So, I've decided to watch the James Bond films in order and comment about them. I will be limiting myself to the movies featuring the only two actors that I feel portrayed Bond properly--i.e. Sean Connery and Roger Moore--and ignoring anything else that calls itself a Bond movie (with the possible exception of the 1967 Casino Royale). To begin with, 1962's Dr. No. A quick synopsis courtesy of The James Bond Films:

Dr. No intends to destroy a U.S. moon rocket from his nuclear-powered base on an island near Jamaica.

Now for my thoughts on the movie:

* First appearance of Bond shooting the camera with blood pouring down from the top--No Bond theme until after the shot, and Bond is wearing a fedora. I like fedoras, but Bond just doesn't seem a fedora type of guy.

* I like the danciing silhouettes during the opening titles.

* I love the styling of old cars.

* Silencers made guns really quiet back then.

* Bond and Baccarat...they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or rum and cola.

* Lois Maxwell looks quite lovely as Moneypenny, and her flirtation with Bond seems more playful than his other interactions with women...very likeable.

* Hmm...not sure how close this movie is in time to the Cuban missile crisis, but I know the timing is close.

* I never knew Bond used a Beretta before the Walther.

* No Q...no gadgets either.

* I should like to return to my hotel finding a beautiful woman wearing my pajamas and practicing putting in my room, although I can also see how that would be off-putting as well.

* Jack Lord is supposed to be in Hawaii, not Jamaica.

* The fighting in this movie seems almost to be a parody of itself--however, I'm sure that's more to do with 50 years of similar movies since then.

* The police commissioner in Kingston, Jamaica is a white man...doesn't sound quite right to me. A-Ha! Jamaica had not declared it's indepence from Great Britain in 1962.

* He doesn't say "shaken, not stirred" but that is how he orders his vodka martini.

* Why is the bartender East Indian? Eh, likely the British connection again.

* Lots of product placement for Red Stripe. Hooray Beer!

* I guess rasslin' alligators doesn't quite prepare you for Bond, James Bond.

* Very Marvel comics...the good guys fight, then team up.

* So...all the natives have American accents...

* Disembodied voices are so cool and scary sometimes.

* The way women hunger after Bond is quite funny.

* Backup vodka is always a good idea when you're a superspy.

* You know, if I woke up in the middle of the night and found a huge tarantula on my back, my first instinct would likely be to roll over and attempt to smush it.

* I love how the orchestra is in sync with him smashing the spider with his shoe.

* Ruh-Roh! The pretty eavesdropping secretary is a bad girl!

* And that's what you get for being a bad guy in a big ugly car.

* Bond womanizes...of course, she's likely to be dead by the end of their date.

* He was nice...he only had her arrested.

* Quarrel is a dead man...I know it.

* Ursula Andress...yes, please!

* Oh sure, the old "breathing through a hollow reed underwater" trick.

* Yup, 1962, black guy, red shirt...Quarrel just got it.

* Okay, superspy 101...do not drink or eat anything the enemy offers you.

* Umm...yeah...Ursula...yeah...

* With names like Sister Lily and Sister Rose, they'd better be sinister.

* He sends Honey off to be ... mistreated. That's the Bond I'm familiar with.

* Ooohhh, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!

* Sure, electrify the grating, but don't take away his rubber-soled shoes. Good move.

* A gruesome, but fitting end for Dr. No.

* And of course, Bond is the mack...

Reasonably fun, I suppose, but a very uneven movie. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and key points of the plot make as much sense as the Adam West Batman! series. Still, if you don't take it too seriously, it's not bad.

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Major Boothroyd, who supplies Bond with his new gun, has been identified with Q.  If I follow Wikipedia's page on the character correctly the identification is not from the books, as it says Q is referred to in the books but doesn't appear, and the scene where Bond's Beretta is replaced does appear in Dr. No. (It's the only part of the novel I've read. M asks Boothroyd what he thinks of the Beretta and he calls it a ladies' gun, explaining it's not very good as a gun but impresses ladies.) If I again follow Wikipedia correctly Desmond Llewelyn's character in the second film was credited as Major Boothroyd without the name being used in the dialogue (I don't have the film so I can't double-check). Apparently Q is called Major Boothroyd by Barbara Bach's character in The Spy Who Loved Me.

