Thursday Night Movie Club
Dr. No
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Release Date: 6 May 2011

Director: Terence Young
Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Joseph Wiseman
Jack Lord
Bernard Lee
Anthony Dawson
John Kitzmillier
Zena Marshall
Eunice Gayson
Lois Maxwell
Peter Burton
James Bond (007)
Honeychild Rider
Dr. No
Felix Leiter
Professor Dent
Miss Taro
Sylvia Trench
Miss Moneypenny
Major Boothroyd (Armorer)
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In Jamaica, Commander Strangways and his secretary are murdered before he can make his daily report to the home office in London. The break in protocol goes up the chain of command leading to a private card club in London. It is late night and a handsome man is battling an attractive woman at the baccarat table. The man is winning. He pulls out a cigarette and comments, "I admire your courage, Miss...?" The woman replies, "Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck Mr....?" The man flicks his lighter and replies, "Bond, James Bond." The legend is born!

The first and noticeably one of the best James Bond movies, Dr. No is based on the sixth Ian Fleming novel. Everything is done right, from producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. (Cubby) Brocolli, to the script, director Terrance Young and Sean Connery.

Unknown actor Connery got the part of James Bond, after producers Broccoli and Saltzman couldn't get Cary Grant, James Mason or David Niven to commit to a several-picture deal. Thank goodness! Connery is suave, sophisticated, able to deliver the double en tend res and is down-right mean when he has to. None of the first three actors on the list would last very long in a fist fight.

Agent 007 is taken to a meeting with M (Lee) head of Britains MI6. Before he meets M, Bond cannot resist flirting with M's secretary Miss Moneypenny (Maxwell). 007's meeting with M shows that Bond is not afraid to be flippant, even to his boss. M is annoyed but he will only let the humor go so far before putting his foot down. 007 is sent out to investigate Strangways disappearance. Strangways had been looking into the possiblity of the "toppling" of U.S. missile tests from Cape Canaveral for the C.I.A. Toppling refers to manipulating the gyroscopic controls of a guided missile thus throwing them off course. During this interplay, Bond is given his new gun, Walther PPK, with stopping power like "a brick through a plate glass, by Major Boothroyd (the answer to a trivia question). Bond tries to sneak out his trusty Beretta but he can't get passed the watchful eyes of M, buried in his paperwork.

Bond heads back to his flat to pack for his mission to Jamaica. He finds an intruder in his lodgings. He finds Sylvia Trench, wearing only one of his shirts. She asks, "Oh, did I do something wrong?" Bond replies, "Not wrong, just bad timing. I have to leave." They kiss. Sylvia asks, "When do you have to leave?" They kiss. "Immediately", Bond replies. They kiss. "Almost immediately." Not even an important mission for the British government can deter Bond from making love to a beautiful woman.

All of the elements that will make the James Bond franchise a huge success are depicted very well here: the opening gun-barrel shot, credits by Maurice Binder, John Barry's arrangement of Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme", Bond's flirting, his womanizing, the PPK, and the list goes on...

From there, its off to Jamaica where Bond shows his shows his skills by spotting a photographer who tries to take his picture and immediately spotting the opposition's driver sent to collect him. The driver is quickly dispatched in another classic scene that answers the question of how well Bond can throw a punch. Very well indeed!

What follows is an almost "Sherlock Holmesian" mystery as Bond finds the clues that will lead him to Dr. No. Along the way, he meets Quarrel, a Jamaican fisherman, who used to take Strangways fishing and other research about Dr. No and his private island on Crab Key. Through Quarrel, Bond meets his CIA counter-part, Felix Leiter, who pops up throughout the series.

In another classic scene that made a household name of Ursula Andress, Bond encounters Honey Rider as she comes out of the sea like Botticelli's Venus, all dripping wet wearing a very revealing bikini. "What a day!"

Throughout some chases on Crab Key, Bond and Honey (I always wonder why women are referenced by their first names, in print) are captured and take to meet the infamous Dr. No.

During another Bond classic scene, during his meeting with Dr. No, Bond's penchant for vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred, and his appreciation of fine champagnes, Dom Perignon is revealed. Bond eventually rules the day by destroying Dr. No and his organization.

During the movie, Bond shows his true nature in a scene "often imitated (most notably by television's Maxwell Smart, agent 86 of Control". Bond sets a trap for assassination by Professor Dent. Bond allows Dent to empty his revolver into a bed made up to look like a sleeping body. Bond captures Dent and seemingly allows Dent to make a grab for his gun. Bond calmly informs Dent that "that is a Smith and Wesson 38, and you've had your six shots." Bond coldly kills Dent in cold blood. This scene, Bond killing in cold blood, is not repeated until 1999's "The World Is Not Enough".

For the first James Bond film, this movie is a joy to watch because there are no gimmicks. Everything is fresh. The film is both camp and dark and easily moves between the two modes, sometimes in the same scene. Before the Bond films became "bigger and better, the first few James Bond movies stayed fairly close to creator Ian Fleming's novels.

Except for the opening credit scene, the music is forgettable. There are some very good Jamaican "jump up" music throughout. The classic James Bond theme was written by Monty Norman. But it is John Barry's arrangement of the theme that sets this apart as one of the greatest, most well-known theme songs of cinema history. It is no coincidence that Norman was never asked to do another music score and that most of the following films were scored by Barry.