1st James Bond Film – Dr. No (1962 Movies)
Director:- Terence Young
Music by:- Monty Norman
Cinematographer:- Ted Moore
- 5 October 1962
Country:- United Kingdom
Budget:- $1.1 Million
Box office:- $59.5 Million
John Strangways, the British MI6 Station Chief in Jamaica, and his secretary are ambushed and killed. The assassins steal documents related to “Crab Key” and “Doctor No”. In response, M, the head of MI6, instructs agent James Bond to investigate Strangways’ disappearance and to determine whether it is related to his co-operation with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on a case involving the disruption of rocket launches from Cape Canaveral by radio jamming.
On his arrival at Kingston Airport, Bond is picked up by a chauffeur claiming to have been sent to take him to Government House. Bond determines him to be an enemy agent and, after having him evade a car following them, bests him in a fight. Bond starts to interrogate the chauffeur, who kills himself with a cyanide capsule.
At Strangways’ house, Bond sees a photograph of a boatman with Strangways. Bond locates the boatman, named Quarrel, whom he recognises as the driver of the car that followed him. Bond, after overpowering Quarrel and his friend Puss Feller, meets Quarrel’s passenger, Felix Leiter, a CIA agent on the same mission as Bond. The CIA has traced the radio jamming signal to Jamaica, but has not determined its exact origin. Quarrel, who is assisting Leiter, reveals that he had been guiding Strangways around the nearby islands to collect mineral samples. He also mentions the reclusive Dr. No, the owner of Crab Key, an island rigorously protected against trespassers by an armed security force.
In Strangways’ house, Bond finds a receipt from Professor R.J. Dent concerning rock samples. Bond meets Dent, who says he assayed the samples for Strangways and determined them to be ordinary rocks. Dent subsequently visits Dr. No, who expresses displeasure at Dent’s failure to kill Bond and orders him to try again with a tarantula. Bond survives and sets a trap for Dent, whom he captures, interrogates, and then kills.
Using a Geiger counter, Bond detects radioactive traces in Quarrel’s boat where Strangways’ mineral samples had been. Bond convinces a reluctant Quarrel to take him to Crab Key. There Bond meets the beautiful Honey Ryder, dressed only in a white bikini, who is collecting shells. Ryder leads Bond and Quarrel inland to an open swamp contaminated by radiation. After nightfall, they are attacked by the “dragon” of Crab Key, which is in reality an armoured tractor equipped with a flamethrower. In the resulting battle, Quarrel is incinerated by the flamethrower. Bond and Ryder are taken prisoner, decontaminated in Dr. No’s lair, and rendered unconscious with drugged coffee.
Upon waking, they are escorted to dine with Dr. No, a Chinese/German criminal scientist who, due to radiation exposure, has metal hands. He reveals that he is a former member of a Chinese crime Tong, from whom he stole ten million dollars. He also reveals that he is working for a secret organisation called SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). He plans to disrupt the Project Mercury space launch from Cape Canaveral with his radio beam. After dinner, Ryder is taken away and Bond is beaten by the guards.
Bond is imprisoned in a holding cell, but escapes by crawling through an air vent. Disguising himself as a worker, he finds his way to Dr. No’s control centre, which contains a nuclear pool reactor. As the American rocket lifts off, Bond overloads the reactor and knocks Dr. No into the reactor pool, killing him. Bond finds and frees Ryder, and the two escape the island in a boat as the entire lair explodes. After the boat runs out of fuel, they are rescued by Leiter, who arrives on a Royal Navy ship. As Bond and Ryder kiss, Bond lets go of the ship’s tow rope.
- Sean Connery as James Bond: A British MI6 agent, codename 007.
- Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder (spoken voice by Nikki van der Zyl and singing voice by Diana Coupland): A local shell diver, making a living by selling Jamaican seashells to dealers in Miami.
- Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No: A reclusive member of SPECTRE
- Jack Lord as Felix Leiter: A CIA operative sent to liaise with James Bond while he is in Kingston.
- Bernard Lee as M: The head of the British Secret Service.
- Anthony Dawson as Professor R.J. Dent: A geologist with a practice in Kingston, who also secretly works for Doctor No.
