prendergast was a woman of exquisite beauty, so much so that she could’ve easily been a Bond girl herself, and her Jamaican roots meant she knew how to look and dress sensibly in that climate. She made film history when she was hired by the production to give Ursula Andress’s Honey Ryder a wardrobe of clothes to wear in the film. It was Prendergast who worked with Andress to develop the now classic ivory bikini the actress wore while coming out of the ocean, an ensemble that showed off her feminine beauty without making her look indecent or revealing too much. What came after Dr. No’s release was a revolution in women’s swimwear that propelled Andress into the stratosphere, providing the James Bond series with one of its most unforgettable scenes and pieces of wardrobe we’ve ever seen. Many thanks, Ms. Prendergast.

    Other honorable mentions in the costume design department include Bond’s unforgettable tuxedo that he wears in his big debut and Dr. No’s iconic ensemble, where Wiseman is seen wearing a nehru suit long before it was cool (looking at you, Blofeld). I guess now we know where SPECTRE’s No. 1 got his fashion sense from.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Birdleson wrote: »
    The scene between Bond, Quarrel, Felix and Annabelle Chung at Pussfeller's nightclub is a highlight in a film chock full of highlights. It's funny and intense, but it also subtlety enhances character and propels the plot, without coming off as leading or expository. I love it when the photographer breaks the flashbulb and rakes it across Quarrel's face. Visceral, I can feel it as it happens.

    I made not of that in my analysis too, @Birdleson. Such a great scene. My favorite part outside that Quarrel moment is how Bond derides the photographer with the nickname "Freelance" as he becomes increasingly annoyed with her until he tells her to "run along." It's also great to see Bond in a club environment. This scene reminds me of FRWL's belly dancing scene and the scene in TB where Bond and Fiona dance, as it has a lively feeling to it and you get to see Bond interacting with people amongst crowds. Great, great stuff. I can't wait to rewatch all those moments again.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Quite fitting that the first Bond film takes place in London and Jamaica-the two homes of Ian Fleming.
  • Posts: 4,012
    It's been a busy week, so just catching up on everything I've missed.


    Music

    DR. NO's one glaring problem. Norman's score really is quite atrocious at times. To think what Barry could have done with DR. NO, with FRWL only being released a year later. The score is grating and too loud in places, its blaring.

    Does anyone know how much of the score actually is composed by Monty Norman?

    On the soundtrack album Norman composed a lot of caribbean style location music, most of which was ditched. Often this was replace by the JB theme.

    However Eric Rogers is I think credited as conductor, and a lot of the remaining score sounds exactly like the music he composed for some of the early Carry On films.
  • Great reviews, @0Brady! I'm surprised you haven't read Fleming's Dr. No, however -- I urge you to read it, and all of Fleming's Bond.

    Sorry I haven't had the time to contribute as much to this discussion as I'd like. Maybe this weekend...
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    The Fleming novels are much more consistently good than the films, which are more hit and miss.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    The novels give more to your imagination, that must be some of the reason.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I've read the first three Fleming books, but then as I was going through them college started and my focus shifted to other things, namely textbooks. I'll get back to them in time.
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,080
    Reading OHMSS ignited my passion for Bond.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    Reading the Fleming novels really gave me a deeper understanding of Bond's character.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Maybe sometime down the line we should start a Fleming book club where we do what we're doing here, go through the books chronologically and discuss them?
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    Sounds like a plan. Though it takes me longer than 2 hours to read them...
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Isn t there a thread for that already?
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    royale65 wrote: »
    Sounds like a plan. Though it takes me longer than 2 hours to read them...

    @royale65, we'd adjust the schedule accordingly. ;)
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    Do it, I haven't read the books in 10 years!
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    edited October 2016 Posts: 4,406
    I usually read them again once a new Bond film comes out.

    Brady, I'm so glad.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    This would probably give me the urge to read them. I want to, just never actually done it.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    Birdleson wrote: »
    This would probably give me the urge to read them. I want to, just never actually done it.

    I'm jealous. I would love to read them again for the first time.

    Haha, fair enough, but I have a little jealousy in that you've had the pleasure of them.

  • Birdleson wrote: »
    Maybe sometime down the line we should start a Fleming book club where we do what we're doing here, go through the books chronologically and discuss them?

    We did that on The Originals thread a little over a year ago, and wrote extensive reviews. Some people got derailed mid-stream, but @BeatlesSansEarmuffs and I made it through. A whole to of fun.

    I'd definitely be up for doing it on a larger scale.

    I was also watching the (adapted) movies at around the same time as I was reading the books -- just to compare & contrast them. Some, like GF, are somewhat different while still keeping to the general plotline -- others (like TSWLM and TMWTGG) are wildly divergent. A very enjoyable exercise!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    If there's interest, we'll see where we're at around March or so when this Bondathon will be closing down, and if we get a good group together, I'd love to do a MI6C Bond Book Club of sorts.

    Like @Shark_Of_Largo, being involved in such a thing would motivate me to read all of them, as I'd feel committed and obligated to devote all my energies to just those books.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    @Birdleson, that's awesome! I'm glad you gents had a good time, and I look forward to reading what new insights you noticed this time around that you hadn't before.
  • Oh, absolutely @Birdleson! What great fun, thanks for hosting!
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 22,431
    I'm afraid I totally spazzed out vis-à-vis this thread; it's been a busy week and I practically spent all my time here chasing ghosts. I don't relish the idea of going on without my two cents on DN though. I will do so when we start discussing FRWL by making comparisons.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    You're a veritable ghostbuster!
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 38,753
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I'm afraid I totally spazzed out vis-à-vis this thread; it's been a busy week and I practically spent all my time here chasing ghosts. I don't relish the idea of going on without my two cents on DN though. I will do so when we start discussing FRWL by making comparisons.

    Don't worry, I made the thread and got busy halfway through DN, so I never finished posting my thoughts, rankings, a review, etc. I'll catch up eventually.
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