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Forums - Movies & TV - Dr. No Review

Dr. No

Cast & Credits

Actor                                      Character

Sean Connery                     James Bond

Ursula Andress                  Honey Ryder

Joseph Wiseman              Dr. No

Jack Lord                             Felix Leiter

Directed by Terence Young

Original Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

 

A gun barrel is in the upper left hand corner of the screen.  In it is a well dressed man in a bowler hat walking casually.  Suddenly he pivots quickly on his foot, pulls out a pistol, and shoots.  Blood falls over the gun barrel.  Then one of the most memorable themes in motion picture history starts up.  It is played by the John Barry Orchestra.  Monty Norman gets credit for writing the theme, but it's John Barry's arrangement that puts it over the top.  During the theme, a magical  title sequence by Maurice Binder is also being orchestrated.  Multi-colored circles dance around the screen which soon give way to the silhouettes of actual dancers.  The theme song gives way to "Underneath the Mango Tree", and it in turn gives way to Monty Norman's calypso take on "Three Blind Mice".  All of this takes place before the actual movie even starts.  If this doesn't get you pumped up for what's coming, I don't know what will.

In the first scene we see three blind beggars while "Three Blind Mice" is still playing.  Soon we find out that they really aren't blind at all.  They assassinate a gentleman named Commander Strangways as he's leaving a club to meet with his employer.  It turns out that Strangways is the head British secret service in Jamaica.  He was headed back to his place to give a radio message to his superiors as he does every other day at this time to let them know that things are going smoothly.  He obviously doesn't make it and the lady working for him also gets shot dead.  A file on a certain Dr. No is stolen.  When the secret service doesn't get in contact with Strangways they decide to look into the matter.

A man is sent to a high end casino to collect British agent James Bond.  The camera shows the back of the head of a man that's cleaning up at chemin de fir, which is a type of baccarat (imagine that).  He says to the lady that he's destroying at the table, "I admire your courage Miss..."

The woman replies, "Trench, Sylvia Trench.  I admire you luck Mr..."

"Bond, James Bond."  

We finally see Bond's face as he lights a cigarette.  After winning a couple of more hands he is called from the table.  He is summoned off to duty.

Bond arrives at his place of employment and we are introduced to a couple of characters which will become mainstays in the series.  Spunky secretary Miss Moneypenny is played wonderfully by Lois Maxwell.  After her and Bond have a brief scene of flirtation he is called into M's office.  For those of you who don't know, M's the boss and he is played brilliantly by Bernard Lee.  He has the presence of a strong authority figure that even Bond himself has to have respect for.  M explains to Bond the situation with Strangways and that American missiles are being toppled.  This means that a radio beam is being used to throw off the gyroscopic controls of a missle.  It turns out that this is what Strangways was investigating when he was murdered.  Bond is sent to find out if this was a coincidence or not.

For a good part of the film Bond runs around trying to piece things together.  In the process he punches out a phoney chauffeur that eats a cyanide cigarette,  gets chased by our three "blind" assassins, has a close enconter with a poisonous tarantula, and seduces two women.  This leads up to one of my favorite scenes in the movie where Bond sets up three pillows in a bed to make it look like he's sleeping in it to find out who wants him dead.  Dr. No underling Professor Dent unloads his gun into the pilows and Bond asks him a couple of questions.  Dent tries to shoot Bond with an empty gun and instead of bringing him in for questioning or anything like that, Bond shoots him in cold blood.  I know that people often refer to the Man With No Name as the original anti-hero in cinema, but this proceeded him by several years.  Mr. Bond wasn't the guy with the white hat at all, was he?

So Bond follows leads given by the events past and goes to Crab Key, which is an island owned by the mysterious figure known as Dr. No.  Shortly after he arrives we become witnesses to one of the most iconic scenes in movie history.  I don't think that I'm exaggerating either.  Out of the crystal blue waters of the Carribean comes a glistening, golden-brown blonde beauty in a white bikini with a knife on her belt.  She drops a couple of shells to the sand and starts singing "Underneath the Mango Tree".  This scene gives me a chill up my spine every time that I see it.  It shows the beauty of nature, the female body, and music all in one.  The young lady is Honey Ryder and she is an orphan who makes a living off of diving for sea shells.

