James Bond 007 film-by-film thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mr_spenalzo, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. mj_patrick

    mj_patrick Forum Resident

    Elkhart, IN, USA
    I love Dr. No. I see it more as a blueprint or pilot for the series.

    Sean Connery was and still is great. He defined the role.

    Monty Norman and John Barry established the music that defined the series.

    It has one of my favorite Maurice Binder Bond opening sequences– for as simple as it is, it works. Great color.

    Ursula Andress... her scene emerging from the ocean set the standard for all Bond girls to follow.

    The dragon requires some suspension of disbelief, but the "Three Blind Mice" sequence is equally amusing to me– three Jamaican hitmen posing as blind men... but that's all part of it's charm. We're talking about a film that's almost 60 years old. Even with its flaws it's still a great film and I personally find it more entertaining than most action films today.

    Had Binder not developed the recurring gun barrel sequence or the Bond film title opening sequences, or Monty Norman and John Barry established the soundtrack music, I'm not so sure we'd have the amount of Bond films after Connery left. I'm not so sure it would have made it past one or two films.
  2. Slappy9001

    Slappy9001 Forum Resident

    Kingston, PA
    It's easy to underestimate the brilliance of DR. NO all these years later, but brilliant it is. The Bond movies got bigger through the years--more action, more sex, more everything--but it all started here and for the most part the movie has held up very well. Bond is a badass in this movie, more so than in any other Bond film. He kills Dent with the nonchalance of a pro yet remains a sympathetic and likeable character. In fact, aside from war movies where enemy soldiers are shot/knifed from behind, I'm hard-pressed to think of another instance that predates DR. NO where the hero kills someone in such a coldblooded fashion. This was part of the film's impact--heroes didn't do things like that.

    The film isn't perfect, but what it may occasionally lack in polish it more than makes up with style. It is hard to believe that DR. NO was a low budget film when you take in the sets and location work in Jamaica. Connery did not yet know how to play Bond, and the character is at his most thuggish in this film. Note how he twists the arm of the photographer girl, then tosses her aside when he's gotten what he's wanted. This is not a problem, however, since Connery's charisma more than offsets these aspects. What is missing most from his performance is the sense of playfulness that would inform his performance in the next four Bond films.

    Ursula Andress is, of course, a great visual asset to the film. Her voice was dubbed by a voice actress but it doesn't matter. She conveys the character well enough in her expressions and body language. The supporting cast varies between being okay--Jack Lord as Felix Leiter--and very good--this was the film that introduced M and Moneypenny after all, and Lois Maxwell and Bernard Lee are perfect in their small roles. Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No effectively sets the mold for all future Bond villains.

    Stuff to Like:
    • Great sets by Ken Adam, especially considering the budget. Very smart filmmaking to maximize their effectiveness.
    • It is undeniably cool to see Connery strut on the screen to the "James Bond Theme".
    • What is still striking all these years later is the violence, which was NOT the norm in films at the time. Too bad the violence was somewhat censored--Dent's killing originally had more shots.
    • James Bond is something of a cad in the books. Somehow Connery pulls off the behavior while remaining sympathetic.
    • Ursula Andress in that bikini.
    • Great location work in Jamaica.
    • The maze sequence.
    • Mystery elements of the story are well played.
    • Bond sings!
    • No gadgets.
    Stuff to Dislike:
    • Bond is hardly likeable in this film. This was okay for one film but if he hadn't become more likeable in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE the series may not have taken off.
  3. Somewhat Damaged

    Somewhat Damaged Forum Resident

    I recently watched all the films (out of chronological order) and wrote capsule reviews and ranked them as I went along. I hadn't seen most of them in over a decade.

    Best to worst IMO

    Live and Let Die (1973)

    The Living Daylights (1987)

    Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

    Licence to Kill (1989)

    Goldfinger (1964)

    Dr No (1962)

    Thunderball (1965)

    The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

    Moonraker (1979)

    The World is Not Enough (1999)

    Goldeneye (1995)

    Octopussy (1983)

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

    Casino Royale (2006)

    For Your Eyes Only (1981)

    Never Say Never Again (1983)

    Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

    Die Another Day (2002)

    The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

    You Only Live Twice (1967)

    Skyfall (2012)

    Spectre (2015)

    Quantum of Solace (2008)

    A View to a Kill (1985)

    From Russia with Love (1963)


    Dr No (1962)

    James Bond (Sean Connery) investigates a missing British agent in Jamaica.

    Competently made without too much silliness. Connery is like a 800 pound gorilla barely contained in a suit. The first half is stronger than the second.

    Above average
  4. mr_spenalzo

    mr_spenalzo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    :wtf: From Russia With Love the worst? Can't wait until we get to that one (next) to find out how come!
    TimeWarper, vzok, fr in sc and 5 others like this.
  5. mr_spenalzo

    mr_spenalzo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I love the Marguerite LeWars ("Freelance!") interview bits from one of the Inside Dr No documentary. This (slightly glitchy) video compiles them:

    Siegmund likes this.
  6. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

    we all have opinions but......that's a real head scratcher
  7. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Unbelievable. OHMSS way too low as well. Diamonds are Forever would be close to my worst (haven't seen them all though).

    Dr No is one of the top 5 which includes Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and ? *

    * Actually there are only 4 good ones.
    johnsiddique and junk like this.
  8. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Ottawa, Canada
    I've binge watched them before, including Never Say Never Again. (a few times now). You gotta check out the original b/w Casino Royale.
    I bought the Blu-ray box set on Black Friday for $60 w/Spectre, and bought the Never Say Never Again Blu-ray separately to complete the set! :edthumbs:

    Sean Connery for the win!
  9. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Best Bond for sure.
    I'm mean there's only one Beatles.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  10. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Peter Lorre in James Bond, cool.
  11. Somewhat Damaged

    Somewhat Damaged Forum Resident

    The film is a total bore, and not even an ‘interesting’ dud like A View to a Kill. Other opinions are widely available. This film was why I gave up watching them in chronological order.

    From Russia with Love (1963)

    James Bond (Sean Connery) tries to get his hands on a Russian decoding device.

    Boring story told in a plodding way. I watched some of it at x2 as I was so bored. Eventually at the 70 minute point I gave up as the thought of another 40 minutes was horrifying. A very boring film.


    A week or so later:

    From Russia with Love (1963)

    I decided to finish the last 40 minutes. I watched it at x2 speed. Without the tedium of the first 70 minutes it was watchable, and during the Robert Shaw talking and fighting Connery section the film had a bit of a pulse, but otherwise it was still pretty tedious. It’s like a bad Hitchcock movie. I stand by my assessment that it’s a very boring film.

  12. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Oh oh behave. :D
    vzok and Pete Puma like this.
  13. Slappy9001

    Slappy9001 Forum Resident

    Kingston, PA
    We'll have to agree to disagree regarding the relative worth of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE...

    Bond purists will frequently cite FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE as the best Bond film, and from a purely technical level, I have a hard time arguing with that. Other Bond films may be more fun, but this film has the best plot by a wide margin. I'm not talking about set pieces, I mean overall story construction. It tells a cohesive, logical story that builds with an organic energy that simply does not happen in any of the other Bond films. The fight between Bond and Grant on the train is frequently mentioned as one of the great cinematic fight scenes--and I think it is--but when discussed all one hears mention of if intensity, editing and lighting. True, all of these things are sublime in the scene, but that's missing the point. It's effective because the story took the time to set it up. We had seen Grant throughout the entire film patiently waiting for this moment and the audience waited with him, the tension slowly building and building. The fight scene works so well because it's releasing that tension. Shaw and Connery are also both great physical actors, and they bring a commendable amount of realism to the fight.

    Connery is fabulous in this film. More confident in the role than he was in DR. NO, the typical Bond humor really started to manifest itself in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, with the lovely Daniela Bianchi a compelling Bond girl even though her entire performance was dubbed by another actress. Robert Shaw is simply outstanding in the role of Grant--scary and imposing precisely because he is based entirely in reality. No flying hats of death here, thank you very much. Director Terence Young again brings a considerable amount of style to the proceedings, and Peter Hunt's editing is outstanding as well, especially in the train fight scene. Great stuff all around.

    Stuff to Like:
    • I love the lascivious looks Bond displays during the girl fight.
    • Robert Shaw is genuinely frightening.
    • No gadgets per se, just realistic field equipment.
    • Q makes his first appearance.
    • Great locations--they really add to the flavor or the film. Unlike, say, how the locations add absolutely nothing to a film like OCTOPUSSY.
    • The first train ride in a Bond film occurs in this film.
    • Small in scope, but still works wonderfully precisely because the plot, locations, and acting are working together.
    • Blofeld's first appearance, albeit he would remain unnamed until YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.
    • Bond does nothing outrageous in this film. He is purely a spy in this movie and does normal spy stuff like surveillance, legwork, etc. Every Bond film that has tried to go "back to the basics" (FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS) have all tried to emulate this film.
    Stuff to Dislike:
    • I got nothing.
  14. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Young people general don't like movies unless their fairly recent ( at least a few years old) I've found.
  15. Great review and summary. I would also add that Col. Krebbs made a fine villain and the chess-playing SPECTRE Dude was perfectly full of himself and overconfident -played very well. Istanbul and the Balkans did make for some great backdrops. This is my favorite Bond Film to date.
  16. Left Field

    Left Field Forum Resident

    I love DR. NO, its a great little film. Ken Adams sets are spectacular and ground breaking.
    I love FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE a little more. It was an interesting idea for a storyline executed extremely well. The performance of Pedro Armendariz is a little under rated, especially considering the difficulties he was going through during the filming.
  17. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    Connery's performance in Dr. No is a little impatient. Obviously he was still feeling out the role. But overall a great start to the series. Steve McGarrett as Felix Leiter was always a bonus.
    willy likes this.
  18. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    I understand that it is the most typical spy movie of all of them, but Boring?
    Have you ever watched The Spy Who Came In From The Cold? Or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?
    Now those are boring.
    rufus t firefly likes this.
  19. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    I think we can say that FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is the thinking mans Bond film.
    willy, Hardy Melville and HenryFly like this.
  20. GlamorProfession

    GlamorProfession Forum Resident

    agree with your assessment.

    i think this is the best Bond movie. probably not my favorite, but the best.
    Daniela Bianchi....ooh la-la.
    Lotte Lenya plays a nasty little villain with those bladed shoes - lookout!
    and the song From Russia with Love starts a tradition of great Bond theme songs.
    willy and rufus t firefly like this.
  21. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    Russia was the second Bond film I ever saw, as it was for everybody back then. So for that time it was cool for me. At xmas the Sears catalogue sold the brief case with the rifle and goodies in it. Great stuff for a kid!

    But this time I watched Russia again looking at it from your point of view. And I can see why you would say it was boring.
    There was no yacht that turned into a speed boat, no ice castles, no surfing tidal waves, no ski chase, no tank chase, heck, there wasn't even a car.
    And the big battle scenes at the end would not show up until the next movie.
    All the big hyper Bond movie staples were still to come in 1963.

    But Russia is still a realistic spy film, and maybe the most realistic film of all the Bonds. It was Bond grounded in normalcy.
    I suppose that is why most of us Bond fans here like it.
  22. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    Anyone notice how much more Blofeld sounds like Telly Savalas than Donald Pleasence?
    How about that each time you see Grant in the car there is an orange VW bus near him?
    That when they get their tea served in the beginning, that maybe there is really no tea in the cups?
    I mean those are little cups and the son is swinging them quite a bit and nothing is spilling out.
  23. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Forum Resident

    I've always assumed the "dragon" was intended to only be seen from far away, out in the ocean where one could only make out the flames and a vague shape behind, and that they assumed that would be enough to scare anyone away from getting a closer look. They didn't expect anyone to make it to the beach to see it close up, and if they did...well we know what happened then.

    That's the only way I can really rationalize it.

  24. mr_spenalzo

    mr_spenalzo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    From Russia with Love is probably my favourite in the series.
    The whole film drips with a slightly menacing atmosphere.
    Connery/Bond is fascinating to watch; there are several scenes where his face tells you more than his words. The "hm-mm" he gives Tatiana after Kerim is chilling; you worry he's about to lose control. The hateful look in his eyes when just before (when he gives Tatiana a suitcase with beautiful clothes) he looked genuinely affectionate.
    Speaking of Tatiana: drop dead gorgeous.
    Speaking of small touches: I love the scene after Kronsteen wins the chess match and he walks off he completely ignores a spectator wanting to shake his hand.
    Marvellous scenes with Kerim Bey, Rosa Klebb and Grant.
    ooooh the gypsy fight... and the titles projected on the bellydancer.

    There's not a boring second here.

    If pushed for a weak spot in the film, I'd have to say the pre-titles. It's great the first time you see it, but the second (and beyond) times I can't help but wonder why the mask. Bit silly (and waste of money for SPECTRE... where do you buy Sean Connery masks anyway?).
    junk, vzok, rufus t firefly and 2 others like this.
  25. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    I see Dr. No as a straight ahead, uncomplicated spy story, much like the style of the novels themselves. I don't know what the expectations were from the producers regarding the reception of the film, but I doubt they had any genuine anticipation for the success the franchise was to become.

    Sure easy to point out certain flaws in the story and execution, but overall I like the film very much. In fact, I think that the first three Bond films are definitive, and I wouldn't change a thing in any of them.

    Favorite lines:
    Ryder: Are you looking for shells?
    Bond: No, I'm just looking.

    Bond, James Bond.

    Dr. No: That's a Dom Perignon '55, it would be a pity to break it
    Bond: I prefer the '53 myself...

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