Licence to travel – following James Bond around the world: Dr. No

by in Features, Home.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that most of you are aware of the fact that a new James Bond film has just been released. With ‘Skyfall‘ breaking box office records and getting rave reviews around the world, we have the perfect excuse to start a new series about 007’s travels here on the site. It is also 50 years since the first film in the franchise hit the big screen, with Sean Connery in the role of the tough, wise-cracking secret agent.

An essential element of the appeal of the early movies remains in place today – the use of exotic foreign locations. Yet the impact of seeing Bond (and of course Ursula Andress) against a backdrop of white sands and turquoise waters in Jamaica was far greater in 1962 when long-distance travel was out of the reach of most people. The escapism of the Bond films was not just about the action and the gadgets; the fabulous locations were a major draw too.

In this series we’ll be returning to locations used in each of the 23 films (we’re purists and are not including the first ‘Casino Royale’ or ‘Never say never again’). We’ll show you how to find them, where to stay nearby and let you know of any 007 experiences you really shouldn’t miss – such as performing the actual bungee jump from the opening sequence of ‘Goldeneye’. We’ll add a short summary of the plot, some video clips and throw in some fun trivia and goofs for each movie too, because we’re nice like that. Lights, camera, action!

 

Dr. No, 1962

The poster

Image (c) impawards.com

The trailer

The plot

In the film that launched Agent 007 on the world and kicked off the mega-franchise, Sean Connery is pitted against Dr No. The villain’s dastardly plan is to destroy the U.S. space program. In order to confront Dr. No Bond travels to Jamaica, meeting Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) on the way for an epic show-down in the megalomaniac’s island lair.

The countries

England, Jamaica

The locations

The film opens in Kingston, Jamaica, whith ‘three blind mice’ shuffling their way down Harbour Street in the downtown area. After leaving a bridge game, British agent John Strangway is murdered by the ‘blind’ trio and whisked away – and a file labelled ‘Dr. No’ is stolen from his house. This occurs outside the ‘Queens Club’, which is now the Liguanea Club on Knutsford Boulevard – a private sports club and hotel.

Strangway’s villa – where his secretary is also killed – was on Kinsale Street, beneath the Blue Mountains but has sadly since been demolished.

Image (c) 192.com

Enter 007, in one of many scenes which create a template for future films. We see him playing chemin-de-fer at Les Ambassadeurs, behind the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, in London’s Mayfair. This is the first time the immortal line “Bond, James Bond” is used. The club is still open if you want to have a flutter, but don’t expect it to look like the movie – all interior filming took place in the studio.

Where to stay on location

The ultimate Dr. No-era accommodation would have to be the London Hilton on Park Lane hotel, just round the corner from Les Ambassadeurs. Request a room on one of the higher floors for superb views of the city.

Bond experiences

Put your best tux on and try your luck at Les Ambassadeurs Club.

While not specifically about Dr. No, the James Bond Bus Tour of London does pass by a number of famous London locations used in the books and films and is highly recommended for fans. But back to the story…we’re introduced to Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and the banter between her and Bond which became a traditional part of the movies before our man is sent to the West Indies. This will also become a regular destination for 007.

Image (c) skyscrapercity.com

After landing at Norman Manley International Airport he is met by one of Dr. No’s goons, ‘Mr Jones’. The airport used to be the main one on the island but is now mostly used for internal flights.

Image (c) viajaramerica.net

After a fight in which Bond kills the imposter, Bond drives to meet the Colonial Secretary at ‘Government House’. The filmmakers used the real King’s House in New Kingston as James Bond arrives with his dead passenger. And so begins a history of one-liners when Connery quips, “make sure that he doesn’t get away”. It is widely held that this was not in the script and was thought up by Connery and director Terence Young.

Bond meets up with Quarrel at Morgan’s Harbour near Port Royal.

Miss Taro’s house is one the fictitious ‘Magenta Drive’ and is in fact a villa at what is now known as the Couples Sans Souci Hotel in Ocho Rios in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. It has undergone radical change since it was used in 1962.

Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Frank Peters

One of the most exotic locations is found outside Ocho Rios – a set of waterfalls where Bond and Quarrel arrive on the shore of ‘Crab Key’. The cascades are a mile west of Dunn’s River, three miles west of Ocho Rios.

Image (c) jamaicatripper.com

The beach where Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) appears from the water in that iconic scene is Laughing Waters, which at the time was a private section of Roaring River. This was the estate of Mrs Minnie Simspon, a Bond fan and recluse.

