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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Ultimately, did it make a difference whether it was commandoes or Ninja? well, okay, woulda missed the cool training scenes and the throwing stars, but otherwise, it didn't matter.

IIRC, in the book it explains that ninja was an ancient, no-longer-existing discipline. I think this is when the general public discovered ninjas, now they're everywhere.

Oh noes! Poison! Whatever will Bond-san do?

In the book I believe it explained that they called him Bondo-san, because Bond-san had some negative connotation.

When they turned James Japanese, didn't they shave his chest?

Even if somebody thought of it, who would have the nerve to suggest it to Connery?

There was a reference to it either in the film or in the book.

Bond says, "Old ancient saying, 'Bird does not make nest in bare tree'"

I assume that it must be in the film, cause I recall Tiger interpreting the bath girl's giggling for Bond, "They are fascinated with your chest hair.  We Japanes do not have it."

Yes, that was in the movie.

Kirk G said:

There was a reference to it either in the film or in the book.

Bond says, "Old ancient saying, 'Bird does not make nest in bare tree'"

I assume that it must be in the film, cause I recall Tiger interpreting the bath girl's giggling for Bond, "They are fascinated with your chest hair.  We Japanes do not have it."

Randy Jackson:

"Space, the final frontier"

The spaceship opening its jaws and swallowing the other spaceship comes from the 2nd episode of LOST IN SPACE, "The Derelict".

"Darling, I give you very best duck."

Tsai Chin, alias "Lin Tang" the DAUGHTER of Christopher Lee's FU MANCHU.  Incredibly, the actress returned for a cameo in the Daniel Craig film, CASINO ROYALE.

"Way to fake your own death."

This comes from the 2nd Matt Helm flick, MURDERERS' ROW.  When Bond starts imitating his imitators, something's not right.

"At least he died on the job."

Anthony Ainley (only visible in widescreen).

"Nancy Sinatra with tonight's theme.  It's not one of the more memorable themes."

I disagree, but mainly because I'm sure I'd heard it many times on the radio, years before ever realiaing it was from this movie.  VERY beautiful song.

"Shooting him out of the torpedo tube."

If memory serves, THAT was how Bond joined the underwater battle in the novel THUNDERBALL.  But having him dive out of a helicopter for the film was apparently more exciting.

"But you, I'm afraid, will get into anything with any girl."

The line, "Welcome to Japan, mister Bond!", heard in the TV ads, with the "sinister" voice, seemed to suggest Bond had just been captured by the bad guys... instead of having been dumped in the HQ of the Japanese secret service.  Tiger Tanaka, in this film, is not so much Japan's answer to "M" (had be been played by Teshiro Mifune as originally planned, perhaps he would have been), but rather, Japan's answer to NICK FURY.  Note how at the end, he leads his men into combat, JUST like in a Jack Kirby or Jim Steranko comic!!!  Actor Tetsuro Tamba had his voice dubbed by Robert Rietty, the SAME guy who had dubbed "Emilio Largo" (the main villain) in the previous film.  Wouldn't you think somebody would have gotten confused by that?

"Nice to see that Aki will mix business and pleasure just like Bond."

Although I thought Mie Hama was prettier, actress Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki) had the better personality in this film.  by rights, Aki should have been the main girl all the way thru to the end.  The only thing that prevented this was the producers giving fill-in writer Roald Dahl a checklist which included that one girl should die at some point to be replaced by another, which is a stupid, stupid thing to have done.  It's like how certain DOCTOR WHO stories were written during JNT's run as producer, when a writer would receive a "checklist" of itemt to include in the story, and had to shoehorn them in, no matter how awkward they got or how little sense they made, or hgow badly the story flowed as a result.

"Kill him."

Sometimes I think this film would have made more sense if Osato HAD been the main villain, instead of just a "cover".

"This rooftop fight is screaming out for...Jackie Chan."

I wonder if THE GREEN HORNET was still in production when they were shooting this?  (Then someone could have asked, why is there a Chinese guy in Japan?)

"After all that, he gets suckered from behind."

Joke!

"You don't often see dogfights in films, so it's always nice to see one, although this one isn't exactly the most exciting.  It's mainly to show off the autogyro's weapons."