Shortly after this, Bond and Honey are captured by a fire breathing dragon.  It's actually a tank that's made up to look like a dragon.  After a decontaminaton shower to remove the radiation on them, being escorted to a mink-lined prison, and being drugged we finally see Dr. No's feet  1 hour and 24 minutes into the 1 hour and 50 minute movie.  We actually get to see his face three minutes later.  This is the main problem with the movie.  As good as it is, it takes way too long to get to Dr. No.

The dinner scene with Bond and Dr. No is fantastic.  Dr.  No explains how he is the offspring of German and Chinese parents.  Despite this, he ascended to the become the treasurer of the Tongs.  He fled to America with $10 million of their gold.  He uses the money to finance his missile toppling and in an unfotunate accident with radiation he lost his hands.  He also explains that he's working for SPECTRE - SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence Revenge and Extortion.  It's lead by the greatest criminal minds in the world.  When Bond says that he prefers the revenge department and brings up Strangways, Dr. No calls him a stupid policeman.  It eventually breaks down into a fight over which year of Dom Perignon is better.

Just as it looks like Bond and Honey are done for, James finds a way out of it.  I won't give everything away, but I'll say that there's a grueling battle between Bond and Dr. No that lasts shorter than a Super Bowl commercial.

I loved this movie.  It had by far the lowest budget out of all of the Bond movies and maybe not the most action, but it's full of life.   Terence Young's direction is unique.  It's almost as if he hated close ups and only allowed his camera men to shoot medium and far shots.  This makes the sets and the beautiful island of Jamaica as much of a character as the actors.  Speaking of actors, Sean Connery is the real draw in this movie.  His acting is brilliant. Every second of the film he comes across as intelligent, charming, witty, and deadly.  It's a delicate balance playing james Bond and he does it perfectly.  He even does it without gadgets in Dr. No.

4 out of 5 Above average for a Bond movie - This movie is well written, well acted, has a great soundtrack, and has intriguing characters.  It starts off a little slow, but that's no fault of the film since a lot of characters are being introduced for the first time.  The one draw back though is that we don't get to see nearly enough of Dr. No.  

 

Movie mistakes:

When the three assassins throw Strangways into the back of the Hearse, you can see huge light in the window of the car as it drives off.

When Bond punches chauffeur Mr. Jones, he throws the punch with his right hand and lands it with his left.

When getting out of the decontamination shower, a supposedly nude Honey Ryder is wearing a dark gold one piece bathing suit.   

 

 

 

James Bond will return next Monday in From Russia with Love   

 



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good review amp.with Dr No a movie icon is born and great titles and music themes,on my broken laptop i have soem classic movie pics and one of them is ursuall andress doing a handstand in that bikini and connery holding her legs wearing his tight trunks,haha i'll have to find it sometime

unfortunately in my town they had most of the bonds but not Dr No in stock so i can't watch it right now,i'll have to go off to you tube and watch the begining to wet the appetite



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:) Not sure if that nude scene was a mistake.

Dr. No is by far the James Bond that I have watched the most over my life. Back before cable was big there those movies that you seemed to always see on Tv, along with re-runs of Gilligins Island and Star Trek from what I remember. It was and still is one of the most popular Bond movies released.

Even as a kid this movie was able to easily hold my attention! The music, the action, the scenery, the women?,etc.
I do not know what the directors goal was in the movie, but I like to think that the brilliant Sean Connery seemed to know what he was doing and where he wanted this character to go from the very beginning. Suave, cigarette smoking, igenuitive, ass kicking agent with a license to KILL!
Pretty much my favorite part of the movie is when they finally get to the Island. Everything has built up to this point. Who wouldn't want to explore a mysterious island with dragons, mysterious events happening, Beautiful women, guns, and all the action you could ask for. Sounds like I just described an episode of "Lost"! Don't forget that you get to do all of this with one of the coolest fiction characters to ever walk the Earth! Sea...James Bond!

Agree that Dr. No was missing a little too much in the movie, but it just added to the mystery just like the island. I am glad that they went that route because when we finally got to meet him it was all worth the wait! Robot hands, mad scientist look, brilliant (other than the fact that he under estimated James Bond by leaving him alive) mind, and part of a secret organization that we will learn more about in other movies. I am still amazed that at this time in Hollywood they were still trying to make people who were not a particular race, act like they were another race. I would mention one of Bond's later movies, but that is against the rules.

