Dr. No is the first James Bond movie, an introduction of the highly successful spy thriller parody.
Usually a spy thriller is about espionage, violence, and not sex appeal. But in these movies, all are exaggerated and handled with tongue-in-cheek. In other words, they’re lots of fun.
This is due to the main character, a classy British spy. In one scene, his priorities are laid out on a Casino table – a deck of cards, an alcoholic beverage, and a beautiful woman across him. This is man of vice, a man who would rather seduce than fight. He is all about class and introducing himself to the lady, he goes ”Bond, James Bond”. After a few words that secure her a bedroom invitation, he is interrupted for a mission.
Bond is asked to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent in Jamaica named Strangways (Although from the opening sequence we know he was assassinated). Bond travels there and visits all of Strangways affiliates. These include a CIA operative, a scientist, and a boat man. The evidence shows that Strangways was murdered for uncovering information about a secret island operation; one that involves radio transmissions interfering with the launching of American rockets in Florida.
As expected this is all true and after some sneaking around, Bond travels on a small boat to a beautiful island to discover: a secret factory, dangerous chemicals, a fire breathing “dragon”, a nefarious villain who owns a breathtaking aquarium, and a beautiful woman to fall in love with. The fundamentals of James Bond movies to come.
But because this is the first movie, everything is lower -tech and old fashion. He doesn’t go to a secret laboratory for new gadgets; a specialist approaches and just gives him a new pistol. He also doesn’t drive an Aston Martin. He rents a convertible in one scene and on another takes a taxi whose suspicious driver he gets to demonstrate some judo skills on. This is Bond in basic, bare, and primal form.
Dr. No is the villain, all dressed in white uniform and wearing black rubber gloves. He possesses unnatural strength and is able to crush metal with his grip. The man is narcissistic and vengeful against East and Western parts of the world. Then Bond cheekily tells him “We have many in our asylums that think they are Napoleon or God”. Naturally the two will end up in a fight. But this doesn’t happen hundreds of feet up while dangling from a high rise, the way modern actioners would have it. Bond and Dr. No engage in a clumsy struggle, a couple of metres over smoking radio-active water.
The film, directed by Terence Young and based on a novel by Ian Feming, is not really dependent on action sequences. It is about a young Sean Connery portraying James Bond. He delivers the dialogue with style, relish, and enjoyment, almost inviting viewers to mimic. He suits the character who in essence is a womanizer that fights powerful villains. Now how can that not sound enjoyable?