Women of Bond – From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love was the first Bond film to feature a villainess. Rosa Klebb and her poisonous dagger hidden in her shoe became a totem to the Bond franchise. Tatiana Romanova was a beautiful cipher clerk who was a pawn in SPECTRE’s plans. Both women have specific roles in the progression of this movie. In my Dr. No post, I didn’t touch on women’s rights in 1962. This was due to the fact that there was only a year between Dr. No and From Russia With Love’s release dates. 1963 was a big year in the feminist movie which coincided with From Russia with Love’s release. For my From Russia with Love Women of Bond series, I will discuss the Bond women and major moments for women’s rights in 1963.

Rosa Klebb was played by Austrian-American actress Lotte Lenya. Lenya was a classically trained dancer and had experience performing in Opera. (1) Lenya later in her life won a Tony Award for her role in The Threepenny Opera. (1) Lenya won her Tony before she began filming From Russia With Love (FRWL) After the release of FRWL, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. (1) Lenya lived an incredible life with her natural talents as a dancer, singing in various opera performances, and as a badass female villain who almost took Bond out with a shoe.

Tatiana Romanova was played by Italian actress, Daniela Bianchi. Bianchi was a model winning the Miss Rome pageant in 1960. (2) Bianchi was in numerous Italian films before appearing in FRWL. (2) For her audition, she was too sick to leave her bed, so director Terence Young came to see her and have her perform her audition at her home. (2) After filming FRWL, Bianchi retired from acting to raise her son. Bianchi’s role in FRWL is timeless.

As far as the misogyny in Bond films, Romanova deserved better. Bond slaps Romanova because he thinks she’s hiding information from him only to be proven incorrect. He doesn’t apologize to her. It’s uncomfortable re-watching this scene. It shows how Bond treats women and establishes how he is seen as the dominant world spy who can get away with whatever he wants.

While FRWL had some icky moments for the female characters, 1963 was a big year for women’s rights. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique which discussed women and their unhappiness being in the home. (3) This was unheard of at the time and it was assumed women liked being at home. Friedan’s book led to the creation of the National Organisation of Women. (3) All Friedan did was write about experiences women were having during this time including the research supporting her statements. I think about my grandma and the expectations she had versus what I have for myself today. I’m happy to be a woman during this time, and Friedan is one to thank for that.

If I can summarize the Connery era thus far, I find these Bond films are more difficult to watch. I’m trying to separate them from the period they were made, but I find Bond’s misogyny comes out more in these films. That’s why I find this portion of my Bond series crucial. The women have helped make the Bond films as memorable as they are although I find the men portraying Bond get most of the credit. If I thought FRWL was bad for women, Goldfinger will take the cake, I mean who names a female character Pussy? Ian Fleming thought it was fine.

Sources:

https://www.kwf.org/pages/lotte-lenya.html (1)

https://web.archive.org/web/20081202192338/http://www.mi6.co.uk//sections/girls/bianchi.php3 (2)

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/may/07/1963-beginning-feminist-movement (3)

Just Mercy (2019)

If I have extra time at work, I like to listen to TED talks. One TED talk I recently watched was lawyer Bryan Stevenson who talks about racial injustice within our legal system. Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to those arrested illegally and those who are innocent of the crimes they have supposedly committed. The Equal Justice Initiative fights back against the use of capital punishment in certain states. Stevenson wrote a book about this injustice titled Just Mercy where a subsequent movie adaptation was made. I watched Just Mercy and it left me feeling broken and infuriated.

Just Mercy follows Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) as he is beginning to establish the Equal Justice Initiative. While reviewing cases in Alabama, he’s introduced to Walter “Johnny D” McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx) who’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Walter has lost hope in his case due to several lawyers offering their assistance and then declining the case. After Stevenson meets with Johnny’s family does Johnny realizes Stevenson’s intentions are pure. Stevenson faces several roadblocks in the case such as being physically intimidated by the police, the blatant refusal by the judge of a retrial even though the evidence is shady, and the reluctant town who is convinced Johnny is guilty. Stevenson barrels through the obstacles and ultimately, Johnny is released from prison.

