Lorry driver this! (1962)
With Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord, John Kitzmiller, Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Eunice Gayson
Directed by Terence Young
Reviewed by JL and JB

     The first James Bond film remains one of the series' strongest. It was also a film that had enormous influence on the action-adventure genre and screen heroes in general. More low-tech than later entries in the series, DR. NO succeeds as a compelling little spy adventure. Sean Connery may be a bit rough and gruff around the edges in his first turn as Bond, but he already embodies the character as no actor has since. Reportedly, Bond creator Ian Fleming was disgusted at first with the choice of Connery, preferring instead Cary Grant or David Niven. His first impression of Connery was summed up in a letter to a friend: "I can't believe that hired that f**king lorry driver."  After the film's completion, however, the author had nothing but praise for Connery, stating, "I now can't imagine any other actor in the world in the role". Fleming even began to refashion the Bond character to Connery's image (Bond suddenly had Scottish ancestry, for instance) in the remaining books and stories he would write before his death in 1964.  4½ - JL

Smug? I'm soaking in it.     What turns DR. NO from a "compelling little spy adventure" into the kind of James Bond movie  we would soon come to know is Dr. No himself, underplayed to perfection by Joseph Wiseman. Only fully revealed in the final section of the film, he is the first and one of the best of the James Bond ubervillains, to be followed by the likes of Blofeld, Stromberg of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and Drax of MOONRAKER. To be classified as a classic James Bond ubervillain rather than just a high-tech drug-dealer, a nut trying to blow up Fort Knox or a rogue spy turned bad guy, the villain in question must have at least two out of the following three characteristics: a lavish hideout (island, volcano, submarine), a delusion of grandeur (take over the world, start World War Three) and a condescending air of invincible superiority. Wiseman's Dr. No is perhaps the most annoyingly smug of all Bond villains (he is at least tied with Hugo Drax), which makes his comeuppance, borne from his own stupidity, that much more enjoyable to watch. Seriously, how dumb do you have to be to design a nuclear reactor with a "This Is Way Too Dangerous!!" level built right into the controls? Sean Connery makes DR. NO a great spy film, Joseph Wiseman makes it a great Bond film. 4- JB

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