© 1962 Eon Productions

Dr. No (1962)

Other than snippets I happened to catch on television, I have never actually seen a single James Bond film. I have often considered watching the series starting with the first and progressing until the films lost their appeal for me. After watching Dr. No, I found I could pretty much end after the first one. I was somewhat interested in the series after reading a biography of Hitchcock, who bemoaned the fact that the Bond films ripped off his North by Northwest. Indeed, Bond creator Ian Flemming famously created the super spy with Cary Grant in mind for a film adaptation, although the first novel in the series was actually published a few years before the Hitchcock-Grant collaboration.

In my opinion, Hitchcock needn’t have worried. Although Sean Connery’s Bond has the same cool, collected charm under distress that Grant perfected in North by Northwest, Hitchcock’s sense of suspense and excitement are missing. Ken Adam’s production design, especially the kitsch sets in Dr. No’s underwater lair set the tone for the first two decades of the series, and was one of the few things to make the film interesting for me.

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