DATELINE: First Bond
Back in 1963, audiences were treated to a new kind of superhero in the person of Sean Connery: Bond, James Bond.
The film called Dr. No was a departure on many levels from your usual spy/adventure stories. First, this was tongue-in-cheek (sort of) and came out of a series of Cold War novels by Ian Fleming.
As you might expect in this movie, the spies are decidedly low tech: old fashioned telephone banks are everywhere. There are no computers, and MI-5 or 6 communicates by short-wave radio with its agents.
The shocker: Bond has a license to kill and does so with the aplomb of your everyday cold-blooded sociopath. Of course, it’s all done in the name of the Queen and Country.
This movie deals with an independent terrorist organization that calls itself SPECTRE and is motivated mostly by evil and money, whichever is most handy.
The movie is lusciously filmed in Technicolor in Jamaica where Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), a half-Chinese mad genius, has a nuclear power plant where his workers wear what we’d call Hazmat suits today. Yet, the whole bunch of bananas seems like parody, not far from Get Smart.
Along for the Bond ride in this first Fleming novel on the big screen is Ursula Andress in various states of undress and Jack Lord as the CIA agent (before he went Hawai 5-O on us). Wiseman’s half-Chinese villain has no hands (black prosthetics) and cream-color suits that would make Sydney Greenstreet envious.
Bond is nothing less than promiscuous and rather dangerous, and Connery is perfect as the pre-politically-correct man’s man. Don’t shake that martini. Audiences must have hooted every time that Bond music motif hit the screen. It still tingles.
We particularly like the tarantula put into Bond’s bed and crawling up Connery’s arm and back. Ah, those were the days!