 

In the present film there's a bit in Dr No's treasure room where Bond is distracted by a painting Dr No has. This is a joke about Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington, which was stolen from the National Gallery in 1961 and was missing at the time.

 

Some of the details of the film might come from the book version of Casino Royale: I think Bond's use of an open-handed chop in a fight, and his way of using a hair so he'll know if someone has been through his things, appear there.

 

The bit with the spider was imitated in an episode of Get Smart.

 

The James Bond theme was an adaptation, arranged and perhaps added to by John Barry, of a tune Monty Norman originally wrote for an unproduced musical version of the novel A House for Mr. Biswas.

 

(corrected)

Anyone who can get their hands on a copy of the book DR. NO should read the whole thing. SPECTRE doesn't appear until the book THUNDERBALL, which was the ninth book. DR. NO was the sixth book. SMERSH, the Soviet anti-spy agency and/or the KGB are the adversaries in most of the books.
The character Quarrel, who was killed in both the book and movie DR. NO previously appeared in the second book, LIVE AND LET DIE. Because they filmed them out of sequence, they called the character "Quarrel Junior" in the movie version of L&LD. Being a continuity person, I really appreciated that what Mr. Big does to Felix Leiter in the L&LD book is honored in every following book appearance. Also, the way Bond kills Dr. No in the book is much more original.

Dr No was certainly one of the better Bond novels. And Fleming was quite good with maintaining continuity throughout the series. In the later books he makes an issue of Bonds health which makes me wonder if he planned to retire or kill off 007 at some point.

Though SPECTRE was used extensively in the Connery films, it seems to me that Thunderball was the only novel that utilized that criminal organization headed by Ernst Stavro Blodfeld.  Blofeld returned to plague Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice but he had dissolved SPECTRE.  Am I remembering correctly?

By all means check out CASINO ROYALE... Peter Lorre is the best part of it!

: )

Randy Jackson:

"Bond just doesn't seem a fedora type of guy."

Neither is Philip Gerard (Barry Morse).  HE stopped wearing his shortly after the pilot for THE FUGITIVE.

"* Hmm...not sure how close this movie is in time to the Cuban missile crisis, but I know the timing is close."

The book came out in 1958, so I suppose Sputnik was very topical.  The HUGE difference is, they let the audience know exactly what's going on at the beginning of the film, so there's virtually no mystery, while in the book, Bond's mission is to investigate the disappearance of an agent who was checking into something that seemed very mundane-- a complaint about a bird sanctuary that got destroyed.  As Bond gets deeper into things, he can't imagine WHAT THE HELL the guy he's looking for could possibly be going to such absurd, extreme lengths to be absolutely secretive and security-minded about.  Bond doesn't learn about "missile toppling", there's not even a HINT about it, until the dining table scene where he's sitting across from the main villain!

The film has grown on my over the years, but it's a case where I MUCH prefer the book.  I've read the novel, read the comic-strip adaptation, and recently, listened to the BBC radio adaptation.  I forget who played Bond... but they got David Suchet to play Dr. No.  I'd never have guessed, either.  The voice he created sounds absolutely nothing like anything I've heard Suchet do before, and he makes No one REALLY SICK M*****F*****!!!!!

"I never knew Bond used a Beretta before the Walther."

Apparently he used the Beretta in CASINO ROYALE, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, MOONRAKER, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.  It was on his last mission it apparently jammed, and M berates Bond for spending 6 months in the hospital recovering from being poisoned.  Ian Fleming HAD intended Bond to be dead at the end of the 5th book... but, like Conan Doyle & Holmes, the public demanded otherwise.  The novel DR. NO began life as a film project that fell apart, which was supposed to introduce a new character, not Bond.  The villain was created SPECIFICALLY to give Fleming's cousin, Christopher Lee, a "starring" role!  Instead, Lee wound up becoming famous as Dracula, and later played orientals in both TERROR OF THE TONGS (from Hammer) and 5 FU MANCHU films (from Harry Alan Towers).

