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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It's my recollection that CASINO ROYALE was the only Bond property that wasn't originally optioned to Broccoli/Saltzman, which is how the parody version came to be made. It had previously been on TV as noted. I believe they made Bond into an American, either a secret agent or private detective. The 1970 TV movie DARKER THAN AMBER, based on John D. McDonald's book in his Travis McGee series changed McGee into a private eye. Apparently they wanted a more conventional occupation for him.

I knew he was the screenwriter of "What's New, Pussycat?", but had forgotten he had a role in it.

Richard Willis said:

It's my recollection that CASINO ROYALE was the only Bond property that wasn't originally optioned to Broccoli/Saltzman, which is how the parody version came to be made. It had previously been on TV as noted. I believe they made Bond into an American, either a secret agent or private detective. The 1970 TV movie DARKER THAN AMBER, based on John D. McDonald's book in his Travis McGee series changed McGee into a private eye. Apparently they wanted a more conventional occupation for him.

 

You remember correctly; I saw the TV version once. Bond was an American in that one -- "Jimmy" Bond (!) -- played by Barry Nelson, with Peter Lorre as the villain Le Chiffre. You can find clips from it on YouTube.

George Poague said:

"It was his first on-screen film, outside of TV."

Actually, Woody Allen made his film debut two years earlier, in 1965's "What's New, Pussycat?"

Ahhh ... Just finished watching it this evening, and there's a brief scene with Mata Hari-Bond and Wilfred Mott Bernard Cribbins where Ms. Bond pulls up a manhole cover (as an escape route), the theme from "What's New, Pussycat?" comes blaring out from below and Wilf Cribbins says "Don't go down there!" The joke isn't quite the non sequitur I thought it was.

There's one very brief shot in the casino where Sellers and Welles appear to be in the same shot, but I wouldn't swear that it isn't a body double for Welles shot at just the right angle.

TCM's print of the film cuts straight from Trumble climbing into the roadster to Trumble in Le Chiffre's torture chamber.

Tonight's film is Our Man Flint. From IMDb:

When scientists use eco-terrorism to impose their will on the world by affecting extremes in the weather, Intelligence Chief Cramden calls in top agent Derek Flint.

Thoughts:

* Ooh, weather.

* A submarine?  With a girl on board?  Wearing a white hooded coat and pants with a hooded orange sweatshirt?  In 1967?  She must be a baddie.

* Yup, just blew up a dam with a weird instrument

* Robble Robble Robble...it sounds more like the Hamburglar than the UN.

* "It's the work of bad men!"  I seriously LOL'd at that one.

* Selecting the perfect agent by computer?  That's generally not a good idea, but it is 1967. so we'll have to wait and see.

* This entire massive computer room could probably be replaced now with a cellphone.

* DEREK FLINT!

* And now, the opening titles...no vocals, just a gently nifty jazz score.

* Nice dancing girl silhouettes too.

* Unusual...the dancing girl was shot dead.

* Our titular hero practices KARATE!

* Bruce Lee, he's not.

* And now fencing.  Two on one, of course.

* I love the way the hotline from the President beeps.

* For some reason, Kramden doesn't like Flint much.  Perhaps Flint did something bad on a bus in New York City...

* Flint has some seriously funky digs.  And I want that bed!

* And the dog brings the visitor to his master.  Very fun!

* The apartment re-decorates itsself.  Priceless!

* I should have expected there would be a girl when he asked if they could talk while he shaved.

* Okay, that's four pretty girls already in his apartment.  I wonder if he might be a ladies man.

* Shortest plane de camp on record.

* Those are some funky dresses those girls are wearing.

* Okay, the baddies have shown up.  It's about to get personal for DEREK FLINT!

* And yes, the ladies love cool Flint.

* Lots of dancing. This might have been a good vehicle for John Travolta.

* Quick change on the harp.  I'm sure no one noticed.

* The old "use the harp as a bow to shoot a poison dart trick, eh?" Unfortunately for her, she didn't hit anyone important, just Kramden.

* Yup, Flint's on the job now.  I guess he doesn't like having poison darts shot at him.

* Stopping his heart for over three hours is his way of preparing for an assignment?

* I wonder how many takes it took for him to get up from those two chairs?

* DEREK FLINT! could give lessons on deduction to Sherlock Holmes.

* DEREK FLINT! works alone.

* "I have my own jet."

* Nice to see that Flint appreciates the efforts of a good dancer.

* S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!  And it's bigger than them!

* Ah, the old reversible tuxedo trick.

* Oh sure, dress up as a Muslim and start shooting off your gun...all you're doing is getting the building to empty out...

* Oh that's right...the bad girl put an explosive in the cream jar.  Good show!

* Uh Oh...they're kidnapping his women.

* Even out of the shower!  How despicable!

* Really pedestrian, bribin his way in to Gila's office.

* Uh oh, Gila is falling for his charms.

* He does know it's a trap, right?

* I am enjoying the score.

