[box cover]

Dr. No: Ultimate Edition

The rifled barrel of a gun is there, but the music is not. Instead, 1962's Dr. No opens with radio frequencies, a xylophone, and only after the dark suited man shoots his target does the soundtrack cut to one of the most famous music cues in movie history, credited to Barry Norman (though many attribute it to John Barry). Then a series of pop-art circles form around the opening credits — like a stoplight fashion show — that are then replaced by silhouetted dancers jamming to a Jamaican beat. This is emblematic of Dr. No as a whole. Though the filmmakers had the Ian Fleming text to work from, the 007 formula had yet to be shaped and honed, even if the rough pieces are there. But the filmmakers knew that musical cue was magic, and so from the first shot of Sean Connery it's used to underscore how awesome Bond is. It works. What's also fascinating about this, the proto-007, is how the first half of the movie plays like a mystery — James Bond is essentially a private dick in a sub-Chandler mystery, trying to figure out who killed a British agent in Jamaica, and shooting a man in cold blood (the license to kill in action) in revenge. But at the hour point, Bond goes to Crab Key Island to meet Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) — who's arrives on the screen while exiting tropical water wearing a bikini and a knife — and then meets the evil Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), who offers him a luxurious room to rest in, and then a fancy dinner. It would be the first of the sophisticated, flamboyant, and impossibly headquartered villains who would make relatively worthy opponents to Bond. Notable here is that the good Doctor has steel hands, but he proves more dashing than threatening (a problem resolved later on by giving such malicious and often mute henchmen). This picture also had a good deal of influence on the Austin Powers franchise, from the atomic chemical washdown scene, to Dr. No's radiation suit, to a flashing sign that says "Abandon Area," it's very much a naïve view of evil (though such could be said of most of the franchise). But from Connery's swagger to its decidedly modern approach to sex (Bond beds two willing ladies, one of whom he arrests shortly thereafter), to the elaborate headquarters and fiendish plot, everything that makes Bond qua Bond was there from the inception. MGM/Fox presents the two-disc Dr. No: Ultimate Edition in anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and the original monaural audio. The restoration work by Lowry Digital is easily the most breathtaking of the series, as it's the oldest film and it looks fresher than ever. Disc One also features a commentary by Terrence Young and the cast and crew. Disc Two starts off with "License to Restore" (12 min.) on the Lowry Digital process that went into restoring the older Bond titles, followed by period featurettes "The Guns of James Bond" (5 min.) "Premiere Bond: Opening Nights" (13 min.), and "Dr. No 1963" (9 min.). Also included is "Inside Dr. No" (42 min.), the director-specific "Terence Young: Bond Vivant" (18 min.), four trailers, two TV spots, six radio spots, a stills gallery, and "007 Mission Control," which offers highlights of the franchise's repeated trademarks. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case. Available in MGM's "James Bond Collection: Volume 4."
—DSH



Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page