The whole cast of this movie shined in replicating Stevenson’s story. Michael B. Jordan has quickly become one of my favorite actors on screen. I wasn’t expecting to see Brie Larson in this. She plays Stevenson’s partner. I’m a fan of Brie Larson despite what her haters feel about her. Jamie Foxx of course does a great job. The best performance in this film comes from Rob Morgan who plays another death row inmate, Herbert Richardson. While Stevenson does everything in his power to rescue him, Richardson is executed. Morgan’s emotional performance as he awaits to be escorted to the electric chair was powerful. Where was Morgan’s Oscar Nomination??

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this movie infuriated me. After watching the film, I read more about Johnny D’s story, Richardson’s story, and another inmate featured in the film. The movie is accurate based on these real events. Our justice system is broken and Stevenson is one of the passionate fighters who is fighting the just cause. Racism is responsible for putting Black men in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. As a reminder, this story took place in Alabama in the 80s. This only occurred 30 years ago. I’m against the death penalty and this movie reminded me of why I hold this stance.

Just Mercy was a heartwrenching story about how racism destroys lives. It’s a film that’s uncomfortable to watch, although that’s part of the importance of the film. I have added Stevenson’s book to my TBR on Goodreads to continue the education of racism and how it seeps into our justice system.

Code Breaking in From Russia With Love – Science Behind Bond

This is my second “Science Behind Bond” post. While I’m trying to post once a week for my James Bond blog series, I find these posts require more research. I enjoy researching and learning new things, but it’s also extremely time-consuming. I wrote this post on Superbowl Sunday, so while everyone is watching Football, here I am writing about code breaking foreign intelligence. In this “Science Behind Bond” post, I’m going to discuss code breaking and the Lektor in From Russia With Love.

The fight scene between Bond (played by Sean Connery) and Red Grant (played by Robert Shaw).

In From Russia With Love, Bond is sent to steal a Lektor cryptography device from the Soviet Union in Istanbul. In the From Russia With Love book by Ian Fleming, Fleming based this device similar to an Enigma machine used in WWII (1). The Enigma machine would encode messages with delicate information such as military plans or other forms of foreign intelligence (2). As the user would type a message, the rotor on the machine would take the message and put it into other letters or numbers, therefore encoding the message (2). For the message to be viewed, the receiving machine would also need an enigma to be able to translate the message (2). The device itself looks like a standard typewriter. The Germans used this in WWII where the Allies would have to break the code. There’s a cool video in the Smithsonian article listed in my sources that I’d recommend watching to discover how the Allies broke the German code.

In the above picture, this is how From Russia With Love portrays the Lektor. This looks like a fancy movie prop than anything else. Based on the information provided, I’m not sure how valuable this would be to the British government. In the previous paragraph, I stated how in order to receive communications and translate them, an enigma would be needed. If the British government was able to deconstruct the machine and figure out what messages were sent, maybe this would have worked. Otherwise, without the corresponding enigma, I’m not sure how quickly the code could have been broken.

From Russia With Love has a bit more accuracy and historical inspiration than Dr. No. Fleming fought in WWII under Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division, so a lot of the inspiration from From Russia With Love comes from previous experience (3). For my next Bond series post, I will write about the Bond women in From Russia With Love.

Sources:

https://jamesbond.fandom.com/wiki/Lektor/Spektor (1).

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/divers-discover-rare-nazi-enigma-cipher-machine-wwii-180976469/ (2)

Source #3 Ian Fleming’s website. ^

Rocketman (2019)

My mom was a teenager when Elton John released Rocketman. I told my mom I watched the Rocketman biopic and she reminisced about Elton John and how his music had shaped her younger years. When I spoke to my mom about Elton John, she brought up his charity work for HIV / AIDS and how he was a personal friend to Princess Diana. This biopic focuses less on his charity work and more on his life story. I thought this was a fun, musical film. The soundtrack is pretty good too as I find myself listening to it while I work.

