Monday, 12 October 2015

Film Reviews: Dr. No (1962) Part 1

Hey everybody and welcome to the first film review on this blog! As I said we will be starting with the 1962 adaptation from Ian Fleming's Dr. No, the first in the James Bond franchise.






The film opens by showing the audience the point of view of an enemy spy looking down the barrel of a gun. This imagery is used a lot throughout the Bond series, showing that the first film in the series is very important as it is there to start trends and themes that will be used in future films. This can also be said about the use of the perfect rendition of the well-known 'Bond Theme Tune', which is first used here.











The moving dots in this case fit the music and add some visual effects.













The story starts and we see action almost right from the beginning as we witness British Intelligence Agent John Strangways murdered by 'The Three Blind Mice' in Jamaica.







A common feature early on in the film are fast paced jump cuts, as seen when Strangways' secretary is also murdered.                                                                                                                    
I can understand that it adds pace and builds tension to the action sequence and a lot of people enjoy it for that reason. But I think, particularly this early on in the film, that the focus should be on the narrative - to allow the audience to really question why they were shot, rather than building unnecessary tension.




Despite the out-of-place jump cuts, the scene ends well as Dr No's Henchman pull his file from the cabinet.











 This shot raises a lot of questions about the movies Antagonist and his significance to the movie.


It then cuts to a bunch of people in an office around some really old radios(?) I think... Anyway they are discussing the trouble in Jamaica and then decide that it can only be sorted by one person.

Bet you've guessed already, haven't you? ;)



















It then cuts straight to a 'Les Ambassadeurs' (Posh Casino place) in London where the focus of the shot changes to one of the people around the table (clue: she really isn't that difficult to miss with her red dress and being the only young woman in the shot). But also in this scene we witness an Iconic piece of cinema:
"I admire you're luck, Mr..."
"Bond... James Bond"
You could say it's cheesy.. because it is. But the first shot of James Bond is a powerful one. For me this is one of the best scenes in the movie. It shows detailed and creative camera movements and angles to prevent the audience from actually seeing his face. That is one of the many reasons why it makes this moment so iconic. We are also introduced to Sylvia Trench (red dress lady) played by Eunice Gayson and voiced by Nikki van der Zyl (don't know why). We will see her a lot later on in the film as she becomes the first person to sleep with Bond.




Not long after he leaves we are introduced to another iconic character in the franchise, Miss Moneypenny, played by Lois Maxwell. Throughout the scene we witness Bond and Moneypenny in close proximity with each other about... 95% of the time. Really defining their relationship throughout the Bond franchise.




As the Moneypenny scene ends James enters the room in which 'M' is first witnessed played by Bernard Lee who discusses the mission he is about to give Bond. At this point we can see that Bond obviously has a certain level of respect for him.




In this shot, 'M' is shown in a position of power. - talking down to bond although for most of the scene they are both sitting. But even when Bond is in a position of power he is made to look insecure.








                                                            Bond caught with old gun.

                                                               
                                                  Bond Reluctantly puts old gun on table.

Earlier on in the scene we see Bond being forced to give up his 'Beretta' and switch it for a 'Walther PPK'.

It's hard to show with pictures but by actually watching the scene you can feel how uneasy this moment is, as he is reluctant to let go of his old gun. Although it is obvious he understands that he must obey 'M' no matter how he feels about the situation.





Moving swiftly on we see Bond arrive in Jamaica ahead of his mission, and immediately suspicious people are watching him, taking pictures, but lets focus on his Chauffeur, but lets focus on the Chauffer - who Bond discovers was not sent by the any of his allies after making a phone call to the embassy...




Yet he decides to go with the mysterious Chauffeur anyway...



It actually says a lot about Bond as a character who plays along with this man in an attempt to get information out of him, and eventually leads to the first fight scene of the franchise.

















Bond arrives at the embassy before he is then goes to Strangways' place where his secretary was murdered. Again, I criticize this scene as it gives out pointless information is given through the very brief dialogue and once again jump cuts make it all seem very disjointed and messy.




This is the only useful piece of information in this scene - when we discover a motive for Bond to head down to the docks to further investigate Strangways' death. However he could have found this out at the Embassy! Meaning that this pointless scene could have been cut out completely, which would have had no negative effect on the storyline whatsoever.



That's it for the first part of the review! What did you think of it?

Part 2 will be up Shortly! :D Thanks for reading!

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