DR NO ANALYSIS - Breaking down the first Bond film

edited March 2014 in Bond Movies Posts: 4,251
Before people call for the thread to be locked I suggest you read what i've written. These are some of my thoughts on what i feel is a rather comprehensive breakdown of the first Bond flick. i hope after we can discuss some of the artistic merits that I point out (opposed to falling into the same old discussion on the film)


The film has a marvellous 60's retro vibe. This is evident from the first few minutes of the film with Maurice Binder's very sexy and stylised main-title sequence. The dot motif is very well used and the whole sequence despite being very much a product of it's time has really endured. In fact the whole film has. The 60's setting with all the glamours clothes, hairstyles and makeup really give the film a marvellous chic vintage feel (the image of Sean Connery in a trilby is pretty awesome). But despite being made over 50 years ago the best complement I can really pay 'Dr. No' is that, in my opinion, it really holds up today. This is really because the storytelling is very competent and the film is well paced and still as efficient today than ever.

I think it's hard when reviewing or discussing a Bond film not to try and compare the film at hand with the ones that have either preceded it or are still to come. For that reason I'll try to remain conscious of the fact that 'Dr. No' was the first film and at this stage there had not been an established formula for these stories. Therefore, the first thing I must state is that DN functions essentially as a black comedy. The stuff that is happening on screen is inherently at times silly and often grandiose but the film plays these moments seriously and often very darkly. For this reason the film really works as it's clear the filmmakers are having fun. Terence Young spoke about how his approach with Bond was to always have his tongue firmly in his cheek and though he took his subject seriously he wanted his audience to have fun with the film. This is something he achieved with aplomb with DN as the film is thoroughly entertaining.

The black comedic nature of the film is evident from the first scene where Strangways is killed by three supposedly blind-men who later ferry off his corpse in a hearse. Later these same men take down Strangway's secretary; this scene in contrast with the first is actually rather dark and these two moments together really contribute towards setting the tone of the piece to follow. Later moments like Bond's chauffeur turning out to be a stooge and his death by cyanide-cigarette and Bond blasé quip about his demise further cement the film's darkly comedic intent. Even later moments like the tarantula in Bond's bed are silly but because the film plays the moment straight it's very effective and most horrific to sit through.

Let's move on then to Bond himself. Sean Connery is the epitome of perfect casting. Bond is a difficult role to cast especially as Ian Fleming described him. Essentially Fleming's Bond is a toff and an actor in the Roger Moore/David Niven-mould would have been too alienating for audiences and would have made it difficult for them to invest in the character. Connery was perfect as on paper he's totally wrong for the part. Bond is a an upper-class sophisticated Englishman and Connery was a working-class brash Scotsman. You wouldn't hire a cockney to play a Duke but that it exactly what Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli did. The result payed off in dividends.

Connery is easily as good-looking as Fleming described the character and when he seduces women it's believable that they would fall for his animal magnetism. Connery is also a rare example of an actor that not only females but also males could fawn over as his brute machoism would likely have led many men in the 1960's to walk out of the cinema with their back's straighter and chest pushed forward. I found myself often marvelling at his physique. Furthermore, Sean plays the more sophisticated side of Bond's character with ease and is incredibly insouciant, nonchalant and just plain cool, especially in the small moments like the way he lights a cigarette, walks through a casino or leans against a bar. However, there is a beast lurking beneath that Anthony Sinclair suit and he can be become incredibly rough and genuinely intimidating and menacing when the time calls for it.

One of the great things DN did was not to tell the origin story, something the producers could have done considering this was the first film but instead they took the option to let the character hit the ground running. In the first scene we meet Bond it's clear that he's a very cool character we know he's a bit of playboy and he flirts with his boss's secretary rather cheekily and a girl in a casino. Soon after we see him get a briefing from his chief it is therefore clear that he is some kind of detective or policeman. By his third large sequence he is confronting a chauffeur with a measured degree of force. Therefore within the first 20 minutes we gradually get a measure of who this man is and what he is capable of. However, it is not until the scene with Professor Dent that Bond comes full circle and we finally see what 007 is capable of. This slow drip-feed of information to the audience is far more preferably than being spoon-fed Bond's character in exposition and the film takes it's time over it's opening hour showing us who exactly 007 really is.