Hole in logic:  if they hadn't sent the 4 copters to kill Bond, they might NEVER have suspected there was a hidden copter base somewhere nearby.  (Idiot badguys.)

"The space special effects are a little cheesy"

Visually, they are the ONLY let-down for me in this otherwise MAGNIFICENT visual SPECTACLE of a film.  I guess John Stears did what he could.  I can only imagine what Derek Meddings might have done instead.  Note that in MOORAKER, a really dull, boring, stupid and idiotic film, the special effects were VASTLY superior.  The space shuttle take-off was ABSOLUTELY realistic and convincing... 2 years before the real thing. But the rest of the movie SUCKED.

"Okay, this isn't a great plot.  It requires the governments of both the USA and Russia to behave very, very ignorantly and ignore every iota of intelligence they have available.  If they can't figure out by now that the rogue spacecraft keeps landing in Japan, they're truly a bunch of idiots."

One could say, the "remake", THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, this part made more sense, as it involved a pair of nuclear missiles destroying cities in the US and USSR, and that would lead to a World War.  As opposed to just having a couple of spaceships disappear in orbit.  "Upping the ante", eh?

""Extortion is my business."  I love the way the Japanese just head out the door when he dismisses them, like they know they are absolutely, positively out of their league here."

The one scene that "explains" the entire plot of the film.  But, no, no, NO!  Red Chinese!!! 

"When I saw this as a kid, I always wondered why he had to become Japanese.  I'm still trying to figure this out."

Irony:  90% of the novel got left out when they made the movie.  So... WHY THE HELL did they leave IN this part that, in the context of the movie story, makes NO SENSE AT ALL???  In the book, Bond was supposed to be doing a top-secret job, totally outside the scope of the Japanese secret service, so that nobody could trace his activities back to the government.  In the movie, he's supposed to be dead.  But from the moment he walked into Osato's office, and the x-ray picked out his Walther PPK, the bad guys KNEW Bond was still alive! And while he's "undercover" as a Japanese ninja, they keep sending killer to take him out.  WHAT'S THE POINT OF HIS "COVER"???

Doesn't it seem like this film was shot from a first-draft screenplay?

LOOKS GREAT!  But MAKES NO SENSE!  I love this film, but every time I watch it, it makes LESS sense!

"Poor Aki."

Unforgivable.

"Seriously, why are they continuing to do the undercover bit when S.P.E.C.T.R.E. obviously has everything sniffed out?"

Like I said.

"Why'd he put down the cat to shoot Osato?"

Note the replay of when Morzeny was brought in, and killed Kronsteen instead of Rosa Klebb.  Or when it was the unexpected guy at the SPECTRE board meeting who got electrocuted.  This sort of behavior also turned up in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

"Time for the big sub-boss fight.  How much do you want to bet Hans gets eaten by piranha?"

There was a scene something like this in MASTER OF KUNG FU #29, "The Crystal Connection", when Shang-Chi fought some thug on a rock bridge over a panther pit.

Luke Blanchard:

"He also directed Educating Rita, of all things."

Strangely enough, he also directed ALFIE, with Michael Caine, a film I saw once and really, really HATED.

Doc Photo:

"Thunderball and You Only Live Twice are two that really need to be seen on the big screen in a theater. TV just does not do the action sequences justice."

I agree.  I am pissed that I never got to see either on a big screen.

To me, THUNDERBALL makes much more sense, but it a horribly written & paced film.  By comparison, YOLT has great pacing, directing, editing, visuals, music, action, "EVERYTHING!!!", but, the story makes no damn sense at all.

When I saw the ninjas coming down thru the ceiling into the volcano base, I finally realized what Jim Steranko was paying tribute to when he had the SHIELD Suicide Squad come up thru the floor in the Yellow Claw's underwater base in STRANGE TALES #167.

Moving forward, we're looking at Casino Royale.

* Given the success of the Pink Panther movies, Peter Sellers doesn't exactly impress someone as being a ruthlessly efficient secret agent.

* By the way, just so everyone knows, I'm not expecting this to be a good movie--some fun moments perhaps, but not a good movie.

* All the lead actors in the opening are wearing wings and playing harps.  I wonder if that's foreshadowing anything.

* Bond apparently has a pretty impressive spread, including lions.