The film opens up with Elton (played by Taron Egerton) in addiction therapy wearing an orange horned costume. The film discusses Elton’s (birth name Reginald Dwight) home life with his absent father, stern mother, and lovely grandmother. Elton is a brilliant piano player, leading him to study at the Royal Academy of Music. Eventually, Elton is partnered with Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell) who writes the music Elton plays. Elton like many musicians is thrown into the rock and roll scene by his manager John Reid (played by Richard Madden). Elton struggles with his sexuality, weight, and his home life which leads to him going to rehab.

I thought Taron Egerton did a fabulous job portraying Elton. Taron did do all of his own singing which was something Elton wanted for the actor who played him in the movie. Richard Madden is one of my favorite actors and he was ruthless in this movie. If you haven’t watched Bodyguard on Netflix, you absolutely need to. Bernie and Elton’s friendship is so special and it felt like Jamie and Taron had legitimate chemistry together.

This biopic does feel a bit more like a musical than other biopics I have watched. I found myself comparing this to Bohemian Rhapsody while watching the film. In Bohemian Rhapsody it was less of a musical, more of a serious film with the music playing in the background. In Rocketman, there are choreographed musical routines especially towards the beginning of the film. I’m a bit picky with musicals, they are usually not my favorite genre to watch. However, I think Rocketman feels like an Elton John movie and it captures Elton’s flamboyant persona.

Towards the end of the film, words appear on screen detailing Elton’s life post-rehab. He has been sober for 28 years! He’s been sober longer than I have been alive. There is a brief description of Elton’s charity work with AIDS. The Elton John AIDS Foundation was established in 1992 with the end goal of ending the HIV epidemic. I remember watching an Oprah Winfrey interview with Elton as he talks about why he needed to change and why he’s passionate about HIV. He mentions the death of Ryan White, who was a teenager who died of the disease. Elton used his fame and fortune to help others and I think that’s something I wish Rocketman would have touched on more.

Rocketman was a fun film with a decent soundrack. Rocketman can be streamed on Hulu.

From Russia With Love (1963)

From Russia With Love started to establish the Bond formula. The gun barrel, in the beginning, a Bond theme song, and the first appearance of Q played memorably by Desmond Llewelyn. From Russia With Love was the Connery movie I remember being the fondest of. From Russia With Love is a solid Bond film. The villains are formidable, the Bond women serve a purpose besides being eye candy, and the plot moves at a steady pace.

From Russia With Love opens with Donald Red Grant (played by a younger Robert Shaw who’s also in Jaws) as he strangles someone to death who’s wearing a mask of James Bond. Grant is being trained to take out Bond for revenge of Bond’s murder of Dr. No. To further this plan, Rosa Klebb (played by Lotte Lenya) recruits Tatiana Romanova (played by Daniela Bianchi) to seduce Bond. Bond is contacted by M who tells him of Romanova who contacted Bond to assist with her defecting from Russia. If Bond helps her, she will give him a Lektor, which would help in code-breaking foreign intelligence. M senses a trap, but ultimately, doesn’t care and wants Bond to retrieve the Lektor anyway. From Russia With Love features a brutal train fight scene, many assassinations, and a sharp shoe.

The two main villains in From Russia With Love are Rosa Klebb and Grant. Klebb is the worst of the two in my opinion. She recruited Romanova telling her if she doesn’t do this, she will be killed. She knows that once Romanova serves her purpose, she will be killed anyway. Klebb is manipulative and is willing to sacrifice someone for the mission. She doesn’t herself kill, but watches from afar which makes her that much worse. She does try to kill Bond in the end with the poisonous blade in her shoe, but she’s shot and killed by Romanova which was perfect. Grant is the physical equal to Bond. He’s trained relentlessly to be given his chance to perform each mission he’s assigned. He kills Bond’s ally, Ali Kerim Bey (played by Pedro Armendaiz) which Bond actually seems saddened about. Both Klebb and Grant were formidable opponents for Bond and I enjoyed watching them on screen.