Image (c) 007james.com

Dr No is holed up in a bauxite mine on ‘Crab Key’ – a real bauxite mine in fact. The Kaiser Terminal is on the coastal road near Ocho Rios on the northern shore, and the mangrove swamp Bond and Honey are captured after the ‘dragon’ appears is Falmouth, about 40 miles to the west.

Where to stay on location

Of course if you really want to push the boat out (literally and metaphorically) you’ll have to opt for the Fleming Villa at Goldeneye Resort. With its own beach, pool, gardens and staff you’ll certainly feel like James Bond – or one of the film stars who have played him. The only downside is that you need a film star’s wages to stay here too, of course. But for a once-in-a-lifetime treat, a Bond fan can do no better – Ian Fleming wrote the books at the desk in the villa – and with all that pampering you may feel inspired to write too.

A slightly less extravagant but equally relevant place to stay is the Couples Sans Souci hotel.

Bond experiences

There are a number of local tour operators offering guided trips to the beaches and other locations, but you can go under your own steam too with a hire car or taxi.

The classic lines

Bond: I admire your courage Miss..?

Silvia: Trench. Silver Trench. I admire your luck Mr?

Bond: Bond. James Bond.

M: A double-oh number means you’re licenced to kill, not get killed.

Bond: [referring to the dead taxi driver] Sergeant, make sure he doesn’t get away.

Bond:  Who are you working for?

Dent: I might as well tell you, as you won’t live long enough to use that information… [He tries to shoot Bond but his gun is empty]

Bond: That’s a Smith and Western and you’ve had your six…

Bond: I think they were on their way to a funeral.

Miss Taro: I’ll just go and put some clothes on.

Bond: Don’t go to any trouble on my account.

M: Oh, Miss Moneypenny, forget the usually repartee, 007 is in a hurry.

Waiter: One medium-dry vodka martini, mixed like you said, Sir, not stirred…

Dr. No: That’s a Dom Pérignon ’55. It would be a pity to break it.

Bond: I prefer the ’53 myself.

Honey: What are you doing here? Looking for shells?

Bond: No, I’m just looking.

The trivia

Monty Norman created what is probably the most memorable movie theme tune ever, yet was apparently paid a ‘pittance’ for his work. He adapted the Bond theme from a show-tune called “Good Sign, Bad Sign” composed by Norman and taken from a musical which never made it to stage or screen. It was John Barry who arranged and orchestrated Norman’s theme to produce the now-legendary signature music.

This is the only James Bond film so far without a pre-title action sequence.

The now famous gun barrel sequence (in which Bond walks across the screen, turns and fires a gun at the audience) was a last-minute addition devised by Maurice Bender. It was a low-tech affair created by pointing a pinhole camera through a real gun barrel. Yet the figure was not Sean Connery but stuntman Bob Simmons, and the same sequence was be used again at the beginning of both “From Russia With Love” [1963] and “Goldfinger” [1964]. Pub quiz afficianados take note: this therefore means that Simmons was the first person to appear as Bond on the big screen.

The reason that “Dr. No” was proposed as the first film produced by EON productions through United Artists is believed to because the plot of the book was relatively straightforward and did not involve a huge number of locations – making it easier to sell to UA. Nor were there expected to be any problems in gaining the rights to shoot on location in Jamaica.

Originally the plan was for the character of Sylvia Trench, whom Bond first meets in Les Ambassadeurs, to become a recurring character. Bond’s heavy workload and frequent travel would frustrate their relationship during the first five movies but she would finally take her place as lead Bond Girl in the sixth. She did reappear in the next film, “From Russia With Love” [1963] and remains the only Bond girl to appear in two films (as the same character) but the idea was dropped afterwards.

The Swiss actress Ursula Andress allegedly received $6000 for her part in the film – a healthy $1000 per week for six weeks work. Yet the producers’ disliked her accent so her voice was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl. Andress’ singing voice was dubbed by Diana Coupland and Dr. No himself was also dubbed.

The white bikini worn by Ursula Andress in the movie was sold at Christie’s in London in February 2001 for £35,000. The buyer was  Robert Earl of Planet Hollywood.

Ian Fleming suggested his distant cousin, Christopher Lee, for the role of his villain. Lee did eventually join the James Bond family when he played Scaramanga to Roger Moore’s Bond in “The Man with the Golden Gun” [1974]. Fleming also asked Noel Coward to play the part of Dr. No. In a now-legendary response Coward sent a telegram that read, “Dr. No? No! No! No!” Coward’s objections included having to wear metal hands.

