The Bond Marathon – Dr. No

Ursula Andress and Sean Connery in Dr. No
EON Productions

We began the Bond marathon with the first Bond, Dr. No, from 1962. Since it’s the first Bond movie, a lot of what we consider required for the series. Q, simply referred to as “Armorer,” is a random bland English actor barely noticeable for his two minutes of screen time. There’s no memorable theme song except the James Bond theme.

To recap, Dr. No begins with the disappearance of the MI6 station chief in Jamaica. Apparently, he gets too close to a nearby island the CIA suspects is the source of interference with the American space program. Bond, after seducing a fellow card sharp at a London casino, is sent to investigate. With the aid of CIA agent Felix Leiter and local fishing captain Quarrel, he discovers a German-Chinese criminal scientist named Dr. Julius No.

Unlike the future Bond films, where the action starts even before the credits, Dr. No is more of a suspense thriller. How did Strangways, the MI6 operative, disappear? We see it in the first scene, but how does Bond find out what happened? It has none of the bombast of Goldfinger or The Spy Who Loved Me. Bond is a working spy, and Bond is not the on-edge blunt instrument played by Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. But Dr. No is a movie based on a book by Ian Fleming. The cinematic Bond, the one we expect to be reinvented once a decade, doesn’t exist yet. Connery, though, establishes the orignal Bond as the ruthless tough guy with a penchant for ladies (not even fast cars just yet). So when ranking these movies, Dr. No can’t really be compared to the later Bonds. It’s a movie at this point, not a series, and it will take a couple of sequels to become that.