"No Q...no gadgets either."

No Desmond Llewelyn, but "Major Boothroyd" is officially the same character.

"* Jack Lord is supposed to be in Hawaii, not Jamaica."

I wish they'd have gotten him back for GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE...  He really is the only Felix who radiates "cool" the same way Connery does.

"You know, if I woke up in the middle of the night and found a huge tarantula on my back, my first instinct would likely be to roll over and attempt to smush it."

In the book, it was a giant centipede (WRETCH!!!!).  But they'd already done the "tarantula" scene in Hammer's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959), with Christopher Lee being the one whose shoulder it was crawling on.

"Ursula Andress...yes, please!"

I KNOW I'm in the minority here... but while "Honeychile Rider" was one of my TOP favorite girls from the books, I never liked Ursula Andress in this movie.  She just didn't seem anything like the character from the novel.  On the other hand, I found her MUCH more likable, more attractive, and DAMNED sexy-as-hell in the film WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT.  "She's a personal friend of James Bond!"

"Yup, 1962, black guy, red shirt...Quarrel just got it."

In the books, Bond first met Quarrel in LIVE AND LET DIE.  So to have him killed in his return appearance really hurt.

"Ooohhh, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!"

SPECTRE was created for the film project that eventually became THUNDERBALL.  But when it fell thru, Fleming turned the story into his next novel, and was promptly sued over it.  While the lawsuit was pending, he struck his deal with EON, and since THUNDERBALL could not be used as the 1st film, they went with DR. NO instead.  Allegedly, because it had "fantastic elements" in it, but I think the fact it was originally created AS a film project may have had a hand in it.  They just added SPECTRE to it, as well as FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, as the organization was created for the film series so as to avoid Russians as baddies.

I wonder, perhaps the fact that SPECTRE had already been used in 2 films by the time the lawsuit was settled allowed EON to continue using the organization, even though THUNDERBALL was denied them... until Kevin McClory struck HIS deal with EON.

"* Sure, electrify the grating, but don't take away his rubber-soled shoes. Good move."

That part of the film has ALWAYS been disappointing to me, as the tube was supposed to be an obstacle course No used to study victims scientifically.  (He was MUCH sicker in the book.) Also, I miss the tube's climax, where Bond fought the giant octopus.

"if you don't take it too seriously, it's not bad."

This is why it's grown on me over the years.  I just try to enjoy it for exactly what it is.

Incidentally, Byron Lee & The Dragonnaires, who performed "Jump Up" at the club, were a major force in Jamaican music, and were responsible for getting many bands better pay and more respect from local club-owners.  Apparently, some form of the band is STILL active to this day!

When you hear "Underneath The Mango Tree" (which the producers hoped would become a hit) as Bond walks toward Pusfella's club, the singer is Monty Norman.  When you hear the same song at Miss Taro's house, the singer is his then-wife, Diana Coupland!  Norman agreed to score the film when the producers offered him and his wife a free trip to Jamaica. Unfortunately, they tried to screw him out of money afterwards, which is how John Barry wound up scoring FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and many others afterwards.  Apparently, like Sean Connery a few years on, Norman saw Broccoli & Saltzman as a couple of con-men crooks.

Luke Blanchard:
"Some of the details of the film might come from the book version of Casino Royale:"

That's very possible, as the novel (like the screenplays for DR. NO and then THUNDERBALL) were intended to introduce Bond to audiences.  The films often play fast-and-loose not only with plot details, but where they come from.  For example, the pre-credit sequence of THUNDERBALL, I eventually figured out, was actually inspired by the climax of the novel YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE!  (Go figure.)

