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Written by / 11/23/2015 / No comments / , , , , ,

CONNERY BOND ONE: DR. NO

year: 1962 cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord, John Kitzmiller Director: Terence Young
Couple things to begin. We first learn that Sean Connery's secret agent James Bond likes his Martini "Mixed not Stirred" as opposed to "Shaken." A very bland individual, never to appear again, plays Q and provides 007 a new gun and no gadgets. Bernard Lee is introduced as M while Lois Maxwell's young-enough Moneypenny is worth more than goading flirtation, and the opening credit sequence doesn't have its own song with lyrics or without, but rather, just as we're setting up the Scottish actor in the lead role, the (soon to be iconic) Bond theme is established from the start...

Neat Artwork
And what would soon after be a signature prologue occurs after the opening credits involving three strutting blind black guys (to a calypso "Three Blind Mice") who are anything but nice. Thus DR. NO, the very first Bond film ever made, plays out simple and casual, initially setting up side-characters in over their heads without realizing, until it's too late...

Honey Ryder
So when the smooth, professional, card-playing Bond is sent to pick up the pieces and investigate further, the best scenes occur during the second half when our man, along with a superstitious sidekick, ventures to a mysterious, heavily guarded island in this perfectly timed vehicle that doesn't start the franchise with a bang, but more of a subtle (if wonderfully campy) sense of palpable danger...

Dragon on Diesel
For instance, in one scene, the soundtrack blares over-dramatically when a thug picks up a caged tarantula meant for Bond's demise. And later on, a feared "dragon" becomes the first cool war machine in the series, and isn't so easy to destroy like that glorified spider.

Mostly taking place in the Caribbean (where we'll return years later in Roger Moore's first outing LIVE AND LET DIE), this balmy espionage features future TV-star Jack Lord as American agent Felix Leiter; a no-nonsense, tough cookie starlet in Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, who already knows her way around the island's shoreline; and Joseph Wiseman's title "Asian" heavy, providing the first smoothly nefarious monologue within a really cool underground fortress backed by SPECTRE which, of course, involves nuclear warheads. But with the use of metallic hands, it's too bad our lead villain doesn't do more damage during the climactic fight in a movie that feels like a stretched-out short film, and a damn fine one at that.

RATING: ****
ALL BOND REVIEWS
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