Movie Review: DR NO, 1962. First James Bond Film

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dr_noDR NO, 1962
Movie Reviews

Directed by Terence Young
Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord and Bernard Lee.
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes


James Bond is sent to investigate the murders of an operative and his secretary, stationed in Jamaica. While there he discovers there is more going on than anyone could imagine. The locals are scared out of their minds to talk, there is a huge lack of trust between anyone, a mysterious island and everyone seems to want James Bond dead.


I am a huge James Bond fan, for many reasons, like many others I love James Bond himself. A cool, ultra suave and sophisticated spy, unafraid to practically do anything dangerous. He sounds like the ultimate hero and dammit he is. The Bond films have grown with the times to suit what the audience wants (Moonraker: the Star Wars James Bond) and to even give a jolt of reality and portray Bond with real emotional feelings (On her Majesty’s Secret Service, Casino Royale). The Bond girls have grown with the times as becoming more and more strong willed dependent women that don’t need to fully rely on Bond and Bond to rely on them more. I just wanted to discuss where I am going to go as I do my reviews of these films I love. The first of the films Dr. No is one of my favorites and it is the film that introduced all the Bond standards you would expect from a James Bond movie.

The film starts with the signature shot looking through the gun barrel and a man turns and shoots, blood comes down the screen. It’s not Connery, but we get the picture that it is James Bond and he WILL KILL YOU if you have a gun pointed at him. Pretty cool and also a little scary when you think about it. He is a dangerous man. After an arousing title sequence we start with three blind men, seemingly walking a fair distance, pretending to be blind until they meet up with Strangways, the British operative stationed in Jamaica, they use their disability cunningly and WHAT!! Yeah, they kill Strangways. They kill his secretary as well and steal a file entitled Dr. No from the office. From there we meet Bond for the first time and right off the bat we know were safe with the man where he wins the first of many hands gambling ( I actually think he can see through the backs of cards). Bond gets his first girl, which becomes a controversial subject in the Bond films, the portrayal of Women by Bond.

Bond meets M who sends him to Jamaica to investigate Strangways murder. Bond goes, and the story then unfolds almost like a Raymond Chandler novel. Dr. No more than any other Bond film is more of a mystery. That is why I like Dr. No so much. You are putting the puzzle together with Bond. A small murder case turns into a plot by Dr. No to Disrupt radio transmissions in the American space program, which would cause chaos at the cape Canaveral rocket launch sites. Like Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Bond uncovers more and more of the truth from locals, enemies and evidence pointing toward an island called crab key, that none of the locals will go near. Bond meets Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) in crab key in the most famous bond girl scene in the series. I don’t blame it for being famous it is sexy and at the time probably too sexy.

So far in the film Dr. No (who belongs to a terrorist organization called SPECTRE) himself has been the ultimate mystery. For 3 quarters of the film we had only heard his voice, which was almost godlike, like a lot of future Bond villains, they appear to have complexes of all destroying the world on a global scale. Dr. No’s lair is brilliantly decorated by Ken Adam who starts a trait for Bond’s foes as having rich living conditions.

Overall Dr. No sets the standard for Bond films and opens us up to the world of Bond, his witty one liners and his smooth talking demeanor. Not only that it is a solid movie and definitely in my top 5 of the series. Sure it is a little outlandish and almost silly by todays standards, but it works so well and is a lot of fun. It also works to stay within the times by using the antagonist’s idea to disrupt the space race which was a huge and exciting ordeal at the time. Bond is the hero we need to protect us as the world moves forward around us. He is the hero that keeps the world running smoothly.



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