* M's laying it on a bit thick about Bond here.

* So apparently there's a delegation from both the Russians and Americans.  I wonder what it's all about.

* Of course, if there's lions the music has to be "Born Free".

* Ah-ha!  This is the David Niven James Bond, as opposed to the Peter Sellers James Bond.

* Amusing bit of the spies (CIA, KGB, MI5) exchanging initials.

* Apparently Niven's Bond is the real Bond, not the womanizing charlatan that M gave his name to.  So I guess that's why there are several Bonds in this movie.

* Now he's dressing down the other spies for using gadgets.  That brings me a chuckle.

* Oh, apparently Niven's Bond has a bit of a stammer as well.

* Joke Shop Spies.  That would make a good band name.

* Spies united.  sure.

* Well, I guess they aren't taking no for an answer.  I wouldn't want Bond pissed at me though.

* "Proceed with S.M.E.R.S.H. plan B.  Sir James Bond is back with his morals, his vows, and his celibate image." Really, totally different Bond.

* A bagpiping spy?  Cool beans.

* The dog inside the globe?  Priceless.

* So M is dead now.  I guess Her Majesty's army was a tad overzealous when they blew up Bond's estate.  Unless he faked his death...nah, that never happens.

* A Hair-loom.  Puh-leeze... :D

* That's one elaborate memorial meal.

* Bond just doesn't know a good thing when he sees one.

* 11 daughters between the ages of 16 and 19.  A little too much of a good thing, I'd say.

* Daddy had some...interesting...ideas about child-rearing, apparently.

* I guess the drink was drugged...I really wasn't expecting that.

* Oh no!  She's trying to vamp our hero!

* "Doodle me."  I didn't know it was that kind of film.  Next thing you know, they'll be ...sketching.

* So, this is what passes for a joke in this film.  She leaves the room, grabs a horn off the wall, and suddenly she's playing jazz like John Coltrane.

* Now he has to wrestle all of these burly pipers.  All because he wouldn't doodle.

* Apparently this game of catch isn't going to well.  Perhaps the ball is too heavy.

* Karate!  What can't it do?

* And Mimi's cover is blown.  Oh well.

* It's time to shoot some grouse.

* Shame they couldn't have gotten Madelaine Kahn to play Mimi.

* A wee bit of slapstick during the grouse shoot.

* Fake exploding grouse. How dastardly!

* The old magnetic button homing device trick, eh? Well, that was a realy sticky situation.

* Oh, not the remote control exploding milk float trick!

* Well, it is a car chase.

* I think this car chase may have been directed by either Mack Sennet or Benny Hill.

* No hat rack to throw the hat on, but a comely young lady in M's office nonetheless.  However, I don't think it's Moneypenny, James.

* Actually, her daughter.

* And now the third Mister Bond shows up--Jimmy, portrayed by a very young-looking Woody Allen.

* Seems to be on the wrong end of a firing squad.

* "Your mother did some of her best work at night."  Oh, James...

* And now a fourth James Bond.  Gonna need a scorecard soon.

* Ursula...yeah. I think it's even her real voice this time around.

* Peter Sellers, cosplaying as Hitler.  Yeah, I'm a little surprised.

* Dressed as Napoleon, pulling out a travel brochure reading "Sunny Elba". I don't think most people would get that joke.

* My first big laugh is the two-way wristwatch from Dick Tracy comics.

* The typical Q outfitting session is, like much of the rest of this movie, only mildly amusing I'm afraid.

* Oddly enough--had they wanted to go that way--Peter Sellers wouldn't have been a bad Bond at all.

* Part of the problem with this movie is that it's kind on an incoherent mess...stuff happens, then other stuff happens, and it's really hard to keep track of what's happening.

* The dancing sequence is running long.

* You mean S.M.E.R.S.H.? Shhhh...

* A little Gaslight action...

* Yup, a little Benny Hill involvment...I swear I just heard "Yakety Sax".

* If all else fails, throw in a Berlin Wall joke.

* Miss Goodthighs gives me another laugh.

* The old Alka-Seltzer in the champagne trick.  We'll see if this works.

* Make that the double old Alka-Seltzer in the champagne trick.

* Seduction montage dream.

* Time for the big Baccarat game.

* orson Welles doing levitation tricks.  Why is this in the movie?

