For the next 22 weeks, MTV Movies Blog will be running what we call the Bond-a-Thond. Every Wednesday we’re taking a look back at a single (official) Bond film, giving you the vitals and seeing how it holds up, right up until the release of “Skyfall” on November 9. Feel free to watch along with us and share your thoughts or just kick back and enjoy the Bond.
Dr. No (1962)
Title Meaning: The villainous, vaguely Asian owner of Crab Key Island and agent of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion)
Plot: When an MI6 agent goes missing, Double O agent James Bond sets off for Jamaica in order to solve the mystery and foil the nefarious plot of Dr. No, a representative of SPECTRE, the international evil organization bent on throwing off the balance of world power (we think).
Bond: Sean Connery
Villain: Dr. Julius No, a mad genius who plans to disrupt an America space launch. He also has a super strong mechanical hand and is played by Joseph Wiseman.
Bond Girl: Honeychile “Honey” Ryder, bikini-clad seashell collector, played by Ursula Andress.
“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 1
Martinis: 2 (both “Shaken, not stirred”)
Card Games: 2
Cigarettes Smoked: 4
Tuxes Worn: 1
Kills By Bond: 4
Most Creative Kill: Dr. No falls into a vat of boiling liquid that serves no purpose.
Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: Distraught
Sexual Partners: 3 (Sylvia Trench, Miss Taro, Honey Ryder)
First Occurrence of Sex: 16 minutes in
Most Unrealistic Moments: The “Dragon” of Crab Key (a flame-throwing tank); James and Honey remove nuclear radiation with a series of warm showers
Most “Bond” Moments: James kills an assassin right before he’s about to reveal his employer; Uses reeds as snorkels; Steals henchman uniform as disguise
Sign of the Times: The number of vaguely Asian characters (mostly Caucasian actors in makeup); James’ sidekick, known to his friends as “Pussy Feller”
Place in Bond History: As the first Bond film, “Dr. No” established many of the signature trademarks of the series, including Bond’s preference for a Walther PPK, the gun barrel opening, the “James Bond Theme” music composed by Monty Norman, and silhouetted women in the credit sequence. “Dr. No” also introduced SPECTRE, an organization that would make appearances in several films in the series.
Review: Watching “Dr. No” 50 years after its initial release, it’s difficult to not notice how the film has aged. It’s deliberately slower than any “action movie” from the last 20 years. Each driving scene uses the now hokey-looking rear projection technique. And as mentioned above, Mr. Bond and his films didn’t handle race very progressively. Plus, you’ll find all the camp that Austin Powers mocked so thoroughly on display from the very beginning.
Despite all of this, you cannot help but watch in awe at the birth of a legend. The character James Bond has always been a composite of recurring themes. Bond, James Bond. Martini, shaken not stirred. A license to kill. All of that existed from the very beginning. It took Jason Voorhees three movies to get his hockey mask. The cinematic Bond began fully formed, and “Dr. No” will grab you immediately because of it.
Connery owns the role from the very first frame, and even if you grew up in the post-“GoldenEye” renaissance, the original Bond lets you know how the chips fall right from the start. Connery will always be “the” James Bond, a title that goes beyond simply being the first.
The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “From Russia With Love.”
What do you think of “Dr. No”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!