The Bond women in From Russia With Love do serve a purpose besides being love interests. Besides Klebb, Tatiana Romanova is a cipher clerk and a corporal in the Soviet Union intelligence. She’s accomplished, intelligent, and loyal to her country. While From Russia with Love features Bond women in different roles, the treatment of women in this film is gross. There’s a scene featuring Bond and Kerim Bey at a location featuring Romani women. This film does use a slur repeatedly and shows two women fighting over one man. It also shows the same women being presented to Bond as a gift since Bond helped save the village from assassins. After this scene, Bond slapped Romanova because he felt she was hiding information from him. This turns out to be incorrect once the plan is revealed by Grant to Bond. Both Klebb and Romanova are intriguing female characters however, From Russia With Love’s treatment of women isn’t great.

My favorite scenes within From Russia With Love were the train scenes with Bond, Romanova, and Grant. It reminded me of Murder on the Orient Express especially since Bond isn’t sure who’s after him especially after Kerim Bey’s murder. I liked Bond’s fight scene with Grant as it shows this brutal action scene in such an enclosed space. I like the locations of filming in Instanbul, Eastern Europe, and Venice.

From Russia With Love is a solid Connery Bond film. This film establishes the Bond formula, and Connery starts to embody James Bond as a character. There was a considerable amount of action scenes both in the Romani camp, on the train, and a speedboat chase. The only negative point I would add is how From Russia With Love treats women as a whole. I ranked From Russia With Love three martinis.

WandaVision

There’s a reason I subscribed to Disney+ on an annual subscription. After watching the Mandalorian, I’m watching the 90s X-Men cartoon while the fiance watched every single season of The Simpsons. I’m not kidding, I asked my fiance if he was all caught up and he said he was. When WandaVision released their first couple of episodes on Disney+, I poured myself a Blackberry Bubly as I watched both episodes. I’m intrigued as to how WandaVision will unfold as I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in the story.

Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany) are a married couple living in suburbia. Each episode released so far has shown Wanda and Vision in a different time era? It’s not explicitly stated which time period each episode occurs. The first episode is clearly the 50’s as Wanda stays home cooking and levitating dishes while she cleans them. In the second episode, Wanda is wearing pants, so I have to believe this was beyond the ’50s. There are certain occurences between both episodes leading Wanda and Vision to be hesitant about this life they are living. WandaVision has been compared to classic sitcoms, although my first impression of the series reminded me of The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey.

I’m happy with the WandaVision series thus far! Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany have great chemistry together. They cover for each other when there’s the off chance someone might discover their powerful abilities. One fun scene to watch was in episode #2 when Vision and Wanda were performing for a talent show. Vision would complete these magic tricks using his natural strengths. Wanda would summon an object to counteract Vision’s trick. It shows how this couple works together even if it’s as simple as a neighborhood talent show.

There are so many unanswered questions! At the end of episode #2, there’s a beekeeper who appears out of a storm drain. I’m not sure who that’s supposed to be. Additionally, Wanda hears her name being called out through a radio. This moment in the second episode is why I was reminded of The Truman Show. WandaVision is supposed to tie into the Doctor Strange sequel, so I’m curious as to how this will be achieved. Are Wanda and Vision in an alternate reality? Were they kidnapped and forced to be in this show to entertain others? How is Vision back because he died in Avengers Infinity War? There was an ad in one of the episodes of WandaVision listing Hydra as a sponsor for the ad. I thought that was a clever “blink and you miss it” Easter Egg.

If you have already watched WandaVision, please comment your theories in the comments below! The third episode of WandaVision will air on Friday, January 22nd only on Disney+.

Women of Bond – Dr. No

When I decided to write about the James Bond film franchise, I wanted to talk about the Bond women. When Bond women are referenced, it’s often because of their beauty, and what outfits they wore that were memorable. I wanted to go more in-depth than that. From Dr. No’s film adaptation in 1962, women’s rights both in the UK and the US have evolved. In this series of posts, I’m going to discuss the actresses who played these iconic roles.

The first Bond woman introduced in Dr. No was Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson) Besides being an actress, Eunice was also a singer and a dancer. (1). When Eunice arrived on set, she had to calm down a nervous Connery who kept messing up his lines during the casino sequence. (1). It’s easy to think Connery had it all, but initially, he was nervous to act out this role. Eunice was the only Bond girl to be featured in two movies. She also will appear in From Russia With Love. Her role ended when Goldfinger director, Guy Hamilton wanted new women for Bond to entangle with (1).