* Okay, that was classic Sellers being Sellers.  Enjoyed it.

* Ok, this is getting silly, and not in a good way.

* "Oh, you're going to nothing me to death."  I like that.

* And now for some late '60's psychedelia.

* Actually, I would love to see this sequence in a real Bond film.  There's just something about a large mass of bagpipers.

* And the bagpipe machine gun...now that's a gadget.

* Really, this movie is going off on way too many tangents.  

* Did she not hear "atomic" explosion?

* The cavalry just plain aint' workin'.

* So everyone's dead, and this film is finally over.

This film had some promise, but it was derailed by too much of everything and a lack of direction.  It seems like sub-plots were started then forgotten, and it just meandered all over the place.  Pretty much what I was expecting, in all honesty.

I don't mind a bit of silliness at all, but the silliness has to be funny.  This really wasn't.  The ending reminded me of Blazing Saddles, but the humor wasn't there throughout, and the ending just seemed more kitchen sink-ish than over the top gonzo.  It just never worked.  Perhaps if they'd halved the film and subplots, it might have worked better.

I will say that for their Baccarat scene, Welles looked huge while Sellers looked like a child sitting on a phone book at the dining table, so I'd say their editing wasn't quite so good.



George Poague said:

Re "Casino Royale": The soundtrack song "The Look of Love" was a huge hit. More popular than the movie!
I've read that Peter Sellers refused to work with Orson Welles for some neurotic reason. So, for their scene together, they were filmed separately, and the editing tried to make it look like they were in the same scene. I haven't seen this movie in many years, so I can't say how well it worked.

 

I'm in the middle of this one right now, and haven't reached that scene yet. I'll keep an eye out for it.

There are some prints of the farce "Casino Royale" that eliminate a portion of the "dream sequence" when LeChef torchures Eveland Trumble (Sellers) and takes control of the car that he's driving, improbably rotating it over and over in a rotation of the camera in time with his finger.  (This makes more sense when you see it happen, even if it makes no sense now.)

The point is that most modern releases of the film have eliminated this scene for some unknown reason. I remember seeing it vividly, and miss it when it doesn't show up.   It happens about the time when Bond is trapped among the bagpipe drill corp and screams "help" at the camera lens.  Watch for it.

The Peter Sellers bits are based on the book and follow its storyline. The rest of the movie isn't based on the book at all. My guess is the original idea was to do a comedy version of the book and all the other stuff was devised after Sellers was fired or quit/stopped showing up (Wikipedia says it isn't clear which happened).

 

Spoiler warning for the book and the 2006 remake. In the book, when Vesper is kidnapped Bond gives chase in his Bentley and falls into a trap and crashes. Sellers's line about the chair having no bottom is an allusion to how the book's Le Chiffre tortures Bond. (He's tied naked to a chair and hit where it hurts from below.) The book is a quick read, by the way.

 

If anyone doesn't know, the book was first adapted for a 1954 episode of the American TV series Climax! The episode still exists, but I haven't seen it; a version (not quite complete, if I follow Wikipedia's page on the adaptation correctly) was included on a DVD release of the 1967 film. Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre.

There was another scene I remember seeing on TV as a kid that didn't make it into this cut either, and that was a bit with the backwards-firing gun.

Kirk G said:

There are some prints of the farce "Casino Royale" that eliminate a portion of the "dream sequence" when LeChef torchures Eveland Trumble (Sellers) and takes control of the car that he's driving, improbably rotating it over and over in a rotation of the camera in time with his finger.  (This makes more sense when you see it happen, even if it makes no sense now.)

The point is that most modern releases of the film have eliminated this scene for some unknown reason. I remember seeing it vividly, and miss it when it doesn't show up.   It happens about the time when Bond is trapped among the bagpipe drill corp and screams "help" at the camera lens.  Watch for it.

I tend to refer to CR as "WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT 2".  Same producer, many of the same actors.  But the "original" was actually funny.

I feel Ursula Andress is much sexier in WNP than she was in DR. NO.

And now the third Mister Bond shows up--Jimmy, portrayed by a very young-looking Woody Allen.

He was 32 at the time. It was his first on-screen film, outside of TV. His next on-screen appearance was in his own TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, one of my favorites.

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