Dr. No (1962)
UK / English
"NOW meet the most extraordinary gentleman spy in all fiction!...JAMES BOND, Agent 007! "James Bond's investigation of a missing colleague in Jamaica leads him to the island of the mysterious Dr. No and a scheme to end the US space program.
Smashing Debut of 007 in Innovative Adventure...
DR. NO, the first of the "James Bond" film series, was a dazzling
that would change the 'look' of action films, forever. While the film's
'plot' would become 'Standard Bond' (a maniac attempts to 'heat up' the
war by provoking America, in this instance, by crashing it's rockets), and
reappear in many incarnations over the years, the story behind the first
film is still fascinating.
From the completion of his first 007 novel, "Casino Royale", in 1952,
41-year old author Ian Fleming believed that movies and television would
the best 'forum' for James Bond. But deals usually fell through (one that
didn't, resulting in an American TV adaptation of "Casino Royale", in
was a flop), and failed screenplays would be rewritten into best-selling
short stories and novels, instead. Not surprisingly, the novels impressed
many film producers with their cinematic sweep and potential. Two of the
producers, American Albert (Cubby) Broccoli, and Canadian Harry Saltzman,
would become the key players in bringing DR. NO to the
Saltzman had managed to obtain an option to most of Fleming's work, but
move left him too financially strapped to produce them. Broccoli had
to produce the Bond novels, himself, but didn't own the rights. When
Saltzman refused to sell, but offered a partnership, instead, Eon
Productions was created, and United Artists, impressed by both men's
enthusiasm and vision, agreed to bankroll their proposed "Bond" series.
NO was chosen as the first to be filmed, and, after several directors
(including future Bond legend Guy Hamilton) passed on the project, Terence
Young, as smoothly elegant as 007, himself, signed.
Who would play James Bond? Fleming jokingly suggested 52-year old star
Niven (who would, in fact, later play Bond in the spoof, CASINO ROYALE).
Broccoli wanted Roger Moore, 34, but he was under contract for "The
Then, independently of each other, both Broccoli and Saltzman heard about
Scottish actor Sean Connery, 31. After viewing DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE
PEOPLE, Broccoli arranged an interview, was greatly impressed, and hired
Connery, assigning director Young to teach the 'rough-edged' actor some
style and sophistication. Connery was a quick learner, and soon was so
impressive that even Ian Fleming would call him perfect, and would, in
incorporate elements of Connery into the Bond of the novels.
New York actor Joseph Wiseman was chosen as Dr. No, after Noel Coward
refused the role ("Dr. No? No! No! No!"), and Fleming cousin, actor
Christopher Lee, was unavailable. Future "Hawaii 5-0" star Jack Lord, a
protégé of longtime Broccoli friend Gary Cooper, was cast as C.I.A. agent
Felix Leiter, and Swiss bombshell Ursula Andress became Honey Ryder,
first leading lady (her voice dubbed, because of her thick accent). With
Bond 'regulars' "M" (Bernard Lee) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) in
place, the Bond legend began.
A few bits of trivia: the 'gunbarrel' introduction, created by 'Opening
Credits' designer Maurice Binder, featured stunt 'double' Bob Simmons,
rather than Connery, as it was added after shooting was wrapped; Ken
futuristic sets would not only become Bond highlights, but would influence
'real' interior design styles for a generation; and the film's score was
London theatrical composer Monty Norman, with John Barry's participation
consisting of conducting the orchestra, and orchestrating Norman's "James
Bond Theme"...which Barry did so well that he would become THE Bond
for over twenty years!
DR. NO was a hit, particularly in Great Britain, and it received a HUGE
boost in the U.S. when it was discovered President Kennedy was a 007
(FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was chosen as the second film, in part, because it
was a favorite novel of JFK). While the film lacked
the 'overabundance' of gadgets and style elements of the later Bond
it was a remarkable debut!
And James Bond WOULD return...
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