johnlink ranks DR. NO (1962)

I like to think of myself as a moderate Bond fan, but have admittedly only seen roughly half of the Bond flicks. DR. NO, the first in the series (not counting the Peter Sellers comedy), is one that I have seen. But I wanted to check it out again. GOLDFINGER is one I have vivid memories of, but DR. NO is a feature which time has eroded.

I watched DR. NO (1962) on 10.24.11. It was my second viewing of the film, and my first in almost a decade.

There is no questioning that Connery is the ultimate Bond, so we can get that out of the way right now. I was not a fan of how silly the Brosnan Bond’s got, and I’ve been happy to see the return to form with the Craig Bond flicks.

DR. NO has the advantage of creating the cliches which later would get mauled by 20 something repeat uses. The Moneypenny flirtations, the music, the drinking, the womanizing, the strange villain, etc. DR. NO does not have the gadgetry which later invaded the series, and the film is better for it.

Yes the fight scenes (and one car chase scene) are extremely dated and docile by the slam-bang choreography standards set today. There is a quaintness to it all. The danger feels more real in some scenes than others, and it is interesting that the biggest scare we ever see Bond have comes from a spider.

Much of this film is highest quality. The early shots of the Professor in Dr. No’s lair are amazingly realized. The single chair, the shadowing from the overhead grate, the disembodied voice of the doctor all work together to create that sinister feel. It really sets a perfect feel.

The spider scene is great. A scene with a photographer is quality. Everything on the island really does work in the world of this film. Once Ursula Andress finally shows up she is absolute perfection as the female foil for Bond’s masculinity. Their first moments together constitute an all time classic exchange, and it just doesn’t let up.

Yes, the dragon is silly and it makes some major characters appear very stupid for believing in its authenticity. That was a concept perhaps better left for the imagination of a novel. Also, the 50s sci-fi feel of Dr. No’s situation room (parodied heavily with DR. EVIL’s lair in the AUSTIN POWERS films), feels extremely dated and silly.

But, truly, this is a remarkably fun film which stands up surprisingly well. Connery grounds it in a way which makes you unable to take your eyes off of it. I remember liking GOLDFINGER better from when I first watched it several years ago. But having viewed DR. NO again, I have to say that I really enjoy this movie.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1

The bonus is for the remarkable score by Monty Norman and an uncredited John Barry. The theme, which has become one of the most recognizable pieces in film history, really is note perfect. I love the 60s style of orchestrating the action, an example being the strikes from the pit matching Bond killing the spider with repeated show strikes. High quality.

6+8+6+6+1=27

FINAL SCORE: 6.75

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~ by johnlink00 on October 25, 2011.

One Response to “johnlink ranks DR. NO (1962)”

  1. […] my second Connery/Bond flick in the past couple of weeks, the first being DR. NO. In that review, I mentioned that I really remember liking GOLDFINGER, but that DR. NO may have been even better. […]

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