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Dr. No, The First Bond Film

Dr. No was the first film to feature our favourite secret agent from MI6. It was released in 1962 and while the critical response was somewhat mixed the general public loved it and it was a box office success. Our first glimpse of Bond is a memorable scene and we join him in a crowded casino as he chats to a beautiful brunette. His face is not revealed but we can see he is well dressed and he addresses the woman after a win by saying “I admire your courage, Miss…” she introduces herself as Sylvia Trench and responds “I admire your luck, Mister…” the camera cuts back to reveal Connery in a tuxedo, confident and handsome with a cigarette casually hanging from his mouth. “Bond. James Bond.” He replies simply in a line that has gone down as one of the most famous in cinema history. This fantastic introduction makes it immediately clear that we are dealing with a cool customer and so it proves as Bond is despatched to Jamaica to foil the evil organisation SPECTRE (Special Executive for Crime, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) who are operating there under the auspices of the diabolical metal handed villain Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman). Before he departs Bond is summoned to the British Intelligence headquarters and we are introduced to Bond’s boss M (Bernard Lee) and his secretary Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) with whom Bond flirts outrageously. He is told to liaise with the CIA in the shape of Felix Leiter (Jack Lord). With many of the stalwart characters introduced, all of whom will pop up again in various guises throughout the series of films, we get on with the action as Bond plays cat and mouse with Felix and evades several assassination attempts. Eventually he sneaks on to the island of Crab Key and after sleeping on the beach awakes to see Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) emerging from the sea in a bikini in another seminal Bond moment. The two soon end up in Dr. No’s evil hideout and eventually the man himself is revealed as an evil looking megalomaniac of Chinese and German descent, clad in a Nehru suit with two metal prosthetic hands. The villains in Bond movies were always a huge part of the attraction and they all seem to own huge underground bases of vast complexity and employ armies of insanely loyal henchmen. Dr. No was a terrific introductory baddie and in the dramatic finale he inevitably engages Bond in a fight to the death. Dr. No was beautifully directed by Terence Young who went on to direct From Russia With Love and Thunderball. He created a tense and stylish film which drew audiences in to the murky cloak and dagger world of international espionage. There were criticisms that the film took a while to get going, didn’t introduce characters until late on and was less action packed than other Bond movies with only one exotic location but it remains a classic Bond film and served as a terrific introduction to his world creating a basic template which would change little over the years.