After agent Strangways (Tim Moxon) of the British Secret Service is
killed while on duty in Jamaica, agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent
down to investigate - and soon enough, he, along with American agent Felix
Leiter (Jack Lord), learn about an allegedly haunted island even the local
fishermen try to avoid at all costs, which is run by a Chinaman
apparently, a certain Dr.No (Joseph Wiseman), who seems to be mining the
island's rich uranium supply while having ulterior motives.
course soon heads for the island, where he meets beautiful island girl
Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) - and in no time at all, No has made them his
prisoners, to torture them to his own enjoyment while gloating about his
plans to rule the world with an arsenal of ingenious inventions. However,
it wouldn't be James Bond would he not find a way to escape captivity and
spoil No's plans (which he only learned from the man himself) to (ab-)use
an American rocket launch to his own advantage. But that's not enough,
Bond manages to flood No's island hideout, too, free Honey Rider, kill the
villain, and blow up his operations for good ...
And in the end, he's
left floating in a nutshell with beautiful Ms Rider - and what more could
you ask for.
Of course, from an intellectual point of view,
there is much to say against Dr. No, it feels a little bit like a
blend of the Lemmy
Caution-formula and an island girl feature of the Dorothy
Lamour or Maria Montez-variety (the island girl, by the way, also was in
Ian Fleming's source novel), with Sean Connery being way too suave to be
believable as a tough guy secret agent (even though his performance as
such is flawless).
All of this is perfectly true of course ... and it
also compeltely misses the point: Dr. No is of course not an
intellectual, realistic depiction of Secret Service-work, its an escapist
piece of suspense and adventure cinema (intentionally) chock full of
larger-than-life characters and exotic locations, outrageous plottwists
and out-of-this-world set-designs - and director Terence Young, balancing
out plot, setpieces and production values, sees to it that this all comes
to life perfectly, making this one, the first theatrical James Bond-feature,
also one of the best and most stringent films of the series (many of the
series' later films lose their plots in favour of their setpieces, which
in all their glory often seem a bit bloodless without a story to go with
them). And even though Dr. No cannot deny its early 1960's look of
course, the film has aged rather well (also something not necessarily true
for later films of the series).