Dent's killing is the most expertly staged of the movie and Ted Moore's cinematography is very effective with the fan in the ceiling providing a very eerie effect as Dent's gun smokes in the moonlight. Here we see Bond kill a man in cold blood and it becomes clear the messy business 007 is involved in. My favourite moment about this scene is that after Bond catches Dent he does not arrest or berate the man he merely places his gun down and enters a conversation with him while lighting a cigarette. It's a very cool and nonchalant thing to do and we the audience are shocked to see Bond let his guide down in such an obvious way. However, Bond has read the situation expertly and knows that Dent has used up his bullets and throughout the scene is aware that the cards are stacked in his favour.

Furthermore, we see other shades in Bond's character throughout the film. For instance it's rare that we see Bond disgusted or even fearful however he openly admits to being scared when in Doctor No's clutches. One of the threads that links all of Terence Young's films together is the paranoia that perennially exists in the air. In Bond's world it never pays to be too careful, when he surveys his hotel room he knows the place has been searched over, he sniffs every drink served to him and is very weary of being in any room in case it has been bugged. In addition, airports have always been a place in Young's films where someone is watching.

The ending is also great as Bond is really left in a bad way with his back firmly against the wall. Never have we seen Bond quite as brutalised and exhausted as he is after he escapes his cell and Connery is fantastic in these moments and really sells the physical aspect of the character. These moments I think really displayed Bond at his most human in the entire series at least until we got to OHMSS and CR.

As I have said the film is very entertaining and I enjoyed it immensely. There is little glaringly wrong with the movie and the story moves so quickly that it's rare that any problems have a chance to resonant with viewers. I found myself happily being swept up in Bond's world. The film is a very fun and breezy affair even if it may not amount to anything too substantial as an end result. Therefore, it may be easy for more sniffy critics to cast it aside but there is no denying that spending two hours in the company of James Bond is a very exciting enterprise.

The plot itself is very straightforward - Bond is sent to investigate the sudden disappearance of a fellow Mi6 operative in Jamaica. That's it really. There is some stuff about toppling American missiles thrown in for good measure but the plot is really a clothesline for the filmmaker's to string together some beautiful locations, colourful characters and inventive set-pieces. I found myself being swept up in the momentum of all this and really enjoying the inventive nature of the film. Remember of course this was the first Bond and there is definitely a blissful unselfconsciousness to the filmmaking of DN. Later films would of course unintentionally fall into the realms of self-parody.

I can only imagine the excitement that audiences back in 1962 had when watching this film. Here was a character who openly killed people in cold blood and had sex with the most exotic of beauties. Back in those more conservative times the idea that the leading man had a sexual relationship with one woman in a motion picture was more than enough let alone three. Think back to 'North by Northwest', Cary Grant has to marry Eva Marie Saint before taking her through the tunnel, well don't expect that from 007. The Vatican apparently disapproved of DN and if anything this fact to me is more a seal of approval than anything else.

Some have taken issue with the misogyny on show especially in the Miss Taro scene. I for one don't see the issue here, only moments earlier had she led Bond to his presumed death and it's only fair that he'd be angry with her. Furthermore, I like the scene as it perfectly displays Connery's flinty and mercurial nature as Bond and the great duality he bought to the character. One second he could be very charming and romantic and the next he could be very intimating and threatening. Another issue is the characterisation of Quarrel who at times is used for unnecessary comic-relief. It is also quite worrying that on one occasion Quarrel is literally left to carry Bond's shoes (it's with relief that in the next scene he isn't holding them - I like to think he threw them away once he realised what he was doing).

For me the character of Doctor No does introduce something of a tonal misstep. For the most part the film has been a rather scrappy little thriller and Doctor No as a character feels a little cartoony/comic-book. The character is much more effective in the novel, however like the book the slow introduction before finally meeting him is very well done. In particular I enjoyed the scene with Bond sailing up to Crab Key for the first time and the ominous change in the score. I do love the dinner scene though, I think it's a great touch that when we do meet Doctor No he is a classy guy who treats his prisoners like guests of honour. I enjoy in particular the moment he threatens Bond while a waiter is pouring him a glass of champagne. There is clearly some homoerotic tension between Bond and Doctor No, especially on the good Doctor's side of things. This aspect makes the character slightly more unnerving as the dinner scene is basically No trying to seduce Bond after having been impressed by what he has seen of him. This is departure from the novel where No only keeps Bond alive to later put him through his obstacle-cause, in the film No seems genuinely bruised when Bond rebuffs his advances.

