Dr. No is a 1962 British
spy film, starring Sean Connery; it is the first James Bond film.
Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, it was
adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and
was directed by Terence Young. The film was produced by Harry
Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, a partnership that would continue
Strangways, the British Intelligence (SIS) Station Chief in Jamaica,
is killed. In response, British Secret Agent 007 - James Bond is sent
to Jamaica to investigate the circumstances. During his investigation
Bond meets Quarrel, a Cayman fisherman, who had been working with
Strangways around the nearby islands to collect mineral samples. One
of the islands was Crab Key, home to the reclusive Dr. No. Bond
visits the island, where he meets a local shell diver, Honey Ryder.
The three are attacked by No's men, who kill Quarrel using a flame-throwing
armoured tractor; Bond and Honey are taken prisoner. Dr. No informs
them he is a member of SPECTRE, the SPecial Executive for
Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, and he plans
to disrupt the Project Mercury space launch from Cape Canaveral with
his atomic-powered radio beam.
Although the first of the
Bond books to be made into a film, Dr. No was not the first of
Fleming's novels, Casino Royale being the debut for the character;
however, the film makes a few references to threads from earlier books.
Dr. No was produced with a
low budget, and was a financial success. While critical reaction at
release was mixed, over time the film received a reputation as one of
the series' best instalments. The film was the first of a successful
series Bond films. Dr. No also launched a genre of "secret
agent" films that flourished in the 1960s. The film also spawned
a spin-off comic book and soundtrack album as part of its promotion
and marketing. Many of the iconic aspects of a typical James Bond
film were established in Dr. No: the film begins with an introduction
to the character through the view of a gun barrel and a highly
stylised main title sequence, both created by Maurice Binder.
Production designer Ken Adam established an elaborate visual style
that is one of the hallmarks of the Bond film series.
Harry Saltzman gained the rights for the James Bond book, he
initially did not go through with the project. Instead, Albert R.
'Cubby' Broccoli wanted the rights to the Bond books and attempted to
buy them from Saltzman. Saltzman did not want to sell the rights to
Broccoli and instead they formed a partnership to make the James Bond
films. A number of Hollywood film studios did not want to fund the
films, finding them "too British" or "too blatantly
sexual". Eventually the two received authorisation from United
Artists to produce Dr. No, to be released in 1962. Saltzman and
Broccoli created two companies: Danjaq, which was to hold the rights
to the films, and Eon Productions, which was to produce them. The
partnership between Broccoli and Saltzman lasted until 1975, when
tensions during the filming of The Man with the Golden Gun led to an
acrimonious split and Saltzman sold his shares of Danjaq to United Artists.
Initially Broccoli and
Saltzman had wanted to produce Thunderball as the first film, but
there was an ongoing legal dispute between the screenplay's
co-author, Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming. As a result Broccoli and
Saltzman chose Dr. No: the timing was apposite, with claims that
American rocket testing at Cape Canaveral had problems with rockets
The producers offered Dr.
No to Guy Green, Guy Hamilton, Val Guest and Ken Hughes to direct,
but all of them turned it down. They finally signed Terence Young who
had a long background with Broccoli's Warwick Films as the director.
Broccoli and Saltzman felt that Young would be able make a real
impression of James Bond and transfer the essence of the character
from book to film. Young imposed many stylistic choices for the
character which continued throughout the film series. Young also
decided to inject some humour, as he considered that, "A lot of
things in this film, the sex and violence and so on, if played
straight, a) would be objectionable, and b) we're never gonna go past
along the censors; but the moment you take the mickey out, put the
tongue out in the cheek, it seems to disarm."
producers asked United Artists for financing, but the studio would
only put up $1 million. Later, the UK arm of United Artists provided
an extra $100,000 to create the climax where Dr. No's base explodes.