Doc Photo:

"Blofeld returned to plague Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice but he had dissolved SPECTRE.  Am I remembering correctly?"

If SPECTRE was in OHMSS, it was a pale shadow of itself.  And Blofeld (under an assumed name) had gone into hiding with his wife (!!!) in YOLT.  Fleming's real-life health problems inspired the health club sequence in THUNDERBALL.  His further health problems and depression added to the sombre tone of YOLT.  In that book, Blofeld sets up a "garden of death" mainly because he's old, depressed, sick, and has gone insane.  But in the COMIC-STRIP, he did it to embarrass the Japanese government, and offered to shut it down... if they paid him a hefty EXTORTION fee. I like that version better!

SPECTRE was revived in the comic-strip after Blofeld's death, by a "Madame Spectre", an interesting counterpart of "Madame Hydra" who revived Hydra following the death of Baron Strucker.  Later still, John Gardner revived SPECTRE in 3 of his 80's Bond novels.

You remember correctly.

Ian Flemming had not intended to continue the Bond character beyond the initial book. But the publisher and fans gave such a strong encouragement that he did continue with other books.  After a while, he wanted to kill him off. And so, he's given him several death scenes at the end of the books... specfically, he slumps after being poisoned by Rosa Kleb in the book From Russia With Love...and at the end of On Her Majesties Secret Service, he slumps in the car after saying to the motorcycle cop "There's no need to hurry, we have all the time in the world" (the scene is virtually the same as the end of the movie)....and again, at the end of You Only Live Twice, Bond is starting to remember glimpses of his prior life and recognises the name "Russia" which leads him to decide to go visit there(implying that Russian Secret Service or KGB will kill him on sight).

Flemming was quoted as saying he just couldn't kill off the damn secret service agent because the fans and the publisher kept demanding another book.

doc photo said:

Dr No was certainly one of the better Bond novels. And Fleming was quite good with maintaining continuity throughout the series. In the later books he makes an issue of Bonds health which makes me wonder if he planned to retire or kill off 007 at some point.

Though SPECTRE was used extensively in the Connery films, it seems to me that Thunderball was the only novel that utilized that criminal organization headed by Ernst Stavro Blodfeld.  Blofeld returned to plague Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice but he had dissolved SPECTRE.  Am I remembering correctly?

"Jack Lord is supposed to be in Hawaii, not Jamaica."

I wish they'd have gotten him back for GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE... He really is the only Felix who radiates "cool" the same way Connery does.

I always thought it must have been an inside joke that Felix Leiter, who appeared in most of the earlier Bond films, was never played by the same actor twice. A "master of disguise"?

On another subject, DR. NO struck me as a subliminally racist story, especially in book form. The German/Chinese Dr. Julius No is over the Chinese henchmen, who are over the Chinese/African henchmen, who are over the African henchmen. Then of course the British guy defeats the German/Chinese guy.

One thing that always bothered me about the film "Dr. No".... when Bond is working up the river with Honeychild, he hears someone coming down stream, and so, pulls back into the shadows.  It turns out the approaching person is a "bad henchman" WHO HAS WALKED PAST THEM....he is no longer a threat, as he did not detect them....and then, Bond advances from behind, and NEEDLESSLY KILLS THE MAN.  Thereby guarenteeing that there will be a search for the missing man, and that the search will be more intense, and that they will likely kill on sight.

It doesn't make sense that a trained 00-agent would go out of his way to kill a man who was no longer a threat to his mission to avoid capture.

For those of you who have seen the movie but haven't read the book, IIRC the movie used the name Honey Ryder while the book explained that her given (actual) name was Honeychile Ryder.

Richard Willis:

"I always thought it must have been an inside joke that Felix Leiter, who appeared in most of the earlier Bond films, was never played by the same actor twice. A "master of disguise"?"