The big problem for me in DN comes in the third act. For a thriller the ending is well...not really that thrilling. The film has been very tightly paced but the last part in Doctor No's reactor room is very slow moving and rather dull. For me at that point the film had really earned a better send-off and I was itching to see Connery get in another fist-fight. I think the ending could have been better done and I'd really liked to have seen Honey have escaped on her own volition like in the book (In the film she is reduced to the damsel-in-distress). After such a great and memorable entrance it's a shame that Honey does disappear into the background for the finale. We know she is a very strong and capable woman and I think the film owed her more after her fantastic initial set-up.

As far as casting goes the film is impeccably decked-out. Ursula Andress is one of the most beautiful women in the world and is marvellous in the film. Honey is a strong Amazonian woman and her gentle flirtation with Bond and genuine chemistry with Connery leads to a very earned final kiss at the end. She's such a strong presence in the film especially at the end when she stands facing the Navy with her hands on her hips. Joseph Wiseman is very creepy and his very still stilted performance is suitably menacing. I don't think the guy even blinks or moves his head and it's all very effective. Anthony Dawson has a great hawkish face which gives him a great screen-presence when he's on. Both John Kitzmiller and Jack Lord are also very well cast and give great turns in their supporting parts. Bernard Lee is also fantastic in his small role and really in that very brief scene does a lot: immediately you know who is in charge and Lee has a real imposing presence when squaring off against Connery.

On the technical side of things Ted Moore's photography is perfectly lush and exotic. The script is very sharply-written and often very witty. The Norman/Barry score is bang on the money. Ken Adam's sets are also great though I did find them to be the most dated aspect of the film especially the final reactor-room scenes. I really liked his 'fake' hotel set on Crab Key; there is something very artificial and eerie about that whole segment with the two nurses having a very 'Stepford Wives' quality to them. The car chase in the middle of the film is also slightly risible by today's standards.

In summary then, DN is a thoroughly entertaining film that cemented the introduction of the Bond character with great elan and grace and not forgetting a hearty does of darkly-comedic menace. The film is breezy and fun and really the perfect opening act to the greatest film series ever and 50 years on it stands up with the best of them.

Comments

  • Posts: 4,251
    Here I think is a perfect video where Maibaum and Mankiewicz talk about Sean's Bond and the impact he made in DN:


    I particularly like the comment Mankiewicz makes about Sean looking like a 'bastard', he's right.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,090
    A ruthless, sexy, hide your mothers, daughters and sisters; suave, alpha male of a bastard.

    A vehemently thorough analysis, @Pierce.
  • Posts: 4,251
    Thank you @doubleogeo

    Sean was indeed perfect casting. He is very much the alpha male.

    What has shocked me most about reading fan opinions on DN is that many think the movie is very slow-paced and not as exciting as the newer Bonds. I really disagree I enjoyed the stripped-back nature of the film and even saying that is doing the film a disservice as the whole affair is really very stylised and opulent.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 13,926
    Thank you @doubleogeo

    Sean was indeed perfect casting. He is very much the alpha male.

    What has shocked me most about reading fan opinions on DN is that many think the movie is very slow-paced and not as exciting as the newer Bonds. I really disagree I enjoyed the stripped-back nature of the film and even saying that is doing the film a disservice as the whole affair is really very stylised and opulent.

    I agree, and for me OHMSS, FYEO and SF all have a similar stripped back simplicity about them. This elevates a Bond film greatly in my view.
  • XXXXXX Banned
    edited March 2014 Posts: 132

    Kids expect it to be boring oh 1962 this, will suck and when you except it to be boring well guess what. It is. Hunts editing is glorius, the sets glorius, Connery at his peek, great villain with original dialogues, etc. It puts barley a foot wrong, good look topping it EON just give up already, and re-release it call it B24, trick some kids into apprecating it
    Thank you @doubleogeo

    Sean was indeed perfect casting. He is very much the alpha male.

    What has shocked me most about reading fan opinions on DN is that many think the movie is very slow-paced and not as exciting as the newer Bonds. I really disagree I enjoyed the stripped-back nature of the film and even saying that is doing the film a disservice as the whole affair is really very stylised and opulent.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,090
    Thank you @doubleogeo

    Sean was indeed perfect casting. He is very much the alpha male.

    What has shocked me most about reading fan opinions on DN is that many think the movie is very slow-paced and not as exciting as the newer Bonds. I really disagree I enjoyed the stripped-back nature of the film and even saying that is doing the film a disservice as the whole affair is really very stylised and opulent.

