Ian Fleming wrote the story of Dr. No in 1956 for an episode of a never-produced television series, "James Gunn Secret Agent". The working titles were "Commander Jamaica" and "The Wound Man". Fleming later expanded the story treatment into the sixth James Bond novel, basing Doctor No on Sax Rohmer's Doctor Fu Manchu.
A Francisco de Goya painting of the Duke of Wellington, stolen in 1961, is found on an easel next to the stairs in Dr. No's dining area, which is why Bond stops to notice it as he passes it while going up the stairs. It was recovered in 1965.
The famous pose of Sean Connery holding a gun across his chest had to be redone at the last second. The Walther PPK was left at the studio, but the photographer had an old air pistol in his car. The gun in the picture is the air pistol.
Sean Connery is morbidly afraid of spiders. The shot of the spider in his bed was done with a sheet of glass between him and the spider, which can be seen in one shot in the movie. When this didn't look realistic enough, additional close-up scenes were re-shot with stuntman Bob Simmons. Simmons reported that the tarantula crawling over Bond was the scariest stunt he had ever performed. According to Steven Jay Rubin's 1981 book "The James Bond Films", this tarantula was named Rosie.
This was chosen to be the inaugural film in the James Bond franchise as the plot of the source novel was the most straightforward. It had only one major location (Jamaica) and only one big special effects set piece.
As detailed as Dr. No's underwater lair was, one vital element was very nearly forgotten - background plates of fish swimming in the sea to be added to the thick-glass window. The necessary film was quickly found among library footage the day before the scene was to be filmed. When it turned out the footage featured extreme close-ups of fish, it was decided to have Dr. No explain that the window works as a magnifying glass.
Author Ian Fleming wanted his cousin Christopher Lee to play Dr. No. (Lee would later appear as Scaramanga in the 007 flick The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), and would play the character that inspired Fleming to create Dr. No, Dr. Fu Manchu, in several films.) Fleming also asked Noël Coward to play the part of Dr. No. Coward turned down the part by replying with a telegram that read, "Dr. No? No! No! No!" One of Coward's objections was having to wear metal hands. Max von Sydow turned down the part in order to play Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and would finally play a Bond villain in Never Say Never Again (1983). The role went to Joseph Wiseman, the only early Bond villain not to have his voice dubbed by another actor.
Ian Fleming didn't originally like the casting of Sean Connery as James Bond. Bond was English and Connery was Scottish, Bond was upper-class and Connery was working-class, Bond was refined and educated and Connery was too rugged. After seeing the film, Fleming softened and decided that Connery was perfectly cast. In the novel "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," Bond was revealed to have Scottish ancestry and Bond's girlfriend Tracy Vicenzo was described with Ursula Andress' details. Ironically, in the movie version of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Bond and Tracy are played by George Lazenby and Diana Rigg, who do not fit these descriptions.
The first scene Sean Connery filmed as James Bond is the sequence in the Kingston Airport where he passes a female photographer and holds his hat up in front of his face. The filming date was January 16, 1962.
During the initial briefing, M says that he recently was put in charge of MI7. Bernard Lee originally said MI6 during the take, but this has been overdubbed, possibly for fear of offending the real-life organization. In later Bond films, however, 007 clearly works for MI6.
Maurice Binder designed the gun barrel opening at the last minute, by pointing a pinhole camera through a real gun barrel. The actor in the sequence is not Sean Connery, but stuntman Bob Simmons. Connery didn't film the sequence himself until Thunderball (1965).
The budget was only one million dollars ($7,834,710.74 in 2015), but when costs overran by 100,000 dollars ($783,471.07 in 2015), United Artists wanted to pull the plug, fearing it would never recoup its outlay.