- John Kitzmiller as Quarrel: A Cayman Islander who was employed by John Strangways to secretly go to Crab Key to collect rock samples; he also worked with Felix Leiter before Bond’s arrival.
- Zena Marshall as Miss Taro: The secretary to Mr. Pleydell-Smith at Government House in Kingston. She is actually a double agent working for Dr. No.
- Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench (spoken voice by Nikki van der Zyl): Trench first meets Bond during a game of Baccarat at the London club Le Cercle.
- Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny: The secretary to M.
- Peter Burton as Major Boothroyd: The head of Q-Branch, Boothroyd is brought in by M to replace Bond’s Beretta M1934 with a Walther PPK. This was Burton’s only appearance as Q.
- Reginald Carter as Mr. Jones: A henchman of Dr. No who was sent to pick up 007 at the Palisadoes Airport.
- Yvonne Shima as Sister Lily: A prison warden working at Dr. No’s lair.
- Michel Mok as Sister Rose: Also working at Dr. No’s lair.
- Marguerite LeWars as The Photographer: One of Dr. No’s operatives who trails Bond.
- Dolores Keator as Mary: Strangways’ P.A., murdered by the ‘Three Blind Mice’.
- Louis Blaazer as Pleydell-Smith: Chief Secretary at Government House in Kingston.
- Timothy Moxon as Strangways (voiced by Robert Rietty): Strangways is the head of the Kingston station for the British Secret Service, murdered by Dr. No’s henchmen, the ‘Three Blind Mice’. (uncredited)
James Bond:- While producers Broccoli and Saltzman originally sought Cary Grant for the role, they discarded the idea as Grant would be committed to only one feature film, and the producers decided to go after someone who could be part of a series. Richard Johnson has claimed to have been the first choice of the director, but he turned it down because he already had a contract with MGM and was intending to leave. Another actor purported to have been considered for the role was Patrick McGoohan on the strength of his portrayal of spy John Drake in the television series Danger Man: McGoohan turned down the role. Another potential Bond included David Niven, who would later play the character in the 1967 parody Casino Royale.
There are several apocryphal stories as to whom Ian Fleming personally wanted. Reportedly, Fleming favoured actor Richard Todd. In his autobiography When the Snow Melts, Cubby Broccoli said Roger Moore had been considered, but had been thought “too young, perhaps a shade too pretty.” In his autobiography, My Word Is My Bond, Moore says he was never approached to play the role of Bond until 1973, for Live and Let Die. Moore appeared as Simon Templar on the television series The Saint, airing in the United Kingdom for the first time on 4 October 1962, only one day before the premiere of Dr. No.
Ultimately, the producers turned to 30-year-old Sean Connery for five films. It is often reported that Connery won the role through a contest set up to “find James Bond”. While this is untrue, the contest itself did exist, and six finalists were chosen and screen tested by Broccoli, Saltzman, and Fleming. The winner of the contest was a 28-year-old model named Peter Anthony, who, according to Broccoli, had a Gregory Peck quality, but proved unable to cope with the role. When Connery was invited to meet Broccoli and Saltzman he appeared scruffy and in unpressed clothes, but Connery “put on an act and it paid off” as he acted in the meeting with a macho, devil-may-care attitude. When he left both Saltzman and Broccoli watched him through the window as he went to his car, both agreeing that he was the right man for Bond. After Connery was chosen, Terence Young took the actor to his tailor and hairdresser, and introduced him to the high life, restaurants, casinos and women of London. In the words of Bond writer Raymond Benson, Young educated the actor “in the ways of being dapper, witty, and above all, cool”.