The next two women in Dr. No were portrayed as villains. There was Miss Taro (played by Zena Marshall) and Annabel Chung (played by Marguerite LeWars). Miss Taro was a double agent working for Dr. No and she was supposed to lure Bond to her house, so an assassin could kill him. Zena Marshall was born in Kenya but moved to Leicestershire where she studied acting. (2) Annabel Chung was a photographer hired by Dr. No to follow Bond around and take pictures of him. Marguerite was Miss Jamaica and was approached by film director, Terence Young to ask her to be in this movie (3). She originally auditioned for Miss Taro but was afraid her parents wouldn’t allow her to take the role because of how sexual the part was. Young offered her the role of Annabel as a way to be in the movie. (3). Post Bond, Marguerite is a writer for a column in Trinidad and has written two books (3).

Finally, there’s Ursula Andress who played Honey Rider. Honey Rider walking up on the beach in a white bikini is one of the most iconic film sequences in the Bond franchise. Ursula Andress is Swiss and can speak four different languages (4). When Ursula originally read her lines, her voice was dubbed by another actress because Young didn’t like her accent (4). It’s depressing re-watching Dr. No and knowing Ursula is only there to look pretty considering her voice belonged to another actress. In recent years, Andress has been a spokesperson for Osteoporosis as she too is suffering from the disease (4).

After doing all of this research on the women who appeared in Dr. No, I found it was tough to find information about the actresses. When women are written about, it’s often detailing their marriages, children, and their acting career. When writing this post, I was hoping to gather more information about interesting aspects of their lives, not who they are married to. Marriage and children are of course a facet of a woman’s life however, women are so much more beyond their marriage and children.

Since Dr. No and From Russia With Love were released only a year apart from each other, I’m going to highlight women’s rights in the From Russia With Love Bond women post. My hope with putting this post together was to highlight these women beyond their roles within the Bond film franchise. This is my last Dr. No related post, so next week I will move on to Connery’s second outing, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/eunice-gayson-dead-first-bond-girl-actress-obituary-sylvia-trench-dr-no-sean-connery-a8391381.html (1)

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/26/obituary-zena-marshall (2)

https://www.straight.com/movies/414181/bond-girl-marguerite-gordon-brings-1960s-glam-vancity (3).

german-way.com/notable-people/featured-bios/ursula-andress/ (4)

WW84 – Where’s the Female Empowerment?

I remember watching the No Man’s Land Scene from the first Wonder Woman movie. Watching this scene in the theater was an empowering moment. Diana wasn’t going to let Steve hold her back along with Diana needing Steve’s help in getting through the battleground. When me and the fiance watched WW84, I felt let down in a huge way. The plot left a sour taste in my mouth. Diana is able to be a part of history as seen through the mementos in her apartment. However, all of that can’t be celebrated because she’s still missing Steve???? Why does WW84 feel so different from the first film?

After the shopping mall fight sequence, Diana (played by Gal Gadot) is shown at a restaurant eating by herself and looking up at a plane flying in the night sky. These scenes conveyed to the viewer how Diana is not over Steve. Losing Steve during the war was traumatic for Diana, but I find it hard to believe that she hasn’t moved on. When I think of Wonder Woman as a character, she’s a role model to women and has fought for all lives on the planet. I would have liked to see Diana live a normal life when suddenly, Steve is revived. It would have been more believable to the character while coinciding with the messaging from the first film. This Mary Sue article reiterates my thoughts regarding Diana and the way she’s portrayed in WW84.

