Dr No

 Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 5 October 1962 (UK), 8 May 1963 (US)
Running time: 105 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.66 : 1
Classification: PG (UK)

Alternative titles: James Bond Chases Dr No (Germany), James Bond Vs Dr No (France & Belgium), Licence To Kill (Italy), Agent 007 Vs The Satanic Dr No (Spain & Portugal), 007 Is The Killing Number: Dr No (Japan), Agent 007: Mission: Kill Dr No (Denmark), Agent 007 With A Licence To Kill (Sweden).

Directed by: Terence Young
Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli
Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkley Mather
Production designer: Ken Adam
Director of photography: Ted Moore BSC
Editor: Peter Hunt
Special effects: Frank George
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder
Main title animation by: Trevor Bond

Music by: Monty Norman
Conducted by: Eric Rodgers
Orchestrated by: Burt Rhodes
James Bond Theme played by: John Barry and Orchestra. Reached number number 13 in the UK charts in November 1962.

Main theme: The film does not have a main theme in the same way as the subsequent films; the opening titles use the James Bond Theme which fades into calypso music. The end titles again use the Bond Theme.

Musical notes: The origins of the James Bond theme were the subject of a High Court case in 2001. This arose from an article in the Sunday Times which claimed that the famous music was actually written by John Barry. This lead to a libel case which Monty Norman won, confirming his authorship of the theme.

James Bond: Sean Connery
Honey Rider: Ursula Andress (dubbed by Monica van der Zyl)
Dr No: Joseph Wiseman
Felix Leiter: Jack Lord
M: Bernard Lee
Professor RJ Dent: Anthony Dawson
Miss Taro: Zena Marshall
Quarrel: John Kitzmuller
Sylvia Trench: Eunice Gayson
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Major Boothroyd: Peter Burton
Sister Lily: Yvonne Shima
Sister Rose: Michel Mok
Photographer: Marguerite Lewars
Superintendent Duff: William Foster-Davies
Mary Trueblood: Dolores Keator
Jones: Reginald Cater
Plydell-Smith: Louis Blaazer
General Potter: Colonel Burton

Commander Strangways: Tim Moxton
Puss-Feller: Lester Prendergast
London Radio Operator: John Hatton
Communications Foreman: Maxwell Shaw
Concierge at Casino: Stanley Morgan
Stewardess at Kingston Airport: Margaret Ellery
Dr No's Guard: Milton Reid
Decontamination Technician: Anthony Chin

The gunbarrel: The film opens with weird electronic noises, accompanying the dot which pauses in the middle of the screen as the credit "Harry Saltzman & Albert R Broccoli present" appears (the ampersand is in the dot). The dot continues moving then opens out to reveal black and white footage of stuntman Bob Simmons, doubling for Sean Connery who was apparently unavailable when it was decided to film the sequence. Simmons, wearing a hat, jumps to the side and fires. We hear the sound from the gunshot dissipate and only then does the James Bond Theme start.

Using the title: The title of Dr No has one of the more obvious derivations, being as it is the name of the villain (although in an early version of the script it was actually the name of a monkey).

The novel approach: The first James Bond film is generally faithful to Fleming's novel, although that was titled "Doctor No" in contrast to the abbreviated form used for the film (although one of the files that is stolen from Strangways at the start of the film is marked DOCTOR NO). There are some changes, such as the addition of Felix Leiter to the story and a different emphasis for Bond's escape through the ventilation ducting; in the book this is a deliberate ordeal for Bond, culminating in a fight with a giant squid. Other minor changes include substituting a tarantula for a centipede for Bond's bed companion (since it was felt that a spider was more obviously dangerous) and a change to the manner of Dr No's death (in the novel he is suffocated by a pile of guano).

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Secret Service appears to share a building with other organisations using the cover of a company called Universal Exports. Every day London makes radio contact with all of its overseas stations using the callsign G7W. In the event of a breach in security the frequencies used in these communications are changed.
Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell are already in place as M and Miss Monepenny, where they would become permanent fixtures until the 80s. It appears that M has not been in charge for very long, referring to a 40% drop in casualties since he took over. He claims to be head of MI7, although there is a reference earlier in the film to MI6. Indeed, M's line is actually redubbed in the film - he did originally refer to MI6 here (this can be seen in a contemporary featurette on the DVD which includes the scene). including the sequence of the M scene in which Lee does actually refer to MI6,
The Armourer is named as Major Boothroyd both on-screen and in the end credits and is played here by Peter Burton. The character would be developed somewhat in subsequent films, although played by a different actor...
It is made clear early on that Bond's Double 0 designation gives him a licence to kill, although it isn't actually explained what this means. At one point M threatens to return Bond to "standard intelligence duties".
Commander Strangways was the head of the Service's branch in Kingston, Jamaica, with the callsign W6N. His secretary was called Mary Trueblood (although her name is not actually used on screen). She was new and had only just been sent out there. They were killed by Dr No's henchmen in order to stop their investigations into Crab Key.

