Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1958) di Ian Fleming. Scen.: Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather. F.: Ted Moore. M.: Peter Hunt. Scgf.: Ken Adam. Mus.: Monty Norman. Int.: Sean Connery (James Bond), Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder), Joseph Wiseman (Dr. No), Jack Lord (Felix Leiter), Bernard Lee (‘M’), Anthony Dawson (professor Dent), John Kitzmiller (Quarrel), Zena Marshall (Miss Taro), Eunice Gayson (Sylvia Trench), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny). Prod.: Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli per Eon Productions, Ltd.. 35mm. D.: 110’. Technicolor.
Set primarily in one location and with the pyrotechnics held back until the final reel, James Bond’s first big-screen outing is a long way from the explosive, globe-trotting adventures that we have become accustomed to. It’s a low-key affair, leaning more towards intelligence and spycraft, with the most energetic fight occurring between Bond’s shoe and a tarantula. But the DNA of the series remains unchanged, and what’s striking about Dr. No is how immediately and confidently it established its identity, serving up so many stylistic tropes that would become 007 hallmarks over the next six decades. It’s a film of perfect entrances. Bond is first viewed through Maurice Binder’s gun barrel (actually stuntman Bob Simmons) before we meet him at the Baccarat table. Sean Connery’s opening words “Bond, James Bond” made him a star, and he imbues the character with a magnetism, ruthlessness (“You’ve had your six” he tells a quivering soul whose gun has run dry) and sly wit that set the benchmark for the five actors who would later inhabit the role. Bond didn’t even get the film’s most memorable introduction, though. When the bikini-clad Ursula Andress emerged from the sea as Honey Ryder she gave us the kind of instantly iconic entrance that the series often tried to emulate (notably paying direct homage in 2002’s Die Another Day), but has never equalled. The cinematography was by Ted Moore, who would go on to shoot six more Bond films. Given a modest budget, they allowed the Caribbean location to do much of the visual heavy lifting, with its bright sunlight and deep blue seas, before finally giving production designer Ken Adam the chance to stretch his imagination with Dr. No’s lair. From the villain’s concrete living quarters (boasting Goya’s Duke of Wellington, stolen from the National Gallery in 1961), to the facility’s purple-hued tunnels, and the nuclear control room with its glowing radioactive pool and red lights of doom, it lends the film a suitably spectacular setting for its finale, and acts as a teaser for the more elaborate creations to come.