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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Dr. No (1962)



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History was made when producers Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman teamed up with director Terence Young and made Ian Fleming's literary hero one of the longest lasting screen heroes of all time: James Bond, agent 007. The first entry in the series has some rough edges and is missing many series trademarks introduced in the next couple films. But this is a strong film, concentrated on story and character rather than gadgets and campy humor, as many future entries did. Bond is at his most rugged and ruthless. Ursula Andress, the first so-called "Bond girl," set the standard, and Joseph Wiseman's title character is sophisticated and ruthless, as Bond villains should be. Dr. No also featured one of the best Felix Leiters, who was seldom played by the same actor more than once. Eunice Gayson makes the first of two appearances as Sylvia Trench, Bond's love interest on the home front, and Martine Beswick, who would go on to co-star in two later Bond films, can be seen dancing during the credits. Peter Burton makes his only appearance as 'Q', referred to as Major Boothroyd in the film, 'Q's real name. (Desmond Llewelyn would later make the character famous.) Of course, James Bond himself was played by Sean Connery, much to Ian Fleming's initial dismay, who wanted, ironically enough, Roger Moore or David Niven, both of whom would eventually play Bond in some form. Connery wasn't at all like Fleming had envisioned, but he proved so wonderful in the role that Fleming later reversed his opinion, going so far as to incorporate elements Connery brought to the role in subsequent novels, including a Scottish heritage. The film version of Dr. No was unlike anything that had ever been released up to that time; the early Bond films are frequently cited to be the immediate precursors to the modern action/adventure film. The rage was just beginning.

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