The first entry in what was to become the most profitable movie series of all time is a solid, surprisingly modest spy thriller, enlivened by Sean Connery's screen charisma and occasional hints of the extravagance to come. James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent by his Secret Service superior,
"M" (Bernard Lee), to investigate the murder of another agent in Jamaica. There he learns of Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), a mysterious Eurasian who's up to something sinister on his private island, Crab Key.
In the service of SPECTRE--the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion--Dr. No has built a device that can alter the flight paths of rockets launched from Cape Canaveral. Bond survives several attempts on his life--notably a skin-crawling encounter with a
poisonous spider--and makes his way to Crab Key, where he meets knife-toting, bikini-clad Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) and does battle with a flame-throwing armored vehicle. After Bond and Honey become the evil scientist's prisoners, 007 must defeat a private army single-handed.
In DR. NO, the Bond formula is not yet graven in stone, and viewers may be surprised by the absence of favorite conventions--e.g., the standard title sequence, with silhouetted nude bodies floating in space to the tune of a lush pop ballad. Still, under director Young's sure hand, the
performances are amusing and the plotline suitably enthralling. To play Bond, producers Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman required a relative unknown with just the right combination of ruggedness, suavity, and sex appeal. Connery fit the profile and instantly made the role his own (to the
chagrin of Roger Moore and other later Bond impersonators). Dr. NO is also notable for introducing John Barry's famous James Bond theme music (although the featured song, a forgettable piece of faux calypso called "Underneath the Mango Tree," is repeated at least once too often). leave a comment