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Dr. No

From Academic Kids

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2002 reissue of the original novel.

Dr. No is the sixth James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, originally published in 1958. The novel was adapted as the first official James Bond film in 1962. The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman with Sean Connery playing the role of British Secret Service agent, Commander James Bond, for the first time. It led to a popular and long-running series of Bond films made by Broccoli and Saltzman's EON Productions.

Contents

The novel

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1962 film tie-in edition by Pan Books.

The novel marks the first time a number of James Bond signature elements are used. For instance, even though this is the sixth Bond novel, it's the first to use the line "Bond. James Bond." It's the first novel in which Bond uses his signature Walther PPK handgun and also the first time we read about Major Boothroyd (a.k.a. Q, the armorer), although Bond's first gadget was in the previous novel, From Russia With Love.

The plot of the novel and the film are very similar, only differing when elements from the previous novels are referenced, primarily From Russia With Love and Live and Let Die.

Plot summary

From Russia With Love ended in a cliffhanger with the status of James Bond unknown. Bond was poisoned by SMERSH agent Rosa Klebb and collapsed at the end of the novel. In Dr. No M learns from MI6's neurologist that the poison was tetrodotoxin found in the Japanese fish fugu. Tetrodotoxin paralyzes the muscles of the victim while they stay fully conscious until eventually they die from asphyxiation. Bond is saved by a doctor who had spent time in Africa and had dealt with various poisons. He diagnoses curare poisoning and treats Bond accordingly. Even to date, there is no current antidote and the chances of survival are very slim.

Nonetheless, Bond survives. When he returns to duty, he is sent by M on a "rest cure" to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of Strangways, the head of station in Kingston, who had previously appeared in Live and Let Die. He learns that Strangways had been investigating the activities of Dr. Julius No, a Chinese-American who lives on a island called "Crab Key" that is said to be the home of a vicious dragon.

With help of the returning character, Quarrel (previously in Live and Let Die), as well as the beautiful Honeychile Rider, who visits the island to collect valuable shells, Bond discovers that Dr. No, who ostensibly operates a business harvesting and exporting guano, is in fact working with the Russians. They have supplied him with several million dollars worth of equipment to sabotage nearby American missile tests. Bond and Honey are captured by Dr. No, but Quarrel is burned to death. Doctor No's specialty is torture and he tortures Bond to discovers his powers of endurance. But Bond survives, rescues Honey and kills Doctor No.

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Comic strip adaptation

Fleming's novel was adapted as a daily comic strip published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated worldwide. The adaptation ran from May 23 to October 1, 1960. The adaptation was written by Peter O'Donnell (later the creator of Modesty Blaise) and illustrated by John McLusky. The James Bond 007 Fan Club published a reprint of the strip in 1981; a new reprint by Titan Books is scheduled for publication in 2005.

The film

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Plot summary

This film introduced the recurring themes associated with the suave, witty secret agent: The code number "007" ("double-oh-seven"; the double-oh prefix is his licence to kill), the distinctive theme, the gunbarrel opening credits sequence, the "Bond girl" (here, Ursula Andress), exotic locales, the criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E., narrow escapes, Bond's astonishing good luck and skill (including at gambling), an over-ambitious villain (here, Dr. Julius No disrupting U.S. missile launchings), quirky, villainous henchmen, oddly-named characters (here, "M", "Honey Ryder", "Miss Moneypenny", and of course "Dr. No", himself), and the first meeting with Felix Leiter of C.I.A.

In fact, many characteristics of James Bond were introduced in this film (or brought in from the books), ranging from Bond's idiosyncratic introduction (as "Bond. James Bond."), to his taste for fine wine, women, and weaponry.

This film established the tradition of venturing from Fleming's original novels to include topical references of the day. During the film series' forty year history, only a couple of films would remain true to their source materials; Dr. No has many similarities to the novel, but almost as many differences.

The movie starts in Jamaica, where British agent Commander John Strangways and his secretary mysteriously disappear; though nobody knows it yet, they have been killed. James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearances and determine whether they are related to recent disruptions of American missile launchings.

Soon after leaving the airport in Kingston, Bond a taxi driver greets him, saying he's been sent to drive him to government house. In reality, the man is an enemy agent who commits suicide after he is found out, rather than risk the wrath of his boss. Bond learns that Dr. Dent was Strangways' last contact before his disappearance. Unknown to Bond, Dent is an agent of Dr. Julius No, and is ordered to kill Bond. He is unsuccessful and, after a brief interrogation in which Bond learns Strangways is dead, Bond executes Dent. During the mission, Bond meets CIA agents Felix Leiter and Quarrel. Following evidence in the form of radioactive rock samples, Bond and Quarrel go to Dr. No's island, Crab Key, meet Honey Ryder, and discovers the Doctor's plot, which is, as suspected, to sabotage an American missile launch. Bond overloads Dr. No's reactor, kills the villain and escapes with Honey.

This is the first Bond film to mention the criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E., though its role in this film is minor. Dr. Julius No, the film's villain, is also a member of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.; it would later be a more formidable foe in From Russia With Love through You Only Live Twice. The head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. would continue to be Bond's nemesis until Diamonds Are Forever, and again (briefly) in For Your Eyes Only.

Cast & Characters

Originally the producers wanted Cary Grant to play the role of James Bond, but after he said he would only do one film, Ian Fleming requested Roger Moore to play the role; however the role went to Sean Connery because Roger Moore was committed to The Saint. Ian Fleming also requested that his cousin Christopher Lee play the role of Dr. No, but that too fell through. Later Christopher Lee would play the villain, Francisco Scaramanga, in The Man with the Golden Gun. According to sources, he was also considered for Bond. Other actors considered for the role included Patrick McGoohan, James Mason and David Niven (who would later play an unofficial version of the character in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale).

