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STUDIO: FOX/MGM
MSRP: $34.98
RATED: PG
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Audio Commentary Featuring Director Terence Young, & Members Of The Cast And Crew

007: Licence To Restore Featurette

The Guns Of James Bond Featurette

Premiere Bond: Opening Nights Featurette

007 Mission Control Interactive Guide

Inside Dr. No

Terence Young: Bond Vivant Feautette

Dr. No 1963 Featurette

Theatrical Trailers, TV And Radio Spots


 


The Pitch

British secret agent fights Chinese madman.

The Humans

Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord, Lois Maxwell and Joseph Wiseman

The Nutshell

James Bond is the greatest agent in Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Killing the bad guy and slamming some hot tail is the daily routine. But, a Chinese madman has become a thorn in the side of the West. So, it’s up to the Martini drinking hero of the Free World to kill the genius with no hands. But, what of the mysterious Honey Ryder? Will this vixen prove to be the fly in Bond’s ointment?



Aristocracy beats the natives again.



The Lowdown

Dr. No is a serious film about pulpy espionage goodness. Ian Fleming had been dominating the paperback novel for about a decade before Cubby Broccoli took his work to the big screen. Never quite sure where to begin, Cubby chose to jump ahead in the Bond canon. Dr. No isn’t a bad place to start. Especially when you’re trying to wash away the memory of the slightly lame CBS teleplay that aired roughly a decade prior.



I’d hit it with my goldfinger.



The Cold War might as well be the Old West to modern film audiences. Luckily, Dr. No asks nothing of its audience. Director Terence Young creates a world that wants you to believe in the ability of random madmen to hold the world hostage with a single nuclear weapon, reactor or Space Based Defensive Superweapon. The film lives and dies by Connery’s performance and the ol’ Scot delivers. From the opening charm at the casino to the final frames of the raft rendezvous, Connery never lets the audience forget that this is his film.



Eli Roth presents National Lampoon’s Vacation.


But, what can be said for the other trappings? Joseph Wiseman does a decent job as a white man forced to don racially offensive make-up to play Asian. Jack Lord remains the quintessential Felix Leiter. All the key supporters line up and build a show for Bond to knock out of the park. Then, there’s Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder. Honey is the first major Bond Girl and she helped define cinematic beauty for the last four decades. Borrowing from a skin mag’s take on Botticelli, Honey’s entrance overshadows her role throughout the movie.

Dr. No is a fun venture back to a time where women had sexually suggestive names and the men looked like extras from Mad Men. The Post-Modern world might have a hard time accepting these staples of yesteryear, while others might embrace the subtle misogyny that permeates through every scene. The mis-givings of modernity make it difficult to watch the film for what it is. A fun spy-thriller romp through the luscious Jamaica landscape. It’s not the greatest Bond film, but it’s far from the worse.



I originally had something insensitive to be placed here, but I accidental threw that cocktail napkin away. Let this caption be a word of warning. Always stock more cocktail napkins.



The Package

Dr. No comes
to Blu-Ray with an amazing release. You would expect as much from a killer franchise, but leave nothing to chance when it comes to screwing the High-Def consumer. Luckily, FOX/MGM didn’t skimp on this fan favorite. Sure, it would’ve been nice to have the films released by individual Bond actor or even by decade. But, you should be used to the random six disc releases by now.

The A/V Quality is amazing for a cheaply shot British film. It’s not like Dr. No was a Corman film, but the shoestring budget comes through at certain points in the transfer. I’m able to spot details such as re-used sets, information on MI-6 maps and I was even able to see the faint curve of Ursula Andress’s ass through her bikini bottom. If that’s not a ringing endorsement for Blu-Ray, then you’re a dirty pinko or a lady boy. All name-calling aside, I’ve got to call attention to the true hero of the set. The lossless audio fixes many of the drop-out issues assorted with the mixes created for the last few DVD releases. Hearing Dr. No on Blu-Ray is to hear Sean Connery speak clearly for the first time.

The only beef I have is that most of the special features are direct ports from the various Ultimate Editions that MGM and FOX have released over the last six years. I’ve heard this cross-cut audio commentary from Terence Young and others for what seems like the fourth time. The trailers, radio and tv spots are the same. Hell, the featurettes even post information that feels out of wack when brought into the Daniel Craig era. Still, that’s being kind of petty. You’d be denying yourself quite a treat if you didn’t go out of your way to pick up this stellar release.



Merchant Ivory presents The Remains of the HAM Radio.




9.8 out of 10


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