As a result of the low budget, only one sound editor was hired
(normally there are two, for sound effects and dialogue), and many
pieces of scenery were made in cheaper ways, with M's office
featuring cardboard paintings and a door covered in a leather-like
plastic, the room where Dent meets Dr. No costing only £745 to
build, and the aquarium in Dr. No's base being magnified stock
footage of goldfish. Furthermore, when art director Syd Cain found
out his name was not in the credits, Broccoli gave him a golden pen
to compensate, saying that he did not want to spend money making the
Broccoli had originally
hired Richard Maibaum and his friend Wolf Mankowitz (who would turn
up as a collaborator on the Casino Royale farce some years later) to
write Dr. No's screenplay, partly because of Mankowitz's help in
brokering the deal between Broccoli and Saltzman. They turned in a
script in which the villain's name was Buckfield, and Dr. No was the
name of the spider monkey who sat on his shoulder. Broccoli was
infuriated by the fact that they had used very little of the source
novel. Mankowitz left the movie, and Maibaum then undertook a second
version, more closely in line with the novel. Mankowitz eventually
had his name removed from the credits after viewing early rushes, as
he feared it would be a disaster. Having already drafted a screenplay
for Thunderball, it seemed to Maibaum a natural thing to introduce
SPECTRE (the SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism,
Revenge and Extortion) as the force behind Dr. No. Johanna Harwood, a
screenwriter of several of Harry Saltzman's projects and thriller
writer Berkely Mather then worked on Maibaum's script. Terence Young
described Harwood as a script doctor who helped put elements more in
tune with a British character and said he and Johanna Harwood
virtually rewrote the script on the fly during filming. Harwood
stated both her screenplays for Dr. No and her screenplay for From
Russia with Love had followed Fleming's novels closely.
During the series'
fifty-year history only a few of the films have remained
substantially true to their source material; Dr. No has many
similarities to the novel and follows its basic plot, but there are a
few notable omissions. Major elements from the novel that are missing
from the film include Bond's fight with a giant squid, and the escape
from Dr. No's complex using the dragon-disguised swamp buggy.
Elements of the novel that were significantly changed for the film
include the use of a (non-venomous) tarantula spider instead of a
centipede; Dr. No's secret complex being disguised as a bauxite mine
instead of a guano quarry; Dr. No's plot to disrupt NASA space
launches from Cape Canaveral using a radio beam instead of disrupting
US missile testing on Turk's Island; the method of Dr. No's death by
drowning in reactor coolant rather than a burial under a chute of
guano, and the introduction of SPECTRE, an organisation absent from
the book. Components absent from the novel but added to the film
include the introduction of the Bond character in a gambling casino,
the introduction of Bond's semi-regular girlfriend Sylvia Trench, a
fight scene with an enemy chauffeur, a fight scene to introduce
Quarrel, the seduction of Miss Taro, Bond's recurring CIA ally Felix
Leiter (though he had appeared in previous novels), Dr. No's partner
in crime Professor Dent and Bond's controversial cold-blooded killing
of this character.
Sometimes episodes in the
novel retained in the film's altered narrative introduce elements of
absurdity into the plot. Bond's "escape" from his cell via
the air shaft, for instance, originally conceived as a ruse of Dr.
No's to test Bond's skill and endurance, becomes an authentic
break-out in the film. Features carried over from the novel's
obstacle course, however, such as the torrent of water and scalding
surface, have no logical justification in the script. Such
incongruities would recur in subsequent Bond films.
producers Broccoli and Saltzman originally sought Cary Grant
(pictured left as Bond thanks to Photoshop) 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 and at 58 Grant would have been too old for the part
anyway. 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 satire Casino Royale.
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 October 4th 1962, only one day before the premiere of
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".
the first Bond girl Honey Ryder, Julie Christie was considered, but
discarded as the producers felt she was not voluptuous enough. Just
two weeks before filming began, Ursula Andress (right) was chosen to
play Honey after the producers saw a picture of her taken by Andress'
then-husband John Derek. To appear more convincing as a Jamaican,
Andress had a tan painted on her and ultimately had her voice dubbed
over due to her heavy Swiss German accent.
The role as the first Felix
Leiter was given to Jack Lord. This is Bond and Leiter's first time
meeting each other on film but Leiter does not appear in the novel.
Leiter returns for many of Bond's future adventures and in the 2006
reboot of the film series, Casino Royale, Leiter and Bond are seen
meeting one another again for the first time. This was Lord's only
appearance as Leiter, as he asked for more money and a better billing
to return as Leiter in Goldfinger and was subsequently replaced.
The cast also included a
number of actors who were to become stalwarts of the future films,
including Bernard Lee, who played Bond's superior M for another ten
films, and Lois Maxwell, who played M's secretary Moneypenny in
fourteen instalments of the series. Lee was chosen because of being a
"prototypical father figure", and Maxwell after Fleming
thought she was the perfect fit for his description of the character.
Maxwell was initially offered a choice between the roles of
Moneypenny or Sylvia Trench and opted for Moneypenny as she thought
the Trench role, which included appearing in immodest dress, was too
sexual. Eunice Gayson was cast as Sylvia Trench and it was planned
that she would be a recurring girlfriend for Bond throughout six
films, although she appeared only in Dr. No and From Russia with
Love. One role which was not given to a future regular was that of
Major Boothroyd, the head of Q-Branch, which was given
to Peter Burton. Burton was unavailable for the subsequent film,
From Russia with Love, and the role was taken by Desmond Llewelyn.