Another guy I liked, David Hedison, DID come back, for LICENSE TO KILL.  The silly thing was, this was 2 years after John Terry in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.  For TLD, we got a new Bond, a new Moneypenney, and a new Leiter. (But, notably, NOT a new M or a new Q. And although Gen. Gogol was replaced by Gen. Pushkin, Gogol did have a cameo at the end.)  So, why, 2 years later, THEN bring back the much-earlier Leiter from Roger Moore's 1st 007 film? Weird.

For Daniel Craig, they finally got the same actor to play Leiter 2 films IN A ROW!!! They also got an actor to appear 2 films in a row playing Rene Mathis (a character from the novels who had NEVER appeared in any of the films until then), but, they ruined his character in the 2nd film and had him killed (if memory serves). Like... WTF? What I'd forgotten was, the guy they got to play Leiter had been one of the 2 main villains in the Samuel L. Jackson film SHAFT.  Did anybody find it strange that John Shaft's nephew did not have sex with any women in that entire film, but, his uncle (Richard Roundtree) was seen hanging out with TWO women on his arms at the same time? I saw that film TWICE in theatres. I wish they'd done another one. I was hoping both Shafts would become a team in the sequel.  But... another instance of a sequel they just never got around to making.  Dayam.

"On another subject, DR. NO struck me as a subliminally racist story, especially in book form. The German/Chinese Dr. Julius No is over the Chinese henchmen, who are over the Chinese/African henchmen, who are over the African henchmen. Then of course the British guy defeats the German/Chinese guy."

HILARIOUS (and very interesting) observation. Of course, they got a Jewish guy to play the villain in the film... I'd have preferred the "traditional" Englishman in make-up.

"Would you have women like this for your brides?  Then KILL the white man-- and TAKE his women!!!"

--Boris Karloff  (as Fabulous Fu)

(I'm sorry, I just can't think of any great FU quotes from Christopher Lee... but the girl who played Lee's daughter in at least one of those films turned up briefly in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.... and, incredibly, CASINO ROYALE, decades later!!  She reminds me of "Madame Toy" from Wally Wood's CANNON comic.)

From Russia With Love

My thoughts:


* Still with the fedora in the opening.

* Nice tense opening with the two spies stalking one another through the garden

* Garrote!

* And of course, it's all a training exercise. But they take them very, very seriously.

* "Leila" did not get good career advice from her agent on using just her first name

* The chess match in some ways makes a nice metaphor for the Cold War

* S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!

* First sigthing of Blofeld. I have to say, the whole business with the cat makes him that much more menacing.

* Ooh, feeding the dead fighting fish to the cat!  Love it!

* I do not think I would want to have my fitness checked in that particular manner.

* Is Klebb trying to scare the crap out of her, or clumsily seduce her?

* Amusing to see M telling James to primp himself up and look sexy for Tatiana...

* I want one of those briefcases!  I'd feel much safer on the EL.

* I have to say, for me Lois Maxwell is the sexiest woman in the Bond Films without a doubt.  I love the flirtation between her and Bond here.

* Off to Istanbul (not Constantinople).

* That gentleman in the glasses is quite swarthy and wearing a bad tie.  I'd watch him.

* I love these old cars!

* So off goes James pursued by the inept agents, followed by the...ept agent.

* I love how matter of fact the whole, "I suppose it's normal to have someone tailing you here" goes.

* Really, that tie just screams, "bad guy".

* I really don't think that if I were a spy that I would want my sons following in the family business.

* Uh-Oh...the ept agent is throwing a monkey wrench into the carefully organized Istanbul/BulgaRussia detente...

* I like this hotel room.  I wish more looked like this one...minus the bug behind the picture, of course.

* "Back to the salt mines" Some men have it just way too rough.

* Someone set us up the bomb!

* Poor Gypsies.  Time for a firefight.

* Settling things the Gypsy way is such a terrible, terrible thing.  I don't think I can watch it for very long, but for the sake of informing all of you of the gory detials, I'll do my best.

* The carnage is way too terrible to report.  I'll just have to skip ahead to the attack on the Gypsy camp.

* [Joey Styles]CATFIGHT!!!!!!{/Joey Styles]

* Karate!

