Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some select reviews, varying in opinions, of Dr. No…
‘Dr. No’ -by freemo
Fifth place in my “all-Connery Top Six” goes to Dr. No. This film seems to have alot more bite to it than future films would. It’s slick and sharp with lots of danger and sex and dark humour, everything a Bond film should have. I think I read somewhere that at the time the Catholic Church described the film as “satanic”. Damn, these were the days.
While still refinded and sophicated and all that, Bond is also rougher and tougher at times. The film also benefits from sticking closer to the book, even lifting dialouge from it. Top stuff.
‘Dr. No’ -by Genrewriter
Like the other films in my bottom ten, this ranking is quite subjective as the film is excellent in pretty much every way imaginable. A great Bond Girl and villain along with some great iconic 007 moments make for a splendid introduction to the character. The only drawbacks for me are one or two lines of dialogue and the pacing seems to be a bit off towards the end.
‘Dr. No’ -by hrabb04
The first, the one that started it all, the one that introduced Ursula Undress to a lot of red blooded males. Dr. No is the weaker of the Terence Young Bonds. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just a bit rough around some of the edges considering it’s the first one in the series.
Sean Connery, as good as he is as Bond, doesn’t quite hit 100% in the role. He seems a bit unsure in some areas, but it’s not a distraction. The acting here is a long step away from the self-assuredness of his next Bonds. Ahhhh, Ursula. She isn’t called upon to do much, and that is fine. It’s the role, that’s how it was written. It doesn’t call for Meryl Streep. We want eye candy, and boy, oh, boy, do we get it! She’s a hottie! And when Bond gets to play tonsil hockey with her in that boat, a lot of us guys were sitting there watching very enviously, wishing we could get Ursula…even in the back of a Studabaker would be fine!
Joseph Wiseman plays Dr. No like a robot, making him very inhuman, with his cold voice and metal hands. It could be the precursor to Ralph Nader–I mean, Darth Vader–with his mechanical villainy. Jack Lord is perfect as Felix Leiter, one of the few times EON has gotten the part right. Guy Hamilton sure as hell didn’t know how to cast the part! Jack Lord is tough as nails and straight to the point, the JFK CIA era man!
John Barry is a God among film composers. He saved the James Bond Theme. Monty Norman’s score here sounds like a piece from a 1930s serial. If you like that sort of thing, fine, but when you have Bond, it calls for something more. Norman is one of the luckiest men in the world. He’s a mediocre composer who will always be credited with one of the best, most recognizable themes around.
For what it’s worth, I always get a lump in my throat at the beginning of Dr. No when the beeps start up. Why, you ask? Because this is when things started. Yes, I know, it all really started about 10 years prior, but this is when things really took off.
Terence Young is proof that they don’t make them like they used to. He was James Bond, basically, and he infused everything in his Bond films with everything it needed. Bond was the guy Fleming created, but with more oomph. All in all, a damned good Bond film.
‘Dr. No’ -by Moonraker
It is a memorable film, but it is very dated compared to today. Dr. No, Bond, and Honey Ryder are excellent, but the movie is not interesting at some points and the music isn’t that spectacular (except the Bond Theme of course). My biggest complaint is Dr. No’s screen time, not enough time to delve into his character. Honey Ryder was excellent, beautiful and interesting too. Of cource it’s dated but then you half to think of the 1 million dollar budget or so. Its a good film, nothing really horrible about it, set the series off on high note, but some films had better quality.
‘Dr. No’ -by Qwerty
Dr. No is an all around good James Bond, it really doesn’t have any large problems with it. It’s just never become the Bond film that I truly love, or something of that nature. Sean Connery is excellent in the role. He plays the role terrifically, and the rest is history.
Joseph Wiseman and Ursula Andress are standouts in their respected categories, and both have some very good scenes in the film. If I have a minor quibble, it’s the music of the film, but Barry quickly showed in the following films, how some great 007 music sounds.
‘Dr. No’ -by Turn
Another film I can only imagine the reaction to in retrospect. Here comes a new hero into a world dominated by cowboy, private eye and war hero types. Only Bond was an early sort of anti-hero, which would be a popular ’60s variation on the traditional John Wayne type of good guy.
How anybody can tell me anything in the Brosnan films is gritty after seeing Dr. No will never fly with me. The violence is unsettling and done in a way that had to be radical for its time. From the stark execution of Strangways and is secretary to the photographer scraping her bulb across Quarrel’s face to Bond eliminating the guard in the swamp to No’s guard’s “softening” Bond up, this is hard stuff. But it also counterbalance’s Bond’s brutality and his need for a license to kill.
I really like the way Dr. No is handled. For the first 2/3rds of the film, he is just a voice and his name seems to strike fear in everybody. And when we meet him it pays off, unlike Blofeld in YOLT 5 years later. When was the last time a villain did that in a Bond film? The dialogue at the dinner table between No and Bond is classic.
Andress is simply stunning. Her entrance along with Bond’s intro are two of the best in cinema history in one film. Jack Lord is a fitting Felix and Quarrel is a decent secondary character. While this was hardly the definitive Bond showcase, it’s a good start as Connery shows early evidence of why he will always be the definitive Bond — tough, sexually agressive and clever.
The film feels strange in relation to the rest of the series. I can’t imagine how a newbie would react to it after seeing the hyper energy of the later films. It often feels much more like a hard-boiled detective story than a spy story. There are several interesting scenes where Bond is alone — drinking, laying bait, investigating — you don’t see anymore. The scene after he kills the spider is especially weird to see these days. But there are several images I have remembered for years that I remember as a kid, like the climb through the tunnel and the dragon tanks, etc. The score (aside from the Bond theme) doesn’t help, but I’ll be if Underneath the Mango Tree doesn’t stay stuck in my head after I hear it here.
Not the best or most definitive Bond film, but one I find more interesting as the years go by.