Bond: Sean Connery
Classic, Cheese or Crap?: CLASSIC
The film that launched the Bond franchise.
Classic, cheese or crap? What are you, kidding me? CLA-SSIC. CLA-SSIC.
I think to put this film in the proper perspective, we should start with the fact that it’s coming up on its fiftieth anniversary. Fifty years. Half a century. John F. Kennedy was present in a country that had never heard of the Beatles.
Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli took an Ian Fleming spy novel and put it up on the big screen. They hired Terence Young to direct a script by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather. And for Bond? They chose an ex Mr. Universe contestant, best known for a supporting role in Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” Sean Connery.
The rest, as they say, is history.
While the so called “Bond Formula” is still obviously in its zygote stage, there are so many classic scenes and elements at play here that movie lovers – and especially Bond aficionados have no choice but to be awed. Bond introducing himself while lighting a cigarette at a baccarat table. “Bond. James Bond.” If that moment doesn’t make you smile, you need to check your pulse. Ursula Andress walking out of the ocean in her famous white bikini. Seriously, every five minutes or so, you can catch yourself thinking, that’s the first time Bond ever ____.
And then there’s the villain, Dr. Julius No.
If you asked me to name my favorite Bond villain, I would probably have to go with Auric Goldfinger, but Dr. No would be a close second. With his Nehru jacket and mechanical hand and that ultra precise way of talking, he seems like he would be a good villain in an episode of Jonny Quest. We hear him first… in that all white room with the long shadows… talking to his henchman. Such a cool touch. His plan is to sabotage a US space launch from his Island base. The command center he operates from is so ripe for Austin Powers spoofing – it practically comes equipped with a “Press Here To Destroy Base” button. I love it! His scene with Bond, where they discuss SPECTRE, is something to be savored. This movie is named after his character, and he lives up to the challenge.
This is the seed from which the Bond Franchise grew. So all the problems the modern viewer might have with it – which I usually like to acknowledge – can get chucked out the window as far as I’m concerned.
“Bond. James Bond.” This was the film he introduced himself to the world.