I will say that at least Auric Goldfinger had a reason to keep Bond alive, Dr. No should have just killed both of them. Or maybe that was the same reason that he left him alive?

Lastly I think no one ever gives Bond's Jamaican assistant enough credit. I enjoyed him in all of his parts throughout the movie. Even when he tried to have Bond beat up.

The Directors must have thought so as well, because later on Quarrel Jr. will make an appearance in a James Bond movie as well. I would also like to note from reading a bond novel or two in my life and being reminded of it on the internet is that Quarrel knew Bond from previous missions in the book series, just not in this movie.

Great movie! I give it a 8.5/10. Thanks for the Great Review Amp!



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No mention of the car that explodes as soon as it drives off a cliff? Or was that in Goldfinger? Although the way I remember it, we were fighting about in which movie this was and it turned out that such a scene was in both.

Anyway, the fight against Dr. No shows how tough of a guy the early Bond was. He didn't need minutes to knock out a harmless scientist.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

Here ya go Amp! This seems to be the original Trailer, although it almost looks like a fan made it recently in an attempt to push it off as a retro trailer.



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Good review man! Even though I haven't seen the movie in years your descriptions were great and I could visualize the scenes from reading what you put.

I remember it being one of my least-liked Bond movies due to the lack of action, gadgets, car chases, etc. I might like it better now that I'm older though.

I'm still gonna try to watch it soon and get a review up before your next review!



RolStoppable said:
No mention of the car that explodes as soon as it drives off a cliff? Or was that in Goldfinger? Although the way I remember it, we were fighting about in which movie this was and it turned out that such a scene was in both.

Anyway, the fight against Dr. No shows how tough of a guy the early Bond was. He didn't need minutes to knock out a harmless scientist.

No, in Dr. No the car explodes after it goes halfway down the cliff.  In Goldfinger the car explodes the instant that it goes off of the cliff.  An honest mistake since both scenes were so similar.  I will talk about it in my Goldfinger thread if you promise to grace me with your presence in it.



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@ Ryan I also liked Quarrel quite a bit and would have mentioned him if I didn't think that my review was going to run too long. The reason that Quarrel Jr. was in Live And Let Die is because he appeared in both the novels Live And Let Die and in Dr. No with the former coming first. This was a way to explain a Quarrel being in Live And Let Die after what happened in Dr. No...

Also, as long as we're talking about things that I didn't put in my OP I would like to point out that Jack Lord is my favorite Felix Leiter. He went on to be the star in Hawaii Five-O.

Why didn't Dr. No kill Bond? Who knows. He invited him to dinner too. That sort of stuff is questioned in the Austin Powers movies.



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amp316 said:

No, in Dr. No the car explodes after it goes halfway down the cliff.  In Goldfinger the car explodes the instant that it goes off of the cliff.  An honest mistake since both scenes were so similar.  I will talk about it in my Goldfinger thread if you promise to grace me with your presence in it.

Either way, it explodes too soon. And even then, cars don't explode if they fall from great height. Although I don't want to single out Bond movies for sticking to the myth of exploding cars.

I'll post in the Goldfinger thread, because that's a Bond movie I have watched. I have seen some more than others and a few not at all. And others I might have watched, but don't remember anymore.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

RolStoppable said:
amp316 said:

No, in Dr. No the car explodes after it goes halfway down the cliff.  In Goldfinger the car explodes the instant that it goes off of the cliff.  An honest mistake since both scenes were so similar.  I will talk about it in my Goldfinger thread if you promise to grace me with your presence in it.

Either way, it explodes too soon. And even then, cars don't explode if they fall from great height. Although I don't want to single out Bond movies for sticking to the myth of exploding cars.

I'll post in the Goldfinger thread, because that's a Bond movie I have watched. I have seen some more than others and a few not at all. And others I might have watched, but don't remember anymore.

I could point out several things in Bond movies that wouldn't happen in real life, but that's part of their charm.  One of my favorites is in Thunderball where he takes the jet pack off and casually throws it into the trunk of his Aston Marin.  His hands would have been burnt to a crisp touching that metal tubing which would have been scalding hot.  Also, the trunk of the car would have been toast.



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"There are like ten games a year that sell over a million units."  High Voltage CEO -  Eric Nofsinger