Anthony Dawson, who played Professor Dent, met director Terence Young
when he was working as a stage actor in London, but by the time of
the film's shooting Dawson was working as a pilot and crop duster in
Jamaica. Dawson also portrayed Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE,
in From Russia with Love and Thunderball, although his face was never
seen and his voice was dubbed by Eric Pohlmann. Zena Marshall, who
played Miss Taro, was mostly attracted by the humorous elements of
the script, and described her role as "this attractive little
siren, and at the same time I was the spy, a bad woman", who
Young asked to play "not as Chinese, but a Mid-Atlantic woman
who men dream about but is not real". The role of Taro was
previously rejected by Marguerite LeWars, the Miss Jamaica 1961 who
worked at the Kingston airport, as it required being "wrapped in
a towel, lying in a bed, kissing a strange man". LeWars appeared
as a photographer hired by Dr. No instead.
For Bond's antagonist Dr.
Julius No, Ian Fleming wanted his friend Noël Coward, and he
answered the invitation with "No! No! No!" Harry Saltzman
picked Joseph Wiseman (left) because of his performance in the 1951
film Detective Story, and the actor had special make-up applied to
evoke No's Chinese heritage.
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, but the producers
were convinced to give him an extra £6,000 out of their own
finances. After 58 days of filming, principal photography wrapped on
30 March 1962.
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 in order 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.
The character James Bond
was introduced towards, but not at, the beginning of the film in a
famous nightclub sequence featuring Sylvia Trench. The introduction
to 007 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. He pauses to light his cigarette before giving her the
satisfaction of an answer. 'Bond, James Bond'." Once Connery
says his line, Monty Norman's Bond theme plays creating an indelible
link between music and character and a classic piece of cinima is
born. Following the release of Dr. No, the quote "Bond ... James
Bond", became a catch phrase that entered the lexicon of Western
popular culture becoming one of the most famous and loved film lines ever.
Norman (pictured left in 2005) was invited to write the soundtrack
because Broccoli liked his work on the 1961 theatre production Belle,
a musical about murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen. Norman was busy with
musicals, and only accepted to do the music for Dr. No after Saltzman
allowed him to travel along with the crew to Jamaica. The most famous
composition in the soundtrack is the "James Bond Theme",
which is heard in the gunbarrel sequence and in a calypso medley over
the title credits, and was written by Norman based on a previous
composition of his. John Barry, who would later go on to compose the
music for eleven Bond films, arranged the Bond theme, but was
uncredited, except for the credit of his orchestra playing the final
piece. It has occasionally been suggested that Barry, not Norman,
composed the "James Bond Theme". This argument has been the
subject of two court cases, the most recent in 2001, which found in
favour of Norman. The theme, as written by Norman and arranged by
Barry, was described by another Bond film composer, David Arnold, as
"bebop-swing vibe coupled with that vicious, dark, distorted
electric guitar, definitely an instrument of rock 'n' roll ... it
represented everything about the character you would want: It was
cocky, swaggering, confident, dark, dangerous, suggestive, sexy,
unstoppable. And he did it in two minutes."
The music for the opening
scene is a calypso version of the nursery rhyme "Three Blind
Mice", with new lyrics to reflect the intentions of the three
assassins hired by Dr. No. Other notable songs in the film are the
song "Jump Up", played in the background, and the
traditional Jamaican calypso "Under the Mango Tree",
famously sung by Diana Coupland (then Norman's wife), the singing
voice of Honey Ryder, as she walked out of the ocean on Crab Key.
Byron Lee & the Dragonaires appeared in the film and performed
some of the music on the later soundtrack album. Lee and other
Jamaican musicians who appear in soundtrack, including Ernest Ranglin
and Carlos Malcolm, were introduced to Norman by Chris Blackwell, the
owner of then-small label Island Records who worked in the film as a
location scout. The original soundtrack album was released by United
Artists Records in 1963 as well as several cover versions of "The
James Bond Theme" on Columbia Records. A single of the
"James Bond Theme" entered the UK Singles Chart in 1962,
reaching a peak position of number thirteen during an eleven-week
spell in the charts. Ranglin, who had acted as arranger on several
tracks, and Malcolm sued Eon for unpaid fees, both settling out of
court; Malcolm and his band performed a year later at the film's
premiere in Kingston.