Dr. No is set in London, England, Kingston, Jamaica and Crab Key, a fictional island off Jamaica. Filming began on location in Jamaica on 16 January 1962. The primary scenes there were the exterior shots of Crab Key and Kingston, where an uncredited Syd Cain acted as art director and also designed the Dragon Tank. They shot a few yards from Fleming’s Goldeneye estate, and the author would regularly visit the filming with friends. Location filming was largely in Oracabessa, with additional scenes on the Palisadoes strip and Port Royal in St Andrew. On 21 February, production left Jamaica with footage still unfilmed due to a change of weather. Five days later, filming began at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, England with sets designed by Ken Adam, which included Dr. No’s base, the ventilation duct and the interior of the British Secret Service headquarters. The studio would later be used on the majority of later Bond films. Adam’s initial budget for the entire film was just £14,500 (£283,884 in 2018), but the producers were convinced to give him an extra £6,000 out of their own finances. After 58 days of filming, principal photography completed on 30 March 1962.
The scene where a tarantula walks over Bond was initially shot by pinning a bed to the wall and placing Sean Connery over it, with a protective glass between him and the spider. Director Young did not like the final results, so the scenes were interlaced with new footage featuring the tarantula over stuntman Bob Simmons. Simmons, who was uncredited for the film, described the scene as the most frightening stunt he had ever performed. The book features a scene where Honey is tortured by being tied to the ground along with crabs, but since the crabs were sent frozen from the Caribbean, they did not move much during filming, so the scene was altered to have Honey slowly drowning. Simmons also served as the film’s fight choreographer, employing a rough fighting style. The noted violence of Dr. No, which also included Bond shooting Dent in cold blood, caused producers to make adaptations to get an “A” rating – allowing minors to enter accompanied by an adult – from the British Board of Film Classification.
When he is about to have dinner with Dr. No, Bond is amazed to see Goya‘s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington. The painting had been stolen from the National Gallery by a 60-year-old amateur thief in London just before filming began. Ken Adam had contacted the National Gallery in London to obtain a slide of the picture, painting the copy over the course of the weekend, prior to filming commencing on the Monday.
Editor Peter R. Hunt used an innovative editing technique, with extensive use of quick cuts, and employing fast motion and exaggerated sound effects on the action scenes. Hunt said his intention was to “move fast and push it along the whole time, while giving it a certain style”, and added that the fast pacing would help audiences not notice any writing problems. As title artist Maurice Binder was creating the credits, he had an idea for the introduction that would appear in all subsequent Bond films, the James Bond gun barrel sequence. It was filmed in sepia by putting a pinhole camera inside an actual .38 calibre gun barrel, with Bob Simmons playing Bond. Binder also designed a highly stylised main title sequence, a theme that has been repeated in the subsequent Eon-produced Bond films. Binder’s budget for the title sequence was £2,000 (£39,156 in 2018).
Introduction of James Bond
The character James Bond was introduced towards, but not at, the beginning of the film in a “now-famous nightclub sequence featuring Sylvia Trench”, to whom he makes his “immortal introduction”. The introduction to the character in Le Cercle at Les Ambassadeurs, an upmarket gambling club, is derived from Bond’s introduction in the first novel, Casino Royale, which Fleming had used because “skill at gambling and knowledge of how to behave in a casino were seen … as attributes of a gentleman”. After losing a hand of Chemin de Fer to Bond, Trench asks his name. There is the “most important gesture [in] … the way he lights his cigarette before giving her the satisfaction of an answer. ‘Bond, James Bond’.” Once Connery says his line, Monty Norman‘s Bond theme plays “and creates an indelible link between music and character.” In the short scene introducing Bond, there are portrayed “qualities of strength, action, reaction, violence – and this elegant, slightly brutal gambler with the quizzical sneer we see before us who answers a woman when he’s good and ready.” Raymond Benson, author of the continuation Bond novels, has stated that as the music fades up on the scene, “we have ourselves a piece of classic cinema”.
Following the release of Dr. No, the quote “Bond … James Bond”, became a catch phrase that entered the lexicon of Western popular culture: writers Cork and Scivally said of the introduction in Dr. No that the “signature introduction would become the most famous and loved film line ever”. In 2001 it was voted as the “best-loved one-liner in cinema” by British cinema goers. In 2005, it was honoured as the 22nd greatest quotation in cinema history by the American Film Institute as part of their 100 Years Series.
