Saturday, July 9, 2011

Movie of the Week

This Week,

DR. NO (1962)

Starring- Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Bernard Lee

The first big screen film featuring agent 007 is also one of the best. After a few failed attempts to get Ian Fleming's master spy on film, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman chose one of Fleming's most exciting and lush books for Bond's screen debut. Many actors were considered for the role of 007, including Cary Grant and Roger Moore, but the role went to an actor whose only leading role prior to Dr. No was in the musical, Darby O'Gill and the Little People. That man was Sean Connery, whose blend of power, charm and menace made him a screen icon as James Bond.

The plot of the film follows the mysterious Dr. No who has designs on tampering with the U.S. space program in order to forward the diabolical agenda of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate, and once there he teams up with his suave CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and local agent Quarrel. The three men are on constant watch as Dr. No's deadly operatives try to stop them from uncovering what he has hidden at his lair at Crab Key. Once Bond and Quarrel get to Crab Key their mission is complicated by the presence of the beautiful and sultry, Honey Ryder (Andress). It all ends in a spectacular fight between Bond and the claw handed Dr. No.

While the series was still figuring out its formula, this film has many hallmarks that would be defining characteristics of the Bond franchise. We see Bond at the gambling tables, seducing many an attractive lady, drinking vodka martinis, getting lectured by M, flirting with Moneypenny and evading all manner of danger. These elements are the cornerstones of what we think of when we hear the number 007. Director Terence Young does a superb job of mixing humor with danger and suspense, and does it all in such a stylish 1960's way. It is no wonder that so many copycats followed in Bond's onscreen footsteps.

For anyone looking to get into the Bond films, this is a great start. Not only does it introduce you to one of the great movie characters of all time, but it does it in the most entertaining way possible. The action is top notch, as are the locales and the acting (i.e. Wiseman's monotone creepiness as Dr. No). The best part though is Bond, James Bond.

Things to watch for-

Sleeping with Tarantulas
The Three Blind Mice
Bond and Sylvia play "golf"
Walther PPK
Bond's first gadget- a Geiger Counter

"That's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six."

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