The armorer who gives Bond his Walther PPK at the start of the film, is Major Boothroyd, who in the next film, From Russia with Love (1963) would be played by Desmond Llewelyn. Beginning with Goldfinger (1964), the "armorer" would forever be known as "Q" (for "Quartermaster"). The character of Boothroyd first appears in Ian Fleming's original Dr. No novel. He is named for Geoffrey Boothroyd, who wrote to Fleming complaining about Bond's use of a Beretta in the early Bond books and recommending Bond use a Walther PPK instead. (The real-life Boothroyd appears in a vintage featurette included on the Blu-ray, demonstrating the relative effectiveness of Bond's Beretta, PPK, and his own favorite gun, the Ruger .44 Magnum.) This detail was included in the novel and later included in this film, establishing part of the Bond legend. Q is based loosely on Charles Fraser-Smith, who designed spy gadgets called "Q-devices" (named for Q-ships, the Royal Navy's disguised warships of World War I) for MI-6.
Ursula Andress' dialogue was dubbed by voice artist Nikki Van der Zyl, who later dubbed her again in The Blue Max (1966), She (1965), and Casino Royale (1967). It was her task to recreate Andress' voice, but give it only a mild accent. Andress' singing voice is sometimes credited to Diana Coupland, but this is also Nikki. This confusion mainly arises because Ms. Coupland's recording of the song was included on the original 1962 soundtrack album release for Dr.No. Both Andress and Eunice Gayson were dubbed by the same actress. Gayson's real voice can be heard on the theatrical trailers for the film, included on the DVD release.
According to Inside 'Dr. No' (2000), the introduction of the James Bond character utilizes a technique which is an homage to the 1939 William Dieterle film, Juarez (1939) starring Paul Muni. This technique is performed using a series of close-ups of the character without revealing the face, cross-cutting with the other characters in the scene and the gambling table. Finally, the face of the person is revealed, stating his name, "Bond, James Bond."
Sean Connery won the role of James Bond after producer Albert R. Broccoli attended a screening of Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). He was particularly impressed with the fist fight Connery has with a village bully at the climax of the film. Broccoli later had his wife Dana Broccoli see the film and confirm his sex appeal. Still, for publicity purposes, there was a contest to find the perfect man to play James Bond. Six finalists were chosen and screen-tested by Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, and Ian Fleming. The winner was a 28-year-old model called Peter Anthony who looked the part, but completely lacked the acting technique to play it.
It is long standing misconception that John Barry wrote "The James Bond Theme". It actually originated from a song, "Good Sign, Bad Sign" composed by Monty Norman, from an aborted musical, "The House of Mr. Biswas". Barry arranged and orchestrated Norman's theme to produce the theme as it is known throughout the world.
In the source novel, the full names of Honey Ryder and Doctor No are Honeychile Rider and Doctor Julius No. Honeychile is the last surviving member of an old sugar plantation family, and was raised by the family servants. The freelance photographer is named Annabel Chung. Puss-Feller's name means he wrestled an octopus, but the film changes this to an alligator, rendering the name meaningless. The Professor was not named Dent and was not a villain. Strangways and Quarrel were old friends of Bond (from the Live and Let Die novel). There was no evil chauffeur and no Felix Leiter (the latter was in other novels).
Two weeks before filming was due to start, the part of Honey Ryder was still to be cast. The producers then saw a photograph of a then-unknown Ursula Andress in a wet t-shirt, and offered her the part without even meeting her. Some sources claim that the photograph allegedly featured Andress in a wet t-shirt competition.
The novel "Dr. No" was Ian Fleming's follow-up to From Russia with Love (1963). The movie scene of Bond getting his Walther is very similar to the corresponding scene in the book. When M says that Bond's Beretta jammed on his last job, he was referring to Bond's mission to recover the Spektor (called "Lektor" in the film) decoder.
Of the one million pound ($11,263,241.43 in 2015 U.S. dollars) budget, Production Designer Ken Adam was given 14,000 pounds ($157,685.31 in 2015 U.S. dollars) . Adam argued for an extra 6,000 pounds ($67,579.39 in 2015 U.S. dollars) to create his now-exemplary sets.
The white bikini worn by Ursula Andress in the movie was sold by her at Christie's Auctions in London on February 14, 2001 for 35,000 pounds. It was purchased by Robert Earl of Planet Hollywood and with commission and tax fees, the total was actually around 41,000 pounds. Before the auction, the bikini had been estimated to fetch 40,000 pounds. The bikini top originally was made from an underwire bra sold from a Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City - Costume Designer Tessa Welborn ordered three of the bras, covering them in cotton, and refining the design. The belt seen in the film was made from a white webbing Army belt, with brass fittings and a scabbard. After the film's release, bikini swimwear sales skyrocketed.