    Most definitely. It gives the film room to breathe and to have that steady build up of intrigue and suspense. There isn't another film in the series imo that introduces the villain so late and utilises him/her as effectively as Dr.No was. The menace Dr.No was able to convey throughout the whole film whilst hardly being in it is still unmatched.
  • Posts: 4,251
    I argree.

    It's a risky tactic to name the film after your lead villain and then only introduce him with half-an-hour of film left (even then Doctor No is only really in 2 scenes). It's a brave move. What makes it work is the tension that slowly bubbles up over who exactly Doctor No is and what he's up to.

    Initially we know that the three blind mice stole his file from Strangway's home and then Bond gets to Jamaica we begin to see all signs point towards No being the villain. The details we have about the character leading up to his reveal are also tantalising. For instance we know he occupies a private island that the locals are very frightened about and he seems to live in the lap of luxury there. He also inspires a lot of fear in those working for him, even Bond notices this when his chauffeur would happily kill himself then have to confront No and Annabelle Chung won't speak under duress. Even Dent seems to be afraid of Doctor No and happily does his bidding.

    A big part of why Doctor No works as a character is Wiseman's performance which is very creepy and unsettling. His whited-out face being particularly strange (though his white shoes are slightly comical) The problem I do have with No is that he is a little cartoony when compared with the rest of the film. I don't think for instance he really needed the metal hands it didn't really contribute anymore to his character and was a little on the gimmicky side of things.
  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,063
    It's a risky tactic to name the film after your lead villain and then only introduce him with half-an-hour of film left (even then Doctor No is only really in 2 scenes). It's a brave move. What makes it work is the tension that slowly bubbles up over who exactly Doctor No is and what he's up to.
    Yes, it's absolutely brilliant. It's difficult to think of another film that accomplishes this better than DN.

    The problem I do have with No is that he is a little cartoony when compared with the rest of the film. I don't think for instance he really needed the metal hands it didn't really contribute anymore to his character and was a little on the gimmicky side of things.
    I understand where you're coming from on the gimmicky part but I do think it added to his sense of feeling forlorn and unappreciated.
  • Posts: 4,251
    It was a considerably brave move to introduce the villain so late on but it works because No as a character manifests himself in different ways throughout that opening hour; whether it be through the three blind mice, the cyanide cigarette, Dent, the tarantula, Crab Key etc.

    Had No just popped up and introduced himself as the villain 90 minutes in it may have been a hard pill to swallow but because the film has spent a lot of time building him up the character he really earned that late effective introduction.

    Another Bond film that does this well is Skyfall. You have to spent 70 minutes till you get to meet Silva but the film has been hinting at this evil figure lurking in the shadows for a long time that the anticipation is palpable. It also helps that Silva has a very simple but powerful introduction. Doctor No and Silva are actually very similar villains in their conception.

    Another question I have though: What do we think of the sexism on show in the film? Do we have a problem with it?

    While watching the film I really didn't mind mainly I think because the film moved very quickly and rarely do you get a chance to sit and dwell on it. But holding the film up to scrutiny you can see the issues. However, is this who Bond is as a character? You would think that looking at the latest Bond films you would see a change in his attitude but even in SF Bond treats Severine as bad as he treats Miss Taro for instance.
  • Brilliant.

    I may be biased, (as a Connery fan) but I think the 60's Films (With the possible exception of YOLT) really hold up better today than the 70's films, which seem to me too dated and reactionary to the times (blaxploitation, oil crisis, space) while the 60's Films are almost timeless.

    FlemingsBond.com
  • Posts: 532
    THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW

    Last night I got back to basics and watched Dr. No again. What a great film. It's so sparse and uncomplicated. The plot is simple: London's Jamaican contact goes missing. Send Bond to find out what's up. Bond is not grieving, not worried about M, not haunted by things from his past.

    Technically:
    It is 1962, small budget, first in the series of the films.
    The car chase suffers from rear screen projection, but at least some of it is real. Clearly the overhead shots of the guano mine reveal a miniature. Less sophisticated than a computer generated explosion, but same principle.

    Locations
    Not an abundance of variety, but the story didn't need to wander all over the world. The story works well enough that one doesn't feel the need to travel to other parts.

    Plot
    About as simple as they come. Uncluttered by subplots, twists and turns, technical mumbo jumbo, or Bond's angst.