This is the first film in which SPECTRE is mentioned but the only one not to show (in one form or another) a glimpse of Number One: Ernst Stravro Blofeld.

Originally the scene where Bond kills Dent was filmed in a slightly different way. There were worries that the cold-blooded nature of the killing would be too much for the audience so a new sequence was shot. In this version Dent fires at Bond but misses – Bond then kills him in self-defence. Fortunately the director, Terence Young, decided the cold-blooded approach was more ‘Bond’.

Professor Dent shot ‘Bond’ (or rather the pillows in his bed) six times. During the ensuing scene where Bond is shown to have been waiting for Dent the latter reaches for his gun and fires but he has no bullets left, hence the Bond line, “that’s a Smith and Wesson, and you’ve had your six.” Bond shoots Dent once and Dent flips off the bed onto the floor. 007 then proceeds to fire five more rounds into Dent’s back. This was deemed excessive by the censors and scaled back to two shots, with just one to the back. It was reported that an alternative version of the scene was filmed but not used in which Dent fires one last bullet before being shot dead by Bond. This helps explain why Dent is in fact shown firing a seven-shooter, not a six-shooter.

When Dr. No’s men emerge on the beach to try to kill Bond, Quarrel and Ryder, the sequence had to be re-shot because the ‘gunfire’ attracted the attention of a bunch of off-duty US Naval officers who appeared on the set to see what was happening.

A long scene was cut from the end of the film which results in a segment that makes little sense. In the final version of the movie Ryder is dragged off by some of Dr. No’s henchmen and 007 later discovers her manacled to the ground in a cave. Dr. No hinted that his men would use her for their own amusement, but it seems they had a different idea. It is only when viewing the deleted scene that it becomes clear: what the men decided would be most amusing was to stake out Ryder as bait for a bunch of hungry land crabs. Bond was to burst in and find her covered in crustaceans, but the crabs rather unhelpfully died before completing their scene. In the final cut Ryder is seen to be in danger of drowning.

The Japanese division of United Artists planned to release the film as “We Don’t Want a Doctor”. The posters were actually printed but luckily the misunderstanding of the title was pointed out before it was too late.

Although they had initially been hesitant, when United Artists saw “Dr. No” and realised just how big a potential hit they hand on their hands, they ramped up promotion of the film. As an example, ‘Bond girls’ were employed to give away complementary copies of Fleming’s novel outside cinemas.

The film cost £1 million to produce.

The goofs and gaffes

When 007 makes a call from the telephone booth at the airport, the lighting and crew members are reflected in the glass door as he opens it to walk in and out. In a rare moment of continuity, when Felix Leiter opens the door you can see them again.

When Bond puts talcum powder on his briefcase so that he will be able to see if it has been tampered with he puts the case on a table with a mirror and some perfume bottles. A little later, the case has magically moved to the other side of the table and the perfume bottles have disappeared, replaced by a magazine.

Bond’s is woken by a poisonous spider in his bed, but it’s clear that the spider is on a glass plate whenever Connery’s face is in shot. The only time it crawls on a real arm is when the stuntman takes over. This was due to Connery having a serious phobia of spiders.

Miss Taro calls 007 and invites him to her house. The address she gives him is 239 Magenta Drive yet later on, when Bond calls for a cab he tells the cab company that the address is 2171 Magenta Drive – to which Miss Taro agrees. A partial effort was made to change this when the film was released as part of the James Bond Collector’s Set Volume 1 on video – the close captions show the address as Magenta Drive 2171 on both occasions.

As we insinuated rather cheekily before, continuity was clearly not a major focus in 1962. While Bond is at Miss Taro’s house waiting for Professor Dent his tie disappears briefly as he attaches the silencer to his gun. Keep your eye on Bond’s socks here too – they keep changing length. When Bond shoots at the ‘dragon’, his gun changes from a Walther PPK to a Colt .45. Not only that, 007 appears to run out of ammunition twice while shooting but without visibly reloading he is somehow able to keep firing. Q branch were clearly helping with some gadget or other…

In the rather brief (for a Bond film) car chase, when the hearse goes over the cliff it miraculously turns into an entirely different car.

When 007 is crawling through the ventilation shaft inside Dr. No’s lair, the tunnel walls visibly wobble.

When a rush of hot water floods the shaft, Connery’s hairpiece is displaced. He then kicks open a grille and drops down into Dr. No’s main laboratory. Er, so where did the water go? In fact, why is water being pumped through the ventilation system?

We hope you enjoyed this article. James Bond will return in the next installment of the series – From Russia with Love

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