When Dr. No's goons appear along the beach to kill Bond, Quarrel, and Honey, the sequence had to be re-shot when the noise of the gunfire attracted the attention of a group of off-duty U.S. Naval officers who arrived on the set to see what was happening.
The location of the classic scene where Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) walks out of the sea and meets James Bond (Sean Connery) was Laughing Waters Beach on the Laughing Water Estate owned by Mrs. Minnie Simpson in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica. Mrs. Simpson had been a fan of the Ian Fleming James Bond novels.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins seen in the movie included Turnbull & Aser tailoring; Pan Am Airlines; Rolex Watches, James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner; Dom Perignon Champagne; Red Stripe Beer; Black & White Scotch, BOAC Airlines and Smirnoff Vodka including Smirnoff Blue and Smirnoff Red.
The initial reason that MI6 launches an investigation, mysterious radio interference being picked up at Cape Canaveral, isn't as far out of the question as one might think. A memorandum to the Pentagon in the year the film was released, reported unusually heavy radio emissions from Cuba, and that if John Glenn's upcoming orbit of the Earth were to fail, a case could successfully made (whether true or not) of Cuban sabotage.
A cut scene featured Honey Ryder waiting in her room in the finale, armed with a bottle of booze. When Bond arrives, she collapses into his arms and Bond catches both her and the bottle. With a manly dash, he pops the cork from the bottle with his teeth, takes a good belt, throws the bottle away and sweeps Ryder into his arms, carrying her to safety.
Location Manager Chris Blackwell (who was uncredited) was later the founder of Island Records. He is also the son of Blanche Blackwell, who was neighbor, friend, and lover of Ian Fleming. He makes a cameo in the film, as the tall blond man dancing at Puss Feller's club. Blackwell would later own Ian Fleming's Goldeneye estate after 1977 - one of its previous owners was reggae musician Bob Marley.
For a long time, this film was tied with Goldfinger (1964) as the shortest James Bond movie in the EON Productions official series, with a running time of 111 minutes. Quantum of Solace (2008) is now the shortest at 106 minutes.
A sequence extracted from the final cut had No forcing Bond to radio Felix Leiter, telling him that he had discovered nothing of any interest on Crab Key in return for a less painful death for both Bond and Ryder.
John Stears was asked to help with the miniatures. He had only a budget of 1,000 pounds for the effect of the destruction of Dr. No's fortress. In the next Bond outing, Stears took over as Special Effects Supervisor.
Marguerite LeWars, who plays Annabel, was working as a flight attendant for BWIA (British West Indian Airways) when Terence Young approached her with the age-old line "Would you like to be in movies?" Lewars' brother-in-law Reggie Carter played Jones the chauffeur, the first villain encountered by James Bond in this series.
Sean Connery was originally rejected as James Bond by United Artists. The studio cabled producer Harry Saltzman of this information. However, United Artists later rescinded this decision and agreed with the producers' casting choice.
In the original novel, the scene in which Bond escapes "imprisonment" worked a little differently - Dr. No had actually had an obstacle course set up to challenge Bond. At the end of the obstacle course there was a seaside cage, with a giant squid inside. The film altered and toned down all of this, and the "obstacle course" idea got lost in the translation from novel to film. In the following scene, a sequence involving Honey Rider being tied to the ground and attacked by a swarm of crabs was scrapped because many of the crustaceans arrived frozen, dead and damaged. In the film as shown, water was the threat instead.
There is a longstanding rumor that in the early drafts of the script, Dr. No turned out to be a monkey. When first approached by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, screenwriters Wolf Mankowitz and Richard Maibaum discarded most of the source material and wrote a story treatment about a shipping magnate called Buchwald attempting to blow up the Panama Canal. Dr. No was a monkey god worshiped on the island, and the villain kept a capuchin monkey as a pet. Broccoli and Saltzman told them to try again and this time stick more closely to the source material. Mankowitz was dissatisfied with the script and had his name removed from the credits. He later co-wrote the James Bond parody film Casino Royale (1967), which co-starred Ursula Andress, who played Honey Ryder in Dr. No (1962).