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).
As soon as late 1961,
United Artists started a marketing campaign to make James Bond a well-known
name in North America. Newspapers received a box set of Bond's
books, as well as a booklet detailing the Bond character and a
picture of Ursula Andress. Eon and United Artists made licensing
deals revolving around the character's tastes, having merchandising
tie-ins with drink, tobacco, men's clothing and car companies. The
campaign also focused on Ian Fleming's name due to the minor success
of the books. After Dr. No had a successful run in Europe, Sean
Connery and Terence Young did a cross-country tour in March 1963,
which featured screening previews for the film and press conferences.
It culminated in a well-publicised premiere in Kingston, where most
of the film is set. Some of the campaign emphasised the sex appeal of
the film, with the poster artwork, by Mitchell Hooks, depicting Sean
Connery and four scantily clad women. The campaign also included the
007 logo designed by Joseph Caroff with a pistol as part of the seven.
Dr. No had its worldwide
premiere at the London Pavilion, on 5 October 1962, expanding to the
rest of the United Kingdom three days later. The North American
premiere on 8 May 1963 was more low-profile, with 450 cinemas in
Midwest and Southwest regions. On 29 May it opened in both Los
Angeles and New York City in the former as a double-bill with
The Young and the Brave and the latter in United Artists'
"Premiere Showcase" treatment, screening in 84 screens
across the city to avoid the costly Broadway cinemas.
CLUB FEATURETTE DEPARTMENT
Dr. No Trailer - Directed
by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery, Joseph Wiseman, Jack
Lord, Bernard Lee, Anthony Dawson. The mysterious scientist Dr. No
sabotages the American space program from his secret base in Jamaica.
The Secret Service sends its best agent after this him. "Dr.
No" is the first film of the legendary James Bond series to star
Sean Connery. Buy
Dr. No here.
release, Dr. No received a mixed critical reception. Time called
Bond a "blithering bounder" and "a great big hairy
marshmallow" who "almost always manages to seem slightly
silly". Stanley Kauffmann in The New Republic said that he felt
the film "never decides whether it is suspense or
suspense-spoof." He also did not like Connery, or the Fleming
novels. The Vatican condemned Dr. No because of Bond's cruelty and
the sexual content, whilst the Kremlin said that Bond was the
personification of capitalist evil both controversies helped
increase public awareness of the film and greater cinema attendance.
However Leonard Mosely in The Daily Express said that "Dr No is
fun all the way, and even the sex is harmless", whilst Penelope
Gilliatt in The Observer said it was "full of submerged
self-parody". The Guardian's critic called Dr. No "crisp
and well-tailored" and "a neat and gripping thriller."
In the years that followed
its release it became more popular. Writing in 1986, Danny Peary
described Dr. No as a "cleverly conceived adaption of Ian
Fleming's enjoyable spy thriller. (The) picture has sex, violence,
wit, terrific action sequences, and colorful atmosphere. Connery,
Andress and Wiseman all give memorable performances. There's a slow
stretch in the middle and Dr. No could use a decent henchman, but
otherwise the film works marvelously." Describing Dr. No as
"a different type of film", Peary notes that "Looking
back, one can understand why it caused so much excitement."
In the United Kingdom Dr.
No wound up being the fifth most popular movie of 1962. The box
office results in mainland Europe America were also positive making
it a financial success. President John F. Kennedy
was a fan of Ian Fleming's novels and requested a private showing of
Dr. No in the White House. 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
The 2005 American Film
Institute's '100 Years' series also recognised the character of James
Bond himself in the film as the third greatest film hero. He was also
placed at number eleven on a similar list by Empire. Premiere also
listed Bond as the fifth greatest movie character of all time.
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. Fleming himself was involved with the
U.N.C.L.E. pilot, then called SOLO. Due to contractual problems with
the producers of the James Bond movies, Fleming withdrew from the
project before it became a series.
As the first film in the
Bond 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 Bond 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 Hawtry) and Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor).
A further legacy saw the
sales of Fleming's books rise sharply after the release of Dr. No and
the subsequent Bond 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. Between the years 1962 to 1967, a total of nearly 22.8
million Bond novels were sold. The film had an impact on ladies'
fashion, with the bikini worn by Ursula Andress proving to be a huge
hit, seding sales of two-piece swimwear skyrocketing, and making
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". The
bikini was sold in 2001 at an auction for $61,500.
CLUB SLIDESHOW DEPARTMENT