Dr. No (1962) Directed by Terence Young. With Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman and Bernard Lee.
This, the first cinematic outing for resourceful British spy, James Bond, marks the beginning of an enduring love affair, not only between Bond and his ever changing line-up of exotic female sidekicks, but also with us, the general film loving public. It’s here that many of the now widely recognised ‘Bondisms’ were born, to be echoed and imitated throughout the decades in subsequent sequels and other platforms of pop culture.
As much as anything else, going back and and re-watching this original adventure is as much fun as a Bond history lesson, as it is an engaging and charmingly portrayed film. Based on Ian Feming’s 1958 novel of the same name, Dr. No has many of the now familiar ingredients, but seeing them played out for the first time adds a layer of admiration that lessened the impact in some of weaker films of the series.
As Bond, Sean Connery is sheer class. From his first scene at a blackjack table encounter, the actor exudes a mixture of dry wit and unshakable poise, bringing a great sense of fun and mischief to the role that makes his screen time a joy throughout. As we have come expect, he is furnished with a bevy of attractive women, most notably, Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder and that scene, as she emerges from the sea.
The production is suitably grand, boasting some beautiful Jamaican locations and impressive looking sets courtesy of the legendary Pinewood Studios. Despite the odd jarring edit, and a few continuity gaffes, director Terence Young also deserves huge credit for his handling of the film, which has a fine balance of tone between humour and adventure. His vision for the character of James Bond has stood the test of time to be enjoyed by every generation since. Dr. No may not be the best of Bond’s escapades, but it claims a special place in history for introducing so many iconic elements. 3.5/5