The gun Bond puts the silencer on at Miss Taro's house is not his famous PPK. It's a FN 1910 easily distinguishable by the FN logo on the grip. The reason is that the prop department couldn't get a silencer fitting the PPK.
According to some reports, Jack Lord was deemed "too cool" to play against Sean Connery's 007. In order to avoid any focus being pulled from Connery, Lord would be replaced in Goldfinger (1964) (and subsequently every future Leiter appearance) with a shorter, more conventional looking American actor in order to keep Bond in the spotlight. Also, Lord wanted more money, a bigger part and equal billing with Connery. After the release of Dr. No, Lord did the same a few years later with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry after actor Jeffrey Hunter did not receive a callback to appear in the second pilot when the role of Captain James T. Kirk was being cast - Lord not wanted a large sum of money but to co-produce the series but the executives from Desilu Studios (ironically, now part of CBS Television Studios) and Roddenberry declined the offer which led to William Shatner cast in the iconic role. It was until the middle of 1968 when he read for the part eventually landing a lead role as Steve McGarrett on the classic Hawaii Five-O TV series which ran until 1980. (During its fifth season, Lord did share a scene with Shatner when he was a guest star). As part of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot series which debuted in 2010, there are references/homages to the official James Bond film series where actors who appeared in a Bond film have guest starred. The lead role of Steve McGarrett in the Hawaii Five-0 reboot (Alex O'Loughlin) was a candidate to become a future James Bond after Pierce Brosnan left the series prior to the casting of Daniel Craig.
Due to the low budget, only one sound editor was hired (normally there are two, for sound effects and dialogue), and many pieces of scenery were made in cheaper ways, with M's office featuring cardboard paintings and a door covered in a leather-like plastic, the room where Dent meets Dr. No costing only 745 pounds to build, and the aquarium in Dr. No's base being magnified stock footage of goldfish. Furthermore, when Art Director Syd Cain found out his name was not in the credits, Albert R. Broccoli gave him a golden pen to compensate, saying that he did not want to spend money making the credits again.
The first-ever day of filming at England's Pinewood Studios for both Dr. No (1962) and the EON Productions James Bond franchise was on Monday, February 26, 1962. The first take was Slate 310 at 11.25 am on Stage D. The scene was in M's office and featured Bernard Lee, Peter Burton and Sean Connery. Many of the cast and crew including Terence Young had been late arriving on set due to harsh cold and inclement weather.
A script developed by producer Kevin McClory, screenwriter Jack Whittingham and novelist Ian Fleming, reportedly titled "James Bond, Secret Agent" was originally going to be the first James Bond movie, but Fleming caused legal problems before any production could begin by writing and publishing what he thought of as 'the book to the movie' without consulting the others. This novel was published in 1961, titled "Thunderball" by Fleming, and resulted in legal action by McClory. This legal action tied up rights to the script and story, and made McClory's participation problematic, so Dr. No (1962) wound up being chosen instead. The Thunderball (1965) plot was eventually used for the fourth Bond movie. Subsequent editions of the novel "Thunderball" carry a credit for McClory and Whittingham, and McClory eventually saw the original concept more or less produced under the title Never Say Never Again (1983).
The aquarium in the Fairmont Hamilton Hotel's Gazebo Bar in Bermuda was reportedly the inspiration for Dr. No's aquarium, itself later inspiring the aquarium in Stromberg's lair in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
According to the film's CD soundtrack sleeve notes, the James Bond theme debuted in the UK charts on November 1, 1962, where it peaked at number 13. It entered the U.S. charts on July 27, 1963 where it went to number 82. Two pieces of music heard in the film, are not included on the film's soundtrack. These are the electronic sound effects music at the very beginning of the film, and the suspenseful music from the tarantula sequence.
Samuel J. Friedman, head of the national publicity for United Artists, hired glamor model Bunny Yeager to photograph Ursula Andress on location in Jamaica during filming. Between takes and during camera set-ups, Yeager would take Andress to one side and photograph her amongst nature.
The item the freelance photographer smashes against the table-leg and uses to scratch Quarrel's face is a flashbulb. Flashbulbs (as fitted to older cameras) were made of glass and were single-use only.
Terence Young decided to inject much humor, as he considered that "a lot of things in this film, the sex and violence and so on, if played straight, a) would be objectionable, and b) we're never gonna go past the censors; but the moment you take the mickey out, put the tongue out in the cheek, it seems to disarm."
According to Lois Maxwell, Ursula Andress made quite an impression at the wrap party. "At the party, she danced with all the crew and she was the first grown woman I had ever known who didn't wear a bra. As she danced, those wonderful breasts were just swaying. I remember thinking how marvellous it must be to be that uninhibited and I wanted to throw my bra off, but I didn't have the courage".
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include Licence to Kill / Agent 007: Licence to Kill (Italy); James Bond Versus Dr. No (Belgium & France); Dr. No: Mission-Killing / Agent 007 - Mission: Kill Dr. No (Denmark); James Bond Chases Dr. No (Germany); Dr. No: 007 Is The Killing Number (Japan); Agent 007 With A Licence To Kill (Sweden); Agent 007 Versus Dr. No (Spain); James Bond, Agent 007 Against Dr. No (Greece); 007 Seized The Secret Island (China); 007 - The Secret Agent (Portugal); 007 And Dr. No (Finland) and 007 Against The Satanic Dr. No (Brazil & Spanish-speaking South America). In Japan the translators first interpreted the title as "Dr.? No!" and produced posters with a translation that meant "We don't want a doctor". The mistake was discovered at the last moment.
United Artists executives were first screened a print of the film at ten o'clock one morning, with Arthur Krim in attendance. When the movie finished around midday, there was a silence at the end of the screening. The European head executive stated that the only good thing about the picture, was that they couldn't lose with it with only a budget of about 840,000 U.S. dollars. Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were shaken and stirred.
Peter R. Hunt used an innovative editing technique, with extensive use of quick cuts, and employing fast motion and exaggerated sound effects on the action scenes. Hunt said his intention was to "move fast and push it along the whole time, while giving it a certain style", and added that the fast pacing would help audiences not notice any writing problems.
Ursula Andress was cast in the part of Honey Ryder because she fit Albert R. Broccoli's description of "an unknown with a new face who wouldn't demand an outrageous salary". Seeing a photograph of her in a wet t-shirt obviously didn't hinder that decision either.
Terence Young had previously cast Eunice Gayson in Zarak (1956). He cast her as Sylvia Trench, telling her "You always bring me luck in my films", although she was also cast due to her voluptuous figure.
Vehicles featured included the swamp vehicle Dragon Tank at Crab Key; a marine blue 1961 Sunbeam Alpine Series 5 Sports Tourer convertible II Tiger rental car which James Bond drives whilst being tailed by a pre-war Packard LaSalle hearse; Bond rides in a taxi driven by Mr. Jones which is a black 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible; a motorboat; Mk II Ford consul taxi; Quarrel's boat; an Austin A55 Cambridge and a Ford Zephyr.
Monty Norman was invited to write the soundtrack because Albert R. Broccoli liked his work on the 1961 theatre production Belle, a musical about murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen. Norman was busy with musicals, and only accepted to do the music for the films after Harry Saltzman allowed him to travel along with the crew to Jamaica.
According to Robbie Collin in UK newspaper 'The Telegraph', "Bond author Ian Fleming invented SPECTRE in 1959 to replace James Bond's usual, Soviet, enemies. Fleming believed the Cold War might be about to end and wanted to keep his spy thrillers relevant". Fleming's SPECTRE Executive Cabinet included "21 people including former Gestapo members, Soviet spy group SMERSH, Josep Tito [Josip Broz Tito]'s secret police, Italian, Corsican and Turkish organised crime gangs", its goals were "profiteering from conflict between the superpowers, eventual world domination", and its methods included "counter-intelligence, brainwashing, murder, extortion using weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and orbital)".
The Alex Rider book series has a character like a teenage James Bond who fights an organization, Scorpia which is akin to SPECTRE. Scorpia is almost an acronym for what it does like SPECTRE, but SPECTRE is made up of disillusioned former secret agents who went into business for themselves.
In the original script, Dr. No strikes Bond with his gauntlets after Bond taunts him by calling him Hitler-cum-Al Capone. Following this, he says, "Forgive the coarseness, Dr. No" and spits in his face.
Ursula Andress was cast in her role, only after being seen in one photograph. She was booked, before she had even been interviewed! She joined the production two weeks before filming commenced in Jamaica.
The score album only contains the James Bond Theme, various versions of 'Underneath The Mango Tree', 'Jump Up' and a re-recording of 'The Island Speaks'. The rest are unrelated and do not appear in the film. The rest of the film score does not appear. Some other tracks have appeared on latter CD's but these are re-recordings by The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Nic Raine.
The producers met Sean Connery but were dubious as to whether the Scot could play the jet-setting character, as his background was a working-class Scot born in Edinburgh, who dropped out of school at 15 to join the Royal Navy. He had a number of other positions, including lifeguard, milkman and former Mr Universe, before the actor's rugged appeal won him the role of James Bond. He was offered a multi-picture contract, with the allowance of being able to pursue projects outside of the Bond series.
Honey's entrance was filmed near Ian Fleming's house, Goldeneye. Fleming, along with friends Noël Coward, poet Stephen Spender and journalist Peter Quennell, stumbled across the crew on the day the scene was shot. They stayed with the crew until evening. After dinner, Coward spent time with Sean Connery, advising him on matters ranging from acting to dealing with the press.
In the same first release year of 1977, actor Milton Reid played both the henchman Sandor in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and the henchman Eye Patch in the spy spoof / James Bond parody picture No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977). Previously, Reid had applied to play the role of Oddjob in the James Bond film Goldfinger (1964) but lost out to Harold Sakata. Moreover, Reid had previously played one of Dr. No's guards (uncredited) in Dr. No (1962) and was also one of Mata Bond's attendants in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967).
In the Anthony Horowitz novel Russian Roulette, one of the characters places a single hair across the crack of a door, as a warning signal, like Bond does when he lands in Jamaica, a homage to the Alex Rider series main source of inspiration. Horowitz later wrote a James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, with original material by Ian Fleming. It's available in ebook and audio. The Evening Standard calls it "Bond back at his best", the Telegraph say "it's an ingenious Bond" and Metro call it "pure pleasure"; Horowitz mentioned Metro in Russian Roulette. Scorpia, Alex Rider's main antagonists is the world's most dangerous criminal organisation, like SPECTRE. There is a scene in Russian Roulette where a character has a Black Widow (one of the most venomous spiders in the Amazon) on his shoulder, like the scene in this movie.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Dent shot "Bond" (actually pillows in bed) six times. After some plot point explanation by Bond, Dent lurches for his gun, but it's empty, hence the Bond line, "That's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six." As a kind of payback coda, Bond shoots Dent once, and Dent flips off the bed onto the floor. Bond then fires five more rounds into Dent's back. Censors scaled this back to two total shots, with just one to the back. Reportedly a second version of the scene was filmed, but not in the final film, showing Dent firing off one last bullet before being shot down by Bond. This actually explains why Dent is shown firing a seven-shooter, rather than a six-shooter.
Dr. No was resurrected in 'Hot-Shot,' the daily James Bond newspaper strip. The strips were based on the Ian Fleming novels, not the films, so the character survived being buried in guano rather than his fall into the reactor vat. In the 'Dr. No' strip, No had metal pincers for hands (as in the novel) but in 'Hot-Shot,' the pincers have been replaced with mechanical hands more similar to the film version of the character.
If you look closely during the end scene, you may spot the first time time a Bond villain has what would become a series cliche shorthand for world domination. In this first movie, it's a globe of Earth, although others have a huge 2D map or an oversized globe.
Once inside Dr No's base, whilst they are escorted to dine with Dr. No, Honey notices James' hands are sweating. This is possibly the only time in any Bond movie that he openly admits that he's scared. This also helps to remind the audience that he's a real man, and not invincible, and increases the tension.