    Acting
    There's really not a bad performance from a main player in the film. The banter between Moneypenny and Bond indicates precedence. Apparently been going on for years. M, ever the grouch and taking a dim view of Bond's penchant for night life and loyalty to his Baretta.
    Ursula Andress, not a great actress, but she works here. Jack Lord is a good Felix who really should have signed on for more. John Fitzmiller makes for an excellent Quarrel. Joseph Wiseman is so restrained and so classy as Dr. No.

    And of course, Connery.
    This guy is an animal. From his first line, he owns this role as if he'd been playing it for years.
    He's sophisticated without being prissy, he looks as if he could kick your ass, he can be as cruel as his looks, he can be charming, off-putting, impatient, bored, humorous, and ruthless at will.
    Connery is so comfortable in this role, that you're never aware of his acting techniques. A lot of actors have stock gestures and expressions that call attention to themselves. Not so with Connery.

    As compared with blockbusters that came after, it is understandable why this film is often overlooked or dismissed. For those who have forgotten, it might be a good time to visit the doctor again.







  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    In Blu Ray if possible.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    Reasons why it's about the Best Bond ever:

    001. They had no history other than Fleming to follow or build upon.
    002. It was SO close to the era in which it was written.
    003. The wild 60's had not yet happened.
    004. Everyone in the production, cast & crew was hungry; Ken Adam especially dazzled.
    005. The music was crude, like the character. Barry's Bond theme was the saving grace.
    006. Wiseman's No, supported by Maibaum's wording, was a high bar set that has rarely been exceeded.
    007. Short and sweet. Before the bloated blockbusters. It NEVER overstayed its welcome.
  • SzonanaSzonana Mexico
    Posts: 1,104
    Brilliant.

    I may be biased, (as a Connery fan) but I think the 60's Films (With the possible exception of YOLT) really hold up better today than the 70's films, which seem to me too dated and reactionary to the times (blaxploitation, oil crisis, space) while the 60's Films are almost timeless.

    FlemingsBond.com

    I agree, i think the best Bond films of the classic era Bond are from Dr No to Thunderball
    i think the 70s Bond is the most dated era of Bond maybe it's because of the comical tone all the way through a View to Kill.
    They made the Bond films comedies and there is no genre which gets old as fast the comedy genre.

    Now Dr No its my favorite film with Sean Connery as Bond.
    The peace is very good, Dr No is my favorite villain from the Classic era Bond and its a film which mixes perfectly the more Flemingesque Bond after he escaped from his cell and the cool very clean calculated Bond in the whole first half where he doeskin sweat a bitt.

    It also has some of the most iconic moments of the franchise.

  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,202
    Szonana wrote: »
    i think the best Bond films of the classic era Bond are from Dr No to Thunderball
    I tend to agree, however You Only Live Twice & On Her Majesty's Secret Service DO have their own classic charms!
    Once the 70's sets in the series got really comically diluted... until Dalton.

  • Posts: 14
    I just finished re-watching and have to say it was great. There are some great artistic shots. Dent in the small chair talking to NO is terrific. It is framed as if he is caught in a cage. The small scale shots are done well for their time and not easy tell that they are not full scale sets.
  • SzonanaSzonana Mexico
    Posts: 1,104
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Szonana wrote: »
    i think the best Bond films of the classic era Bond are from Dr No to Thunderball
    I tend to agree, however You Only Live Twice & On Her Majesty's Secret Service DO have their own classic charms!
    Once the 70's sets in the series got really comically diluted... until Dalton.


    Yes those two have their own charm.
    Its since Diamonds that the series got way too comical. I don't care much for realism or making it. Very deep but I don't like much the idea of Bond flicks being comedies.

    Spectre, Die another day, Goldfinger and Thunderball over the top thing. Im perfectly fine eith them since they are hufe Bond spectacles but are still under the action Genre.

    But I don't feel fineseeing bond films as comedies when the genre is more like action when they go to their most light hearted or espionage thrillers at their darkest.




  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,110
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Reasons why it's about the Best Bond ever:

    001. They had no history other than Fleming to follow or build upon.
    002. It was SO close to the era in which it was written.
    003. The wild 60's had not yet happened.
    004. Everyone in the production, cast & crew was hungry; Ken Adam especially dazzled.
    005. The music was crude, like the character. Barry's Bond theme was the saving grace.
    006. Wiseman's No, supported by Maibaum's wording, was a high bar set that has rarely been exceeded.
    007. Short and sweet. Before the bloated blockbusters. It NEVER overstayed its welcome.

    That's pretty much right on.
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 7,329
    We tend to use hindsight a lot when discussing Bond films. We look back 50 years and discuss where the makers went wrong.

