A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
James Bond (007) is Britain's top agent and is on an exciting mission, to solve the mysterious murder of a fellow agent. The task sends him to Jamaica, where he joins forces with Quarrel and a loyal CIA agent, Felix Leiter. While dodging tarantulas, "fire breathing dragons" and a trio of assassins, known as the three blind mice. Bond meets up with the beautiful Honey Ryder and goes face to face with the evil Dr. No. Written by
DR. NO, the first of the "James Bond" film series, was a dazzling adventure that would change the 'look' of action films, forever. While the film's 'plot' would become 'Standard Bond' (a maniac attempts to 'heat up' the cold war by provoking America, in this instance, by crashing it's rockets), and reappear in many incarnations over the years, the story behind the first film is still fascinating.
From the completion of his first 007 novel, "Casino Royale", in 1952, 41-year old author Ian Fleming believed that movies and television would be the best 'forum' for James Bond. But deals usually fell through (one that didn't, resulting in an American TV adaptation of "Casino Royale", in 1954, was a flop), and failed screenplays would be rewritten into best-selling short stories and novels, instead. Not surprisingly, the novels impressed many film producers with their cinematic sweep and potential. Two of the producers, American Albert (Cubby) Broccoli, and Canadian Harry Saltzman, would become the key players in bringing DR. NO to the screen.
Saltzman had managed to obtain an option to most of Fleming's work, but the move left him too financially strapped to produce them. Broccoli had wanted to produce the Bond novels, himself, but didn't own the rights. When Saltzman refused to sell, but offered a partnership, instead, Eon Productions was created, and United Artists, impressed by both men's enthusiasm and vision, agreed to bankroll their proposed "Bond" series. DR. NO was chosen as the first to be filmed, and, after several directors (including future Bond legend Guy Hamilton) passed on the project, Terence Young, as smoothly elegant as 007, himself, signed.
Who would play James Bond? Fleming jokingly suggested 52-year old star David Niven (who would, in fact, later play Bond in the spoof, CASINO ROYALE). Broccoli wanted Roger Moore, 34, but he was under contract for "The Saint". Then, independently of each other, both Broccoli and Saltzman heard about Scottish actor Sean Connery, 31. After viewing DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, Broccoli arranged an interview, was greatly impressed, and hired Connery, assigning director Young to teach the 'rough-edged' actor some style and sophistication. Connery was a quick learner, and soon was so impressive that even Ian Fleming would call him perfect, and would, in fact, incorporate elements of Connery into the Bond of the novels.
New York actor Joseph Wiseman was chosen as Dr. No, after Noel Coward refused the role ("Dr. No? No! No! No!"), and Fleming cousin, actor Christopher Lee, was unavailable. Future "Hawaii 5-0" star Jack Lord, a protégé of longtime Broccoli friend Gary Cooper, was cast as C.I.A. agent Felix Leiter, and Swiss bombshell Ursula Andress became Honey Ryder, Bond's first leading lady (her voice dubbed, because of her thick accent). With Bond 'regulars' "M" (Bernard Lee) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) in place, the Bond legend began.
A few bits of trivia: the 'gunbarrel' introduction, created by 'Opening Credits' designer Maurice Binder, featured stunt 'double' Bob Simmons, rather than Connery, as it was added after shooting was wrapped; Ken Adam's futuristic sets would not only become Bond highlights, but would influence 'real' interior design styles for a generation; and the film's score was by London theatrical composer Monty Norman, with John Barry's participation consisting of conducting the orchestra, and orchestrating Norman's "James Bond Theme"...which Barry did so well that he would become THE Bond composer for over twenty years!
DR. NO was a hit, particularly in Great Britain, and it received a HUGE boost in the U.S. when it was discovered President Kennedy was a 007 fan (FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was chosen as the second film, in part, because it was a favorite novel of JFK). While the film lacked the 'overabundance' of gadgets and style elements of the later Bond entries, it was a remarkable debut!
And James Bond WOULD return...
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