Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dr. No (1962)

I’m quite fond of Dr. No.  Solid, but not outstanding.  It’s rather raw and violent and lacks polish, not bad things.  This is a cold and efficient Bond, who is perfectly willing to kill some time making love to the woman he knows is arranging to kill him before he has her picked up.  Sean Connery is oh-so-young-and-handsome and looks great the entire movie.  He gets beat up physically a bit more than usual as well.

The plot is interesting and engaging but not one of my favorites.  I love the beautiful beach and island scenery.  I love the intro to Moneypenny and M and Spectre.  I love the playful flirtation between Bond and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) that continues throughout the series.  And I love the easy way M (Bernard Lee) can always take Bond down a peg.

Dr. No himself is more scary when he’s just a voice giving orders than when you finally meet him.  But I do like villains who are willing to get their hands dirty fighting Bond, and Dr. No runs right after Bond when Bond starts the place self-destructing.  I appreciate that.  I also like his quite creepy visit when he stands over Bond while the latter is sleeping.  I do like the way he delivers his lines when he’s conversing with Bond, with that just perceptible sneer of disdain when Bond refuses to join him.  He’s very serious, has no sense of humor, and really needs to select more capable henchmen.

I am not fond of Jack Lord as Felix Leiter.  Just… no.  Least favorite Felix.  Makes me grumble every time he’s in a scene.  The less said about him the better.

Our main Bond girl, Honey, played by Ursula Andress, is pretty cool.  Beautiful, of course, and she has that fabulous, iconic entrance.  I find it fascinating that she plays an innocent bystander who has nothing to do with the good guys, bad guys, or even plot, who gets sucked in to danger by being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  She might be unique in that aspect.  I believe most lead Bond Girls are either working for/associated with the bad guys, or the good guys, or have something someone needs in the story.  Although, now that I think about it, there’s some secondary role women who are wrong place/wrong time characters.  None of them as memorable as Honey, however, and I don’t think any are leads.  Will have to wait and see!

Favorite parts:  “Bond. James Bond.”  The tarantula... and the crazy music that goes with its demise.  Bond singing on a beach.  Bond barefoot on a beach.  Bond wading through rivers.  Bond getting zapped by the electrified air vent.

Music: Meh
Theme song:  Well, the intro to the Bond theme is, of course, awesome.
Credit sequence:  A very scattered affair.  Starts out promisingly, but isn’t one song the whole time, cuts abruptly, so it’s rather lame.
Bond girl:  I like Honey, don’t love her
Bad guys:  Okay
Overall personal rating:  3 out of 5 stars


  1. Good review and I agree with almost all of it. Connery is so darn handsome in this film and I think he manages to portray the cold-blooded killer and the lover equally well. Never thought about how Honey is the innocent bystander that gets sucked into it all - but you're right. Most Bond girls aren't like that.

    I think my favorite thing about Dr. No is that it is the very first time that famous line is said: "Bond. James Bond." and we hear Connery's deep, sexy voice. Okay, I may have to go get my DVD and watch it tonight!

    Looking forward to more reviews!

    1. Yes! That moment just makes me grin and bounce with happiness every time.

  2. I love how Honey and Quarrel react when they see the tank and think it's a dragon!

  3. The tarantula scene freaks me out so much! I saw most of this as a kid, but my dad fast-forwarded through that part, so the first time I saw it was as an unsuspecting adult who had no idea she was about to scream aloud in horror.

    The first part of Casino Royale reminds me of this less-polished, rough-and-ready Bond.