Movie Club: Dr No

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    The next few weeks we're going to do a few Bond films, and I've taken the decision to do the first outing each of the three Bonds that most embody what one thinks of when one hears the name James Bond - that is to say, Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

    We're starting the run at the very beginning, with Sean Connery's debut, indeed the debut of the whole movie franchise, Dr No.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    The movie that introduced the world to one of the most-recognizable, most-quoted, most-spoofed and most-debonair spy of all! Despite being the first official Bond movie (not counting the 1967 David Niven starrer "Casino Royale"), "Dr.No" wasn't the first Bond movie that I saw. That would be "Live And Let Die" (which I hope we will discuss here as well) and a host of other Roger Moore Bond movies. I must have been around 7-8 years old when I saw them. So for me, Moore was James Bond. So I was quite surprised when a few years later I saw "Dr.No" and it had Connery instead of Moore. I distinctly remember asking my dad, "Where's the REAL James Bond?" :)

    Having initially being exposed to only Moore's Bond movies (and the fact that I was still a kid), I didn't enjoy "Dr.No" very much the first time I saw it mainly because it didn't have the cool gadgets that Moore's movies were famous for. But as I got older and watched "Dr.No" again a number of times, I started to appreciate how good a movie it is. I had read that the producer wasn't too keen on casting Connery, until his wife convinced him otherwise. He really owns the character and the movie. It becomes very clear from the start that this guy is supremely confident and knows his stuff. I just love the way he handles every adversity without panicking even a little bit. Whether it is the chauffeur at the beginning or being captured by Dr.No, nothing fazes him. He is as calm as ever, which I guess is a very important quality for a spy to have.

    And how can anyone forget Ursula Andress' entry? I surely can't. The first Bond girl and a pretty good one. She wasn't simply a damsel in distress and could handle herself pretty well. I wasn't too big a fan of this Felix Leiter. But Quarrel was an instantly likeable character. That's why it was saddening to see his demise. Though it was a bit silly for him to die the way he did, by a lumbering, slow-moving tank. The villain himself, like Bond was always as cool as a cucumber. I loved his more pragmatic thinking as well as his line "East. West. Just points of the compass. Each as stupid as the other". Sadly, Eunice Gayson, who played Sylvia Trench passed away last week.

    There are so many other memorable scenes:
    Bond's intro
    Bond's run in with the Tarantula
    The final fight in the villain's lair

    Unfortunately there is no title song in this one. No fancy car and no fancy gadgets from Q (Desmond Llewelyn). But Bond did use some pretty impressive old-school tactics, like sitcking a hair strand on the wardrobe, the talcum powder on the suitcase, using the hollow reeds to breathe underwater etc.

    All in all, a great first film in what would go on to become one of the most lucrative and popular franchises of all times.

    One a different note. When I first saw the X-Men movies, for some reason Patrick Stewart, the way he talked, his expressions and mannerisms reminded me a lot of Joseph Wiseman's Dr.No.
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I haven't seen this one in a few years. Just seen it again.

    It's the embodiment of everything you associate with Bond movies. Apart from the gadgets, which are absent here, unless you count the Geiger counter. And yes, it doesn't have "a song", but it introduced the famous "Bond Theme" - which serves as the title music here quite admirably.

    Sean Connery is excellent in the role. There's a reason he played the part six times (officially - or seven if you count "Never Say Never Again" which isn't a proper Bond film), and you only have to watch this film to see why. He inhabits the part beautifully. He has an intelligence in the part. He has the air of someone who knows every trick in the book and is prepared for the unexpected.

    Ursula Andress as Honey Rider is still one of the most memorable (and beautiful) Bond girls of all time. She can look after herself - except right at the end when she's taken away and chained up, but I guess that's fair enough. The one disappointing angle to her character is that she's not really that important to the plot. Memorable though her entrance is, it doesn't happen until all the wheels have been set in motion, and if you cut her character from the movie, it wouldn't really make much difference to it.

    Felix Leiter appeared in numerous Bond movies - usually played by a different actor each time. It's one of those little deliberate mistakes I think, it became a gimmick to recast him pretty much every time he appeared. As such it makes it tricky to say which ones he definitely did and didn't appear in. Interestingly, Jack Lord, who played him here, was Gene Roddenberry's first idea to play the Enterprise captain in Star Trek (at that point in Trek history, the planned name for the captain was Robert April, which became Christopher Pike in the first pilot and James T. Kirk after that) - and I can sort of see that working.

    Quarrel was indeed a likeable character - and, not really a spoiler, there's another Quarrel in Roger Moore's first outing, which we're watching next, Live And Let Die, I think he's the son of the original character.

    Dr No himself is a great villain - as they went on toe do with Blofeld, they kept his initial appearance mysterious, a voice off-screen, then in the shadows, not seeing his face until Bond was properly introduced to him. That's how to make villains scary, keep up the mystery right up until the hero comes face to face with them.

    What I particularly like about this film is the pace - they spend a lot of time on the setup, which you wouldn't get nowadays. These days you'd introduce the villain properly before the halfway point, and have various extended fights from that point on. But this film paces it to perfection, allowing us to wonder who's controlling events for longer. Action and suspense are two different things, and back then, directors used suspense much more effectively. Bond goes through a number of lesser and medium players in this game, before finally reaching the ultimate goal. And that's as it should be. It's also got a number of moments early on that are more to establish the nature of the character than serving any purpose in the plot, but these moments are not wasted - Bond's dalliance with the woman in the casino, then his attempt to sneak back his Beretta from M, and later on his precautions in case his room is searched - which turn out to be very revealing, when the talc is interfered with an the hair is missing.

