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   DR. NO (1962) 

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CAST
Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Joseph Wiseman
Jack Lord
Bernard Lee
Anthony Dawson
Zena Marshall
John Kitzmiller
Eunice Gayson
Lois Maxwell

DIRECTED BY
Terence Young

PURCHASE


DVD



Soundtrack




Time: 110 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Action/Adventure/Spy


I wasn't a big Bond fan until the films were released on DVD. I now know what the fuss is all about. At least regarding Sean Connery. My two forays into the collection so far have been GOLDFINGER and DR. NO. The former definitely has better action sequences, cooler gadgets, meaner villains and a more sophisticated Bond, but DR. NO has a sexy, down-and-dirty quality about it that's hard to deny. Bond is forced to rely on his brains and brawn and you get a generous sample of each. DR. NO was chosen to be the inaugural Bond film because the producers realized it'd be the easiest novel to translate into film. It has an exotic location – Jamaica – and limited need for special effects. This film is all about introducing Connery as James Bond and it succeeds with flying colors. The first 10 minutes tells you all about this suave, lady-killer that you need to know...and believe me it will have you salivating for more.

DR. NO doesn't have the most complicated plot in the world, but at least it makes sense. Bond is sent to Jamaica to discover what happened to an operative stationed there, now missing. He's not exactly welcomed with open arms by the "natives" and his search soon turns him to a private island owned by the mysterious Dr. No. After several attempts on his life, Bond decides to take matters into his own hands and has one of the locals, Quarrel, take him to the island. There he meets his third female conquest, a shell collector named Honey Ryder. Dr. No doesn't like visitors and the trio is quickly on a run for their lives. Of course, Bond must meet his opponent face-to-face. With Honey in tow, he learns Dr. No's evil plan. Surprise, surprise, it's world domination through nuclear power. Bond is fairly unimpressed. Same old story. In the end, Bond saves the world and beds the girl – twice.

Unlike the Bond films to follow, DR. NO takes place in one location and they really make the most of it. Jamaica is extremely beautiful and by focusing the action there, more emphasis is placed on the story and developing the James Bond mystique. The film doesn't have any fancy gadgets either, so Bond has nothing to fall back on except his brains and brawn, which he uses quite frequently to subdue the bad guys and rescue the ladies. The one car chase is pretty pathetic, using the completely unconvincing rear-projection technique. It's very obvious Connery is in a car on a soundstage, but it still manages to be somewhat exciting.


"World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they're Naploeon. Or God."

I wasn't extremely impressed with Dr. No as a villain, but I did enjoy the dinner scene where Bond tries to provoke him without a care to his future well-being. If he's going to be killed, he's going down with the last word and a punch, if he gets the chance. The set design of Dr. No's lair was wonderfully inventive and stylish. It really sets the tone for future Bond endeavors. The ending kind of drags with a somewhat lame fight between Bond and Dr. No. He's definitely the quickest to die of all the Bond villains. I was hoping for more of a kick-down-drag-out scene after all the build up. At least, he doesn't pretend to be dead and then come back to life for one last shot. These were the days when bad guys had the sense to die the first time.

As far as the women are concerned, Ursula Andress is hot, hot, hot. It's no wonder she's still one of the favorite Bond girls. Connery plays Bond as an extremely virile man with a very dry sense of humor. The one-liners show up, but are more in sync with the dialogue and tone of the movie. Bond also sleeps with two other women, one of them twice in a matter of hours. He then turns her in to the authorities, which is just too wicked. She doesn't find it amusing, but I sure did. There's a playfulness to these encounters that is lacking in the lastest films in the series, but I guess that's due to the times in which the respective films were made. Casual sex just isn't accepted anymore. Of course, that's a major part of Bond's appeal. Super spies don't fall in love and that's fine with me. DR. NO may not have all of the special effects and out-of-this-world action sequences that the series is known for, but it does have the one thing that really matters – a kick-ass, super sexy James Bond.



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