Dr. No introduced the many recurring themes and features associated with the suave and sophisticated secret agent: the distinctive “James Bond Theme“, the gun barrel sequence, his initial mission briefing with M, “Bond girls“, the criminal organisation SPECTRE, narrow escapes, Bond’s luck and skill, his signature Walther PPK and the licence to kill, over-ambitious villains, henchmen and allies. Many characteristics of the following Bond films were introduced in Dr. No, ranging from Bond’s introduction as “Bond, James Bond” (although he seems to be mimicking Sylvia Trench who introduces herself first as “Trench. Sylvia Trench”), to his taste for vodka martinis “shaken, not stirred“, love interests, and weaponry.
Dr. No also establishes the oft-repeated association (in this case, Project Mercury) between the Bond series and the US manned space programme—which would be repeated with Project Gemini in You Only Live Twice, Project Apollo in Diamonds Are Forever, and the space shuttle in Moonraker (not to mention several outer space sequences involving fictional satellite programmes in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Die Another Day).
Comic Book Adaption
Around the time of Dr. No‘s release in October 1962, a comic book adaptation of the screenplay, written by Norman J. Nodel, was published in the United Kingdom as part of the Classics Illustrated anthology series. It was later reprinted in the United States by DC Comics as part of its Showcase anthology series, in January 1963. This was the first American comic book appearance of James Bond and is noteworthy for being a relatively rare example of a British comic being reprinted in a fairly high-profile American comic. It was also one of the earliest comics to be censored on racial grounds (some skin tones and dialogue were changed for the American market).
Dr. No was the first of 24 James Bond films produced by Eon, which have grossed just over $5 billion in box office returns alone, making the series one of the highest-grossing ever. It is estimated that since Dr. No, a quarter of the world’s population have seen at least one Bond film. Dr. No also launched a successful genre of “secret agent” films that flourished in the 1960s. The UK Film Distributors’ Association have stated that the importance of Dr. No to the British film industry cannot be overstated, as it, and the subsequent Bond series of films, “form the backbone of the industry”.
Dr. No – and the Bond films in general – also inspired television output, with the NBC series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was described as the “first network television imitation” of Bond. The style of the Bond films, largely derived from production designer Ken Adam, is one of the hallmarks of the Bond film series, and the effect of his work on Dr. No’s lair can be seen in another film he worked on, Dr. Strangelove.
As the first film in the series, a number of the elements of Dr. No were contributors to subsequent films, including Monty Norman’s Bond theme and Maurice Binder’s gun barrel sequence, variants of which all appeared in subsequent films. These conventions were also lampooned in spoof films, such as the Austin Powers series. The first spoof films happened relatively soon after Dr. No, with the 1964 film Carry On Spying showing the villain Dr. Crow being overcome by agents who included Charlie Bind (Charles Hawtrey) and Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor).
A further legacy saw the sales of Fleming’s novels rise sharply after the release of Dr. No and the subsequent films. In the seven months after Dr. No was released, 1.5 million copies of the novel were sold. Worldwide sales of all the Bond books rose throughout the sixties as Dr. No and the subsequent films – From Russia with Love and Goldfinger – were released: in 1961 500,000 books had been sold, which rose to six million in 1964 and seven million in 1965. Between the years 1962 to 1967, a total of nearly 22.8 million Bond novels were sold.
The film influenced ladies’ fashion, with the bikini worn by Ursula Andress proving to be a huge hit: “not only sent sales of two-piece swimwear skyrocketing, it also made Andress an international celebrity”. Andress herself acknowledged that the “bikini made me into a success. As a result of starring in Dr. No as the first Bond girl I was given the freedom to take my pick of future roles and to become financially independent”. It has been claimed that the use of the swimwear in Dr. No led to “the biggest impact on the history of the bikini”.
Global James Bond Day
On 5 October 2012, fifty years after the release of the film, Eon Productions celebrated “Global James Bond Day”, a series of events around the world. Events included a film festival of showings of the James Bond films, a documentary of the series, an online auction for charity and further events at the Museum of Modern Art and the Toronto International Film Festival. A concert of various music was held in Los Angeles in conjunction with the New York event. The day also saw the release of “Skyfall“, the theme song of the 2012 James Bond film of the same name; the song was released at 0:07 BST.