Crew

Soundtrack

Related article: James Bond music

The original James Bond theme was composed by Monty Norman, who also did the soundtrack for Dr. No. John Barry, who would later go on to compose the soundtrack for eleven Bond films, helped with the Dr. No soundtrack but was uncredited. It has occasionally been suggested that Barry, not Norman, composed The James Bond Theme, but in fact Norman based the music upon a song he wrote for a stage musical several years previously.

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Original Dr. No soundtrack cover

Track listing

  1. James Bond Theme
  2. Kingston Calypso
  3. Jamaican Rock
  4. Jump Up
  5. Audio Bongo
  6. Under The Mango Tree
  7. Twisting With James
  8. Jamaica Jazz
  9. Under The Mango Tree
  10. Jump Up
  11. Dr. No's Fantasy
  12. Kingston Calypso
  13. The Island Speaks
  14. Under The Mango Tree
  15. The Boy's Chase
  16. Dr. No's Theme
  17. The James Bond Theme
  18. Love At Last

Vehicles & gadgets

  • Walther PPK - Technically the only so-called gadget in the entire film is when M and Major Boothroyd (Q) force Bond to trade in his Beretta for the new standard issue, the Walther PPK. Bond has since used a Walther PPK in every movie up to Tomorrow Never Dies, in which he takes a Walther P99 from a Chinese safehouse.
  • Sunbeam Alpine Series 5 - James drives a Sunbeam Alpine during a brief and relatively tame chase scene. No gadgets were included on the car.

Locations

Film Locations

Shooting Locations

Trivia

  • A number of amusing stories exist about how the title was supposedly translated in various languages (as, for instance, "We Don't Want a Doctor"). Many of these stories are untrue.
  • The film received titles with the phrase 'licence to kill' in them in Italy and Sweden, which caused a minor problem during translations of the title of the sixteenth film.
  • The actor in the famous gunbarrel opening is not Connery, but stuntman Bob Simmons. Connery wouldn't film the sequence himself until the fourth official Bond film, Thunderball.
  • Thunderball was originally chosen to be the first Bond movie, but due to a legal battle with its co-author, Kevin McClory, EON Productions, chose to film Dr. No instead.
  • The infamous scene in which Bond murders Dr. Dent is not in the original novel, and fans of Ian Fleming's novels protested, saying even the literary version of Bond was never so cold-hearted. The director defended his decision, saying such a scene was necessary to impress upon viewers the significance of Bond's licence to kill, since it was the first time such a character had been portrayed (outside wartime) in a major motion picture. Nonetheless, Bond would rarely act this same way again, though he would act in similar fashion in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill, and Tomorrow Never Dies. According to several Bond film histories, as originally filmed, Bond fires all six bullets from his gun into Dent's body (hence the significance of his famous line "You've had your six.") but this was deemed gratuitous and was edited down to two shots. Most commercial TV prints of the film shown in America and Canada have, until recently, shown Bond firing only once.
  • During the scene where M replaces Bond's beretta with the Walther PPK, M claims that he is head of MI7. The scene is actually dubbed since it is clear that M says MI6 (and a trailer included on the special edition DVD release has him saying this). Prior to this scene, however, there's another scene in the film where a radio operator talks about contacting MI6. This is the only mention of MI7 in any James Bond film or novel. In reality there is no current MI7. The original MI7 was a temporary subsection dealing with propaganda that operated during World War I. It has been suggested that there might have been a prohibition on mentioning MI6 in the media at this time; if true this changed and not only would MI6 be referenced frequently in future films, its real-life headquarters building would be seen and used in GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day decades later.
  • Sylvia Trench, the woman Bond meets in the casino at the start of the film, is not a character from Fleming's novels, but EON Productions had intended for her to be Bond's regular girlfriend. Ultimately, the character only appeared once more, in From Russia With Love before she was dropped in favor of further developing the playful relationship between Bond and Moneypenny. Eunice Gayson, the actress who played Sylvia, had a daughter who would later appear as an extra in The World Is Not Enough. Gayson herself was originally hired to play Moneypenny, and Lois Maxwell was to have played Sylvia, but the two actresses swapped roles.
  • Viewers of the film series might be surprised to discover that very little of the playful banter and flirting between Bond and Moneypenny actually exists in the novels; much of it was developed for the movies, although later Bond novelists would incorporate the movie relationship into their takes on the characters.
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  • Most female voices in this film, including that of Ursula Andress, were dubbed by an uncredited actress, Monica Van Der Syl, in post-production. This would be a standard procedure with Bond films throughout the 1960s, with few actresses getting the chance to hear their own voices (Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg in later films being notable exceptions, as was Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny)). The theatrical trailer for Dr. No, included on the special edition DVD, features footage of Sylvia Trench/Eunice Gayson speaking with her own voice.
  • As Bond is being ushered into Dr. No's dining room, he pauses to take notice of a portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Goya. This is an inside joke. The painting was actually stolen from the National Gallery, London in 1961 and was still missing when the film was released. It was recovered in 1965.

Popular Culture

  • In a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "Our Man Bashir", a holographic program clearly based on James Bond features a villian named "Dr. Noah."

Comic book adaptation

Around the time of the film's release, a comic book adaptation of the screenplay was published in British Classics Illustrated, and later reprinted in European Detective and in early 1963 in the United States by DC Comics as part of its Showcase anthology series. The comic was drawn by Norman Nodel and was originally intended to be published as an issue of the anthology Classics Illustrated.

External links

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