    Ridiculous really. With each film the producers were and are looking to impress the audience of that time. They want bums on seats, and there is no point criticising YOLT in 2016 for being too over the top when Cubby and Harry at the time made a conscious decision to splash their new budget on the screen and make this one bigger than the last. They had to give the 1967 audience what they (Cubby and Harry) perceived it wanted.

    In the 70s they went for what audiences loved most about the bonds. The humour, the gadgets, the stunts. These films weren't designed to be critically analysed 50 years hence, they were designed to be consumed there and then, and probably forgotten about until the next one comes out. The movie equivalent of fish and chips.

    Dr No survives as a quaint piece but it looks so good now because Bond films have changed overall remarkably little.

    There is a scene where Bond sits opposite M being chastised. He flirts with Moneypenny. Later Bond meets a reluctant girl who because of Bond is dragged into danger. Eventually she realises she needs him and falls into his arms. Then he meets the villain who knows all about him, has been tracking his every move and has him tortured. Bond escapes, rescues the girl and overcomes the villain.

    Am I talking about Dr No... or Spectre?

  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe "I need a year off" Craig
    Posts: 7,252
    Would you describe Dr No as minimalist?
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 7,329
    Well if my understanding of the word minimalist is correct, then no.

    In my opinion Dr No is overflowing with ideas, interesting characters and situations. It may be more sparse than later Bonds (due probably to the budget size) but I would never describe it as minimalist.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe "I need a year off" Craig
    Posts: 7,252
    NicNac wrote: »
    Well if my understanding of the word minimalist is correct, then no.

    In my opinion Dr No is overflowing with ideas, interesting characters and situations. It may be more sparse than later Bonds (due probably to the budget size) but I would never describe it as minimalist.

    My favourite thing about Dr No is how it takes its time with the things that most Bond films brush over.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe "I need a year off" Craig
    Posts: 7,252
    It occurred to me recently: Whenever we talk about Bond films ripping off current trends, Dr No is left out of the picture. Octopussy = Indiana Jones, QoS = Bourne, Diamonds Are Forever = Carry On franchise. Why is Dr No left out of this? I'm not that familiar with 1950's cinema, but surely there is a mound of hardboiled detective pictures, and film noir that Dr No is borrowing from?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Ostandia
    Posts: 39,983
    Fu Manchu springs to mind.
  • Posts: 2,341
    It occurred to me recently: Whenever we talk about Bond films ripping off current trends, Dr No is left out of the picture. Octopussy = Indiana Jones, QoS = Bourne, Diamonds Are Forever = Carry On franchise. Why is Dr No left out of this? I'm not that familiar with 1950's cinema, but surely there is a mound of hardboiled detective pictures, and film noir that Dr No is borrowing from?

    I am sure that DN has its influences in some detective or hardboiled action heroes of the fifties and forties. I have heard that Bull Dog Drummond was an influence and we can always toss in North by Northwest as having some influence on the first Bond film.
    DN was ahead of the times in some aspects and most of it I attribute to the character of James Bond himself. This hero killed the bad guys, slept with women for his own selfish needs...that was new and unheard of at the time. I daresay he paved the way for the anti heroes of the 1970's films.
    The scenes with Honey on the beach and Bond bedding Ms Taro were shocking to say the least. The killing of Dent shocked the critics as well.
    Bond was described as " a depraved and cruel and nasty upper class thug."
    And the film was once described as "an overblown sex fantasy of monstrous proportions"

    (read the book "License to Thrill" published in the late Nineties which shows the Bond influence on pop culture, etc. )
  • ThrasosThrasos California
    Posts: 1,213
    I watched this this last week for the guess the character game, and my appreciation for this film is definitely maintained. Probably the main thought I came away with was how good Sean Connery was in the part, for the character, his acting, and his looks and physique. In his first Bond film he really hit the ground running--he was Bond and kept the British end up. The scenery, sets, casting, cinematography, direction and editing are great. Excellent script and dialogue, though the only fault I have with the dialogue or script is Bond snapping at bit at Quarrel to get his shoes (on the beach) and the hotel clerk saying to the black worker about Bond's message, "Johnny what have you done with it", but of course the film was of its time, hence certain attitudes. I also imagine that, at that time during the space race, the depiction of a successful launch of a Gemini rocket must've engendered a lot of feeling, in Americans especially. Much more can be said about it, but it's just a classic film in my view, and #2 on my Bond list.
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