* Holy false-fronts Batman!

* Why do I think DEREK FLINT! has them right where he wants them?

* Of course, using an acetylene torch inside such an enclosed area would eliminate all the oxygen in the room, so kids--don't try this at home.

* So the whole "stopping his heart" thing was actually foreshadowing.

* The spy organization that Kramden works for is called Z.O.W.I.E.

* Why are the evil scientists showing their faces?

* Of course, it would have made more sense just to dump the coffin at sea, but bad guys have flawed logic sometimes.

* Death by forklift doesn't seem to be the way you'd want to go.

* So bad guy headquarters is under a resort.  Good thing Flint didn't give the location away or all these innocent people would have been killed.

* Okay, perhaps not quite so innocent.

* So, apparently an eagle can get the best of DEREK FLINT!

* "An anti-American eagle.  It's diabolical"

* I just love these massive villainnous lairs where everything is carefully labeled.

* Uh oh...DEREK FLINT! just smiled.  The bad guys are in for it now.

* Well, that was an interesting joke.  The Caucasian guy is Dr. Woo, and the Asian guy Dr. Shapiro.

* Bum Bum Bum...the electro-fragmentizer.

* The brainwashing scenes are pretty creepy.

* Branding...that's pretty barbaric.  

* Somehow, the silent room of dancing go-go girls makes me chuckle.

* Great soundproofing on that room.  All of his girls are there too.

* So this fantasy room includes a fake drive-in movie theater where the men can take advantage of the "pleasure units".  

* Why do I think Rodney's iron fist will be the death of him?

* Okay, it didn't kill him, but he's a total dumbass.

* Suuure, they aren't pleasure units

* Okay, he destroyed the island, but you have to wonder how many of the women there were innocent victims of brainwashing.

* The anti-American eagle got away though.  I'm sure he'll be around to menace us in the next film.

A fun film overall.  Not a great movie, but entertaining enough.  There were some good laughs, and a lot of somewhat subtle humor as well.  

The biggest defect that I saw was that the villains were lacking in charisma.  There was a hint of an old feud between Rodney and Flint, but it was never really explained.  And quite frankly, there was a complete lack of tension within the movie--Flint was just too damned competent for any of this to really be a challenge for him. Still, I'd recommend the film.

I've not seen this one. James Coburn was later tutored in martial arts by Bruce Lee. According to Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter by M. Uyehara, which is at Google Books, when they met Coburn asked Lee his opinion of the instructor who'd been his trainer for Our Man Flint, and Lee ranked him low.

 

Regarding the back-shooting gun in Casino Royale, in the TV version I've seen there's an out-of-nowhere bit during the final fight sequence where George Raft appears holding a gun, says "I've been framed - this gun fires backwards!" and dies.

 

That was in this cut.  However, I recall another scene in which one of the women throws the gun to one of the guards and starts running, and he shoots himself.  That wasn't in this cut.

Luke Blanchard said:

 

Regarding the back-shooting gun in Casino Royale, in the TV version I've seen there's an out-of-nowhere bit during the final fight sequence where George Raft appears holding a gun, says "I've been framed - this gun fires backwards!" and dies.

 

I recall the backwards-shooting gun was in one of the MATT HELM movies.  THE SILENCERS, I think.

Henry R. Kujawa said:

I recall the backwards-shooting gun was in one of the MATT HELM movies.  THE SILENCERS, I think.

There was, indeed, a backwards-firing pistol in The Silencers.  It was a funny gag, but not as funny as the ten-second-delay pistol from Murderers' Row.

The 1st time I saw THE SILENCERS, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  What a DUMB movie. Oh well. The underground base may have inspired the much-better one in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (whatta ya think?). 

MURDERERS' ROW is a much-better film, starting with the Lalo Schifrin theme song and moving on to Ann-Margaret (what a doll!!).  I suspect her character in the film (or perhaps an earlier film of hers) may have been an inspiration for the character of Mary Jane Watson.

THE AMBUSHERS is the pits.  Makes THE SILENCERS look classy by comparison.

THE WRECKING CREW actually managed to be better than MURDERERS' ROW.  It's odd they recast his boss (same character, totally different-looking actor) but overall the film actually tries to take itself more serious.  Also, and this isn't too well-known, the fights are the best of the series.  Why?  BRUCE LEE was the fight choreographer!

I was disappointed by the Matt Helm movies, which were screened between 1966 and 1969 in the hated (at least by me) "camp" style.  Author  Donald Hamilton published 27 books about Matt Helm, all deadly serious.

See the write-up: Matt Helm on Wikipedia

Something perhaps a bit more worth checking out (?) are the Bulldog Drummond films of the late 60's. there were 2 of them, and they morphed the detective into a spy character. Richard Johnson stared in both. I've only seen the 1st, DEADLIER THAN THE MALE, but it wasn't too bad.  Nigel Green was the main baddie; he'd also played the main baddie in THE WRECKING CREW.

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