Locations: London; in and around Kingston, Jamaica; the island of Crab Key.

The villain: Dr No, who doesn't actually appear until about 90 minutes into the film. He is the unwanted son of a German missionary and a Chinese girl from a good family, who joined a Chinese Tong before fleeing to the USA with ten millon dollars worth of their gold. He was a member of the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion (or SPECTRE), an independent organisation headed by "the world's greatest minds" (although Dr No omits the word "and" from the title of the organisation). Dr No had different allegiances in the novel where he worked for the Russian organisation SMERSH, and the change sets up SPECTRE's appearances in subsequent films. In an interesting throwaway line, No thinks Bond a potential member of SPECTRE. No also seems to have some connections with the Chinese, since some Red Army guards can be seen around his base.
Dr No's main distinguishing feature is his artificial hands. The precise circumstances leading to the loss of his own hands are not revealed, other than it being "a misfortune" and something to do with his research into radioactivity.
Dr No owns the island of Crab Key where he apparently runs a bauxite mine. Local fisherman avoid the island, due to a legend that it is guarded by a dragon, although this is revealed to be an armoured vehicle with a flamethrower. From Crab Key, Dr No is somehow using his nuclear reactor in order to disrupt the flight of American missiles, culminating in a moon rocket launch. His is killed by Bond when he is unable to save himself from the reactor pool due to his artificial hands.
Dr No has an array of minor henchmen - Professor Dent, the local geologist; Miss Taro, the secretary at Government House; a fake chauffeur who gives his name as Jones before committing suicide with a cyanide filled cigarette; a un-named female freelance photographer; and three assassins who pretend to be blind men.

The girl: Honey Rider (abbreviated from Honeychille in Fleming's book), the daughter of a marine zoologist who grew up moving around the world with her, learning from an encyclopaedia. She came to Jamaica with her father when he was studying sea shells. He disappeared at Crab Key, apparently drowned, but she believes that Dr No actually killed him (this is never confirmed or denied, but seems likely). After her father's death, Honey stayed on in Kingston where she was raped by her landlord. She took her revenge by leaving a black widow spider under his mosquite netting, after which he took a week to die.

Bond's conquests: Three - Sylvia Trench, Miss Taro and Honey.

The gadgets: The first film takes a very down to earth approach. Other than Bond's new 7.65mm Walther PPK ("the American CIA swear by them"), all we get is a rather clunky Geiger counter that Bond uses to prove that there is something afoot on Crab Key.

Recurring characters: Although not yet a recurring character, the film introduces us to Felix Leiter of the CIA despite the fact that Leiter does not appear in the novel. Leiter is played here by Jack Lord, who gives us one of the better versions of the character. Bond and Leiter have not met prior to the film, but Bond has heard of his American counterpart. We are first introduced to Felix as a mysterious figure who may be a threat to Bond, a trick that later films also try.

I didn't catch the name?: The very first "Bond...James Bond" is one of the most famous sequences in the film, as we see Connery for the first time during his game of Chemin de Fer against Sylvia Trench.

Vodka Martinis: A waiter prepares one for Bond in his Kingston hotel room that is medium dry, mixed and not stirred. Another is served during Bond's dinner with Doctor No and we get the first reference to the phrase that would become a catchphrase when the villain describes it as a "Medium dry Martini, lemon peel, shaken not stirred".

Gambling: When we first meet Bond he is playing Chemin de Fer at Les Ambassadeurs club in London, beating Sylvia in several hands with a maximum score of 9, compared with her 8. It probably doesn't really count, but he also plays patience while waiting for Dent to attack him.

Bond bits: Bond has used a Beretta for ten years and has never missed with it but he has just spent six months in hospital after his Beretta jammed on a previous job (in the novels this was an event seen in "From Russia With Love"). This leads to M replacing the Beretta with the Walther PPK. Bond has not heard of SPECTRE before Dr No tells him about it. We see Bond's flat for the first of only two occasions in the series (the other is in Live And Let Die). His tailor is in Saville Row.

Other trivia: Sylvia's hobbies include golf. Mary Trueblood's blood group is ORH positive.

Anything else?: During the scenes in Dr No's dining room Bond does a double-take at a painting - this is supposed to be Goya's "The Duke of Wellington", which had recently been stolen at the time the film was made.
As noted in the cast list, Honey's voice was dubbed by Monica van der Zyl. The exception is when Honey sings "Underneath The Mango Tree" during her first appearance; her singing voice was provided here by Diana Coupland, an actress best known for role in the 70s British sitcom "Bless This House". At the time she was married to composer Monty Norman. The full version of the song as sung by Ms Coupland is featured on the film's soundtrack album.
Louis Blaazer, who plays Plydell-Smith, was also dubbed in the movie. Although a resident of Jamaica at the time of filming, he had been brought up in Aberdeen. The producers of the film were concerned about two Scottish accents during his scenes with Sean Connery in Government House and so it was decided to re-dub Plydell-Smith's lines with a clipped Home Counties voice.

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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