007 – No Time to Die, the twenty-fifth official film in the longest-running cinema franchise, is set to open on September 30, 2021 – after being postponed last year due to the pandemic. In order to heat up the engines of this new overproduction, which, as said, is part of one of the largest, most traditional and beloved film franchises in the history of the seventh art, we decided to create a new series of materials dissect a little bit all the previous films, bringing you countless curiosities and a lot of information.
Here we’ll start with Ground Zero, the first film adaptation of the character from the pages of spy books, written by British author Ian Fleming. The satanic Dr. No was the kickoff and here we will know a little more about the beginning of the mythology of the character and his trajectory in the cinema.
In the 1950s, author Ian Fleming already had in his repertoire a series of books featuring the British Queen’s secret agent, James Bond. The writer, in addition to being a journalist, had served as a naval intelligence officer and used all his knowledge to detail the character’s adventures. However, the movement to bring an adaptation of one of his books to the screen only came when then-US President John F. Kennedy elected From Russia With Love one of his. favorite books. The repercussion of such an announcement raised the status of the works to another level and so, without wasting time, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman acquired the rights to the cinema.
Through their production company, EON Pictures (Everything or Nothing), the couple selected Dr. No to launch the franchise on the big screen. Interestingly, this is not the first book in the series, but the sixