Dr. No (60th Anniversary) Fathom Events

I was unable to find a Fathom Events Trailer for the screening of Dr. No last night, so instead you get this original trailer which is a lot of fun in itself.

I was only four when Dr. No was first released so I obviously did not see it then. It wasn’t until the late pary of the sixties that I caught up with it in a double bill with either “Thunderball” or “Goldfinger”, I can’ quite remember the match up. Whichever one it was , the other played on a separate bill with “From Russia with Love”. That’s how I first saw the original four James Bond films. 

Three of my five favorite 007 films are from the original Sean Connery list. “Dr. No” clocks in at number 4of all the James Bond films for me. It was the first film in the series that launched my sixty year love for all things Bond. It is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book with a few minor changes (there is no giant squid and SPECTRE has been retconned into the film series). 

Dr. No looks great on the big screen, this was a Digital Projection so there were no flaws from the film stock, it looks like it was from the remastering done for the Blu-ray set that came out ten years ago. I have been to Jamaica, although not Kingston, and the ocean and islands do look like what you see in the film. It is a beautiful place although I know there are some dark places that you probably don’t want to visit. 

When I was getting ready for “Spectre”, I did a countdown of 007 films, with the top seven reasons to love each film. For “Dr. No” here are the seven things I picked. There are some additional reasons you should invest in seeing this film. Although he is the first of the sacrificial lambs to go in Bonds place over the years, Quarrel is also one of the most memorable. John Kitzmiller, who played Quarrel, was an actor I’d never looked up before, but there are a couple of important highlights to mention. He won the Best Actor Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947, but even better, he was born in my parents hometown of Battle Creek Michigan. The parts that don’t age well are when Bond orders him around when they are on Crab Key, you know, “Fetch my shoes” and that kind of stuff. Still he was a salwart companion and ally of 007, and he died bravely fighting dragons. 

This was the introduction of the Monty Norman theme, jazzed up by John Barry, which has had some controversy over the years but for which the late Mr. Norman deserves credit for writing. The theme gets used as a running score element and is mixed with some of the Island tunes that set the locale. The scene in the nightclub with all of the patrons dancing to “Jump Up” has plenty of visual charm in a simple way, and the “Three Blind Mice” calypso version is used with the Maurice Binder titles and transitioned to a live shot very effectively at the end of the titles. This is also a film notable for not having a pre-title sequence. 

As a Fathom Event, they always put in a little extra. The Trivia screen shots were a nice touch before the movie, and they included a statement from Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson on the passing of Sean Connery from two years ago. After the movie, there was a long featurette on Daniel Craig called “Being James Bond”, it is not on my Blu-ray copy of “No Time to Die”, but it was clearly prepared as a promotional piece for the last of Craig’s Bond films. This was a legacy screening so it did not feel inappropriate to me to include it in the show.