Besides Diana, there’s Barbara Minerva. Barbara (played by Kristin Wiig) wants to be Diana, to be acknowledged, and attractive. Who cares about Barbara’s multiple Ph.D.’s because she wants to be the hot girl. I felt there weren’t enough scenes in the film where I could actually buy into Barbara wanting to be Diana. There’s a brief mentioning of Barbara being bullied for being a nerd, so it’s assumed Barbara wants to be like Diana to be accepted? When I think of female empowerment, Barbara’s story doesn’t do much of that either. She feels she needs to be attractive and feminine in order to be taken seriously. This could be an over-reaction on my part, but if someone could help me understand why Barbara wants to be like Diana other than the fact that she’s attractive, please enlighten me. I would have liked to see Barbara own her persona and use the dream stone to wish for good luck with her research. This research could have led her to become Cheetah and seek power from Diana. This is what I would have liked to see out of the character.

When first watching WW84, I was hoping for a friendship to be developed between Diana and Barbara. There’s only one scene where Diana and Barbara are out to dinner where they talk about love. This again brings up the fact that Diana is still not over Steve. Once this scene ends, I’m supposed to believe Diana and Barbara are BFFs? I think there could have been more development into the friendship between Diana and Barbara, but there wasn’t.

Ultimately, if you loved WW84, I’m happy for you! I think it’s annoying when I state how much I like something and fans remind me how much the thing I like sucks. I felt WW84 could have been a much better film if it was structured differently. With the first Wonder Woman film, I walked out of the theater feeling elated to see a female character kick ass and be the star of the film. With WW84, I’m reminded of how difficult it is for women to get over breakups.

Dr. No & Tropical Animals – Science Behind Bond

Happy New Year! My outlook on 2021 is if I can get through 2020, I can get through 2021. I hope a Covid vaccine gets distributed, so we can all go back to our regular routines. To kick off in 2021, I wanted to continue my Bond blog series. This post is going into the Science Behind Bond. I’m going to take one element or scene from the Bond movie and “debunk” it or say if there’s any accuracy there. Science is interesting to me, so I thought it would be fun to add a science post to my blog series. For the science behind Dr. No I decided to focus on tropical animals.

Video posted by the James Bond 007 Youtube Channel.

One memorable scene from Dr. No is when Bond is sleeping in his bed and an assassin slips a tarantula into his room. The suspense music plays as the tarantula crawls up Bond through his sheets. Eventually, Bond can move the tarantula and kills it. The main question I wanted to know is whether this tarantula was dangerous to Bond? From my research, the answer is no. In 2018, there were 44 occurences of a “tarantula related injury” and only 17 requiring hospitalization. (1) With a Tarantula bite, common symptoms include pain, tissue damage, and muscle cramping (1). It’s much more common for a human to have a histamine reaction to the hairs of a Tarantula than to be poisoned by a Tarantula (1). Unless this Tarantula is a local Jamaican spider I’m not aware of, the likelihood Bond would have been killed by a Tarantula is next to none. This silly Spectre assassin had no idea what he was doing by releasing a Tarantula to kill Bond.

The second instance regarding tropical animals isn’t featured in the Dr. No film but in the book written by Ian Fleming. In the film, Honey Rider is chained to a stone embankment where presumably the water would rise and drown her. Bond has to come and rescue her after taking out Dr. No. In Fleming’s book, Honey was chained to the embankment, and crabs were supposed to eat her instead. This was taken out of the film adaptation. I’m assuming the crabs referred to in Fleming’s novels were a basic beach crab. Mole crabs typically eat plankton and the tentacles of jellyfish. (2) Coconut Crabs are dangerous and scary crabs. They are the largest invertebrate on our planet and can be as big as a hiking boot (3). These crabs can climb trees and have the strength to carry away bones (3). If Honey Rider was chained to coconut crabs, that could be fatal.

It’s amazing how our planet has so many different species of creatures. Some are fatal to humans while others do not pose a threat unless provoked. I would recommend checking out the National Geographic article I found for Coconut Crabs. They are incredibly big and scary looking. Since this is a research-based post, I linked all my sources down below. For my next Bond Blog Series, I will focus more on the women featured in the film along with women’s rights during the early 1960s. Once I write this post, I will move onto the second Bond film, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

(1) Tarantula Spider Toxicity – academic paper by Erwin L Kong, Kristopher K. Hart

(2) Mole Crabs Bob Thomas – Loyola University New Orleans

(3) Coconut Crabs – National Geographic

Dr. No (1962)

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 cigar 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.