* I am quite curious as to why our ept agent had Bond dead to rights and chose to shoot someone else.

* "Meanwhile, I'll take care of this filthy stuff."  Who said Connery was never funny as Bond?  Oh wait, I did...

* Decisions, decisions.

* "I think my mouth is too big." "No, it's the right size...for me, that is."  Can't get repartee like that outside of a Bond film.

* About that tub full of running water, James...

* That arm got better really quickly.

* Bond is a dog.

* I love Moneypenny's jealous face.

* Russian clocks are always correct...always.

* Oh, rats!

* OOps...I don't think Daddy's coming home.

* Does James Bond have to smack a ...

* James Bond...captain of empathy. You'd think he could at the very least tell the young man that he's sorry for his loss.

* Nash, drugging the wine...could you get any more cliched?  Already have the catchphrases with the cigarettes.

* Dangit James, can't let the blighters get you like that.

* And the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. shoe drops...

* Wheels upon wheels upon wheels...can't tell your S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from your S.M.E.R.S.H.

* Why did I know that the tear gas in the briefcase would become a big plot point? Oh, that's right...because you can't show a gun in the first act without firing it in the third.

* Oh wait.  YOu mean that killing James Bond is harder than killing someone pretending to be James Bond?

* Helicopter!  How will James ever deal with that?

* Y'Know, Dum Dum Dugan would just toss a grenade in the air and bye bye helicopter.

* They're making it way to easy for Bond, just hovering in the air while he assembles his sniper rifle, and no longer tossing grenades...

* Always nice to hit the grenade tosser in the arm and have him drop the grenade inside the helicopter, destroying it.

* And of course, the celebratory one-liner.

* Well, at least he didn't kill him in cold blood.

* Laying blame on Klebb.  She's gotta hate that.

* Oopsie.  Were you not expecting to be kicked in the leg with a poisoned knife from Klebb's shoe?

* Doesn't telling Bond he cannot escape just tick him off?

* Man, those S.P.E.C.T.R.E. guys must use the same firing range as the stormtroopers.

* Yup, done ticked him off real good.

* Hey Tatiana, nice shot! In the book, Klebb got the best of Mr. Bond.

* "She's had her kicks."  Please.

* For anyone who's wondering, Leila was the Gypsy dancer.



I've said before that Roger Moore is my favorite Bond, but I don't think I've ever said why.

In my mind, Bond is superhuman.  In fact, it's almost unfair to expect him to have a hard time with anyone he deals with, therefore I enjoy it less when the films are taken seriously and portrayed seriously.  It's easy to discern that Connery is a better actor than Moore, but the tongue-in-cheek quality that Moore brings to the character just fits my personal idea of the character better.  This is not to say that Connery was a poor Bond--in fact, I'd say he was a great Bond.  I just enjoy Moore's portrayal better.

All in all, I have to say this was a pretty good film as things go. There was little unnecessary business, the story flowed along quite nicely, and despite it's length, I never really felt like it was dragging.  The movie does slip into cliche from time to time, but at the same time it's still enjoyable as a genre film.

Oh, loved Lotte Lenya as Klebb.  Well performed.

Lotte Lenya played the sexy female lead Jenny opposite the ruthless Macheath in the 1931 German Movie THE THREE PENNY OPERA, in which the song MACK THE KNIFE was featured. In the Louis Armstrong/Bobby Darin version of the song, Lotte Lenya's name is used in the lyrics.

I actually liked all the actors who have played Bond. I didn't like the "camp" tone of most of the Roger Moore movies, but that wasn't his fault.

I never really saw it as camp as much as I saw it him having fun with the role.  Sure, he would never be the actor that Sean Connery was, but the movies were very enjoyable all the same.  Sort of like Bob Haney's The Brave And The Bold. Perhaps not the best scripts, but always fun.

Richard Willis said:

I actually liked all the actors who have played Bond. I didn't like the "camp" tone of most of the Roger Moore movies, but that wasn't his fault.

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