    Definitely one of the better Bond films. It's a close run thing for me between this and its immediate successor, From Russia With Love, as to which is Connery's best.
    Mark M likes this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    This was my first time seeing this movie fully.
    I have never really been much of a James Bond fan but I did find this movie quite enjoyable.
    Having now watched the first movie in the series I can understand the appeal and charm of these movies and why they have built such a fanbase.
    The Bond character is very charismatic, smart and resourceful.
    I definitely do plan on watching a some more of these Bond movies.
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    We're going to do Roger Moore's debut next, Live And Let Die, and then the following week, Pierce Brosnan's, Goldeneye.

    Other good ones include For Your Eyes Only (which we did last year when Moore died), From Russia With Love (Connery's second), and The Spy Who Loved Me (Moore's third, the first appearance of Jaws). I also like both of Timothy Dalton's outings as Bond. I'm not sure about his performance (he's apparently the closest to the books), but his two films were good ones - sort of like Brosnan in reverse, Brosnan was excellent in the part, but most of his films were awful, with the exception of his first one. Out of Daniel Craig's movies, Skyfall is his best.

    Connery's Goldfinger is one I have mixed feelings about - it's one of the ones that embodies everything you think of when you think of Bond, but I can't forgive them for not including a brilliant line from the book (one of only two Bond books I've read):

    "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but the third time it's enemy action."

    I have adapted that line to a few different situations in my time!
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    To the best of my knowledge, before the Craig movies, the only time that Felix Leiter was played by the same actor in two different Bond movies was by David Hedison who played the character in "Live and Let Die" and "License to Kill". He also happens to be my favorite Leiter! :biggrin
    Yes, in LALD we have Quarrel Jr., "the man who shares Roger Moore's hairbrush". :laugh That's a line from LALD, and he's just as likeable as his father, but sadly doesn't have as much screen time as him.
    Absolutely! That's one the best things about Dr.NO, the character. How they build up the suspense until his eventual reveal. Just by the way Prof, Dent and everybody else fears Dr.No, automatically conjures up a scary image int he audience's minds.

    BTW, a little bit of trivia: The tarantula scene was done mostly with a stunt double. The little bit where we actually see Connery's face was done by putting glass pane between Connery and the spider and the spider walking on top of it (which is quite evident when you see the spider's cast shadow on Connery's chest and shoulders. Apparently Connery was too scared to do that scene and even the stuntman who did was petrified. Funny thing is, tarantula, despite their nightmarish appearance, aren't that dangerous. They normally don't bit but even when they do, their bite is similar to a bee sting and can cause discomfort but no one has ever died from it. :)
    LiamABC likes this.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I suspect Ian Fleming may be to blame for that inaccuracy then. We all know how the gold paint thing from Goldfinger isn't really fatal. He would have an idea to make the reader gasp and wouldn't let the facts get in the way of it.

    My favourite fact about Dr No though - this first Bond film was released on the same day as The Beatles' first ever single, Love Me Do. The Beatles and Bond share a birthday, the 5th of October 1962.
    Wilycub likes this.
  8. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Absolutely. I didn't know about the non-fatality of the tarantula or the gold paint until after the advent of the internet. Until that time, I believed it was true, so you're right, Fleming (and the filmmakers) did achieve in "fooling" us. ;) I remember I watched an episode of "Mythbusters" in which they debunked the gold paint being dangerous myth. The paint cannot suffocate a person (like in the movie) as we do not breathe through our skins. But it can potentially raise the body temperature somewhat, which if unchecked could be fatal. I do feel a bit sheepish for not being able to figure that out myself despite being a Biology major!
    Cool fact! I didn't know that. I'm familiar with some of the Beatles songs, but I never really got into them. I'm a much bigger fan of Cliff Richard and the Shadows. :) Just last week I watched "Summer Holiday" and "The Young Ones" again for the umpteenth time. Still as enjoyable as when I first watched them.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
    LiamABC likes this.
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    The gold paint thing is in the book of Goldfinger too - although it's not "seen", just reported to Bond when he meets the girl's sister.
  10. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    But you gotta admit, accurate or not, it really is an image that is unforgettable! :) I can't even recall how many times and in how many different media I have seen that image. I don't think that even the makers of the film though that it would end up becoming such an iconic visual.
    LiamABC likes this.
  11. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Absolutely - "Quantum Of Solace" paid homage to it by having the girl drowned in oil.
  12. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Yeah, and it was an interesting "update" as well, seeing as gold was the most precious thing back in the days of "Goldfinger" while now it's the "black gold" that everyone is killing for. It's unfortunate that such a great homage was wasted in such a terrible film.
    LiamABC likes this.
  13. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Yeah, apart from Skyfall, the last really good one was Goldeneye. Brosnan was wasted on the rest.
  14. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    And it also wasn't fair that they fired him. He did the best with whatever terrible script he had to work with. It's not his fault the movies were getting more and more caricaturish.
    LiamABC likes this.
  15. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Absolutely, Brosnan was very good in the part, but the producers were overdoing everything.
  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    A friend of mine is a big Bond fan and even he said Die Another Day was really silly and over the top.

Share This Page