Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Anthony Dawson
Film matched beverage: Dr Raspberry
Synopsis: The first of Ian Fleming’s James Bond Novels to be adapted, this adventure adheres quite closely to the source material. 007 is sent to investigate the death of another agent in the Caribbean. It turns out, this agent had begun to uncover a plot at Crab Quay, having collected some samples from the area which were much more radioactive than they should be.
As promised last week, for the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, I am going back and reviewing every single Bond film, with the recently released Blu-Ray box set as my source material. These reviews will focus on general film reviews, how the films of age, and the advantages or disadvantages that may occur from the upgrade to HD. Each film I will also match with an alcoholic beverage…. the connection arising from any connection the beverage may have to the title of the film, or in some cases it may be a drink directly featured in the film. For this review’s beverage, scroll to the bottom of the post.
At this early point in the franchise, some key elements are already in place. The iconic theme with the gun barrel entry is present and correct, Bond woos and beds multiple women, he is provided with his weapon of choice, the Walther PPK, and he even meets CIA counterpart Felix Leiter. Other elements are largely noticeable from their absence though. Despite a “Quartermaster” being present, Q branch is not mentioned by the latter term, nor does Desmond Llewelyn playing the character. I know he has subsequently been replaced as Q, but a classic bond without Llewelyn just doesn’t feel the same. Another difference is the music. The classic Bond twangy guitar is there, however the rest of the film has borrowed from its Jamaican setting. To modern Bond aficionados, this can be at times quite jarring. Finally, there is no Aston Martin in this film, that being a development to occur only with Goldfinger.
The film itself is quite fascinating, with the story still gripping, and the action feeling just as frenetic and tense as it would have done in 1962. Connery’s introduction as Bond really captured the essence of the character, and is something I am sure many film makers have tried to echo ever since, with varying results. Back then, Bond was a much colder, but also cooler, character. The film features many immortal lines that capture this attitude. “That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’ve had your six” is one I always eagerly await, for instance.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the Blu-Ray upgrade. Some moments really pop from the screen. Ursula Andress exiting the water in white bikini and diving belt (slight diversion from the source text, in the book it was just the diving belt) is vibrant colourful, and a perfect example of what today’s technology can do. The disadvantage comes in cases where backgrounds in some scenes clearly look superimposed. This is none more clear than when Bond is being chased in his Sunbeam Alpine. The backgrounds could have benefited from a bit more blurring to make it more realistic by today’s standards.
Overall though, Blu-ray is the way to watch Dr. No. A fantastic film, which with a few more elements will be come a simply classic formula.
3.5 stars out of 5
Dr. Raspberry Recipe
2 parts Dr. Pepper
1 part Chambord
Served on Ice in a high ball glass