Countdown to Skyfall: Dr. No (1962)

Countdown to Skyfall: Dr. No (1962)

In anticipation of the November 9 release of the new James Bond film, Skyfall, Hammervision will be re-watching all of the previous Bond movies and giving readers a primer on the highs and lows in each entry of the franchise.  For those doing the math, that's 25 movies (including Skyfall) in 11 weeks. Which ones hold up?  Which ones made an indelible impact on popular culture?  Who is the best Bond?  Get ready and grab your martini (shaken not stirred, of course), the answers lie ahead.

DR. NO (1962)

BOND: Sean Connery

DIRECTOR: Terence Young

BOND GIRL(S): Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder)

COOL GADGETS: None, unless you count Bond's signature Walther PPK handgun.

THEME SONG: None.  Just Monty Norman's iconic theme song.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond's investigation of a missing colleague in Jamaica leads him to the island of the mysterious Dr. No and a scheme to end the US space program.

ICONIC MOMENTS: Two major ones here: (1) Bond's introduction at the card table: "Bond.  James Bond."; and (2) Ursula Andress walking out of the ocean wearing that white, two-piece bikini.  Yeah, you know the one.

VERDICT: This first Bond adventure is definitely a product of its time, but it's still pretty impressive how much of the formula was already in place.  Connery makes for a striking Bond - he nails the debonair lady killer aspect of the character, but he's also a ruffian who does not hesitate to escalate the violence when necessary.  Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) doesn't appear on screen until more than halfway in, and fails to make much of an impression.  He's certainly no match for Bond, who easily dispatches him.  The Jamaica locale provides an enticing and playful '60s atmosphere.  Andress is beautiful but seems a bit dim-witted and childish.  Thankfully, subsequent Bond girls were given a bit more smarts.  Light on action, as to be expected given it's modest budget.  The tarantula scene (one attacks Bond in bed) is an unintentional hoot, especially when Bond kills it and the music accentuates his every hit (ha - even the tarantula gets "banged" by Bond).  The plotting is rather lackadaisical and the pacing drags at times.  There is definitely room for improvement.  Notable mostly for introducing the character, and setting the stage for future, better installments.

GRADE: B-

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