This is my first post in my James Bond blog series. Dr. No is the first film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Dr. No featured the gun barrel signaling the beginning of the film although it was only the John Barry theme playing. From Russia With Love was the first Bond film to feature a specific title song. Sean Connery appeared in several films before signing on to play the titular spy. I think it’s safe to say playing Bond helped further Connery’s acting career. Dr. No is a classic Bond film as it started the whole franchise.
James Bond is called into action to investigate the murder of British agent, John Strangways. As Bond is asking questions in Jamaica, he meets both Quarrel and Felix Leiter. Quarrel was an acquaintance of Strangways while Leiter is a CIA agent sent to Jamaica by the US government. Through Bond’s questioning, it’s revealed Strangways had been visiting an island titled Crab Key which Strangways believed to be radioactive. Bond visits the island and is interrogated by Dr. No. Bond must end Dr. No’s plans with radiation and save the beautiful Honey Ryder who met on Crab Key.
Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond is suave, sophisticated, and charming. In the first scene where Connery appears on screen, he’s smoking a cigarette and wearing a black tuxedo. It’s an attractive moment for Connery as he looks handsome in all black. When re-watching Dr. No, I was surprised at how much of a smart ass Bond is. Bond makes several jabs at Dr. No when they are having dinner. He makes remarks over his preference in liquor and even with Dr. No’s lack of hands. It gives a unique perspective into how Connery portrays Bond.
Speaking of Dr. No, he’s a forgettable villain. His ultimate goal is to take control of a rocket heading to the Moon by interfering with the rocket’s launch in Florida. How evil of him. This is the first time SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion) is mentioned, so there is significance with Dr. No’s appearance, however, Dr. No doesn’t stand out to me as being a well-matched Bond villain.
Dr. No is a slow-paced Bond movie. There’s less action than other Bond films, and more scenes of Bond interviewing people. Bond visits several locations in Jamaica to figure out who murdered Strangways. Bond does use hand to hand combat when he’s attacked by his driver, but the scene is rather short. The action doesn’t pick up until Bond and Quarrel arrive at Crab Key.
To rate the Bond movies, I decided to use a 1 – 5 “star” system. Instead of stars, I’m going to use vodka martinis to make this a Bond fitting review scale.
1 martini – It’s genuinely not enjoyable to re-watch this film. This is a film I will only re-watch if I have to. I’m dreading re-watching this particular film.
2 martinis – It’s an okay Bond film. This film has significance, but I wouldn’t randomly watch this particular Bond film.
3 martinis – A fun Bond film to watch, but not my favorite. A Bond film with a three martini rating could be a film I like, but I recognize it has a lot of problems with the plot.
4 martinis – This would be a Bond film I would re-watch multiple times. I could quote certain parts of the film.
5 martinis – This is easily one of the best Bond films ever. There’s nothing wrong with the film and no one can tell me anything different.
Overall, Dr. No was an enjoyable first outing for James Bond. Dr. No established Connery’s portrayal of the character. Jamaica served as a beautiful backdrop for the film and I thought there was enough action to keep me invested. I would rate Dr. No three martinis.