Dr. No

Directed By: Terence Young

Starring: Sean Connery, Joseph Wiseman, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord, and John Kitzmiller

It's hard to believe that James Bond has been around for half a century.  In that time, we've seen a number of British badasses rock tuxedos and sip martinis that are shaken, not stirred.  We've seen the classic cars.  We've seen the gorgeous Bond girls.  We've seen the iconic villains.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of Bond, it's time to go back to basics and revisit the good old days of 007.  There's no better film to start with than the original Bond movie Dr. No.

MI6 Jamaican Station Chief John Strangways (Timothy Moxon) has been killed by a local group of assassins known as Three Blind Mice.  When MI6 head M (Bernard Lee) learns of Strangways's disappearance, he deploys one of his top agents James Bond (Sean Connery) — also known as 007 — to Kingston to investigate the situation.  M believes it may have something to do with Strangways's cooperation with the CIA in an investigation of rocket launches at Cape Canaveral that have been disrupted by jamming radio frequencies.

Bond makes his way to Kingston, and things get dangerous for him quickly.  Upon his arrival at the airport, two men begin following him.  One of them (Reggie Carter) pretends to be a chauffeur hired to drive Bond around the island.  A clever spy, Bond suspects otherwise and uses some tough interrogation tactics.  However, the agent kills himself with a cigarette laced with cyanide.  Soon after, Bond's investigation leads him to a boatman named Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) and CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), the other man following him.  These two inform Bond about Strangways's interest in rock samples in trying to solve his case.  They also tell him about the dangerous island of Crab Key and the mysterious Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman).

Despite the fact that it's been fifty years since its theatrical release, Dr. No has mostly stood the test of time.  The primary reason for this is that Sean Connery gives one smooth performance as 007.  Joseph Wiseman and director Terence Young create this dark, mysterious aura around the character of Dr. No.  There's quite a bit of suspense as well.  On top of everything else, all the classic Bond elements are here.  Dr.No is one good 007 flick.

Sean Connery is one of the smoothest James Bond's in the land, and Dr. No does nothing but prove this.  From the iconic poker game with Eunice Gayson's Sylvia Trench to hitting on Ursula Andress's Honey Ryder on a deserted beach, Bond is a ridiculous playboy.  It works though because of a certain charm Connery gives the character.  He was also quite an imposing badass back in the day.  A former bodybuilder, Connery has no problem showing his physical prowess on screen.  With all this and more, Connery personifies smoothness as 007.

Director Terence Young and actor Joseph Wiseman spend most of the film creating an equally iconic villain to challenge Connery's Bond.  Throughout the film, they create this aura of mystery around the character of Dr. No.  He begins as a name on a file.  He becomes a rumor that's only whispered and eventually an anonymous voice in a room.  With this ever growing shroud of mystery, the movie uses a gradual crescendo to create Dr. No that culminates in Wiseman's arrival on screen.  Then, we get Wiseman to play this dastardly villain to perfection.  The only drawback is that Wiseman is white, and Dr. No is Chinese.  No amount of makeup can mask this reality.  Alas, Dr. No was made in the 60s, and it shows in this respect.

All the classic Bond elements are here in Connery's first outing with a license to kill.  From M to Miss Moneypenny, all the characters are here.  With the PPK and Beretta at his disposal, Bond has his weapons of choice.  We even have martinis that are shaken, not stirred.  For all the old school 007 fans, we have Bond girls Sylvia Trench and Honey Ryder.  It was all there from the start fifty years ago in Dr. No.

My only gripe with Dr. No is that the ending is a bit anticlimactic.  I was hoping for more of an iconic showdown between Connery and Wiseman.  That being said, Dr. No is a solid Bond film with plenty of action and lots of mystery.  While I should recommend a vodka martini with a dash of lemon, wine coolers will do.  Dr. No gets a 0.03% rating.  It's incredible that this film is still so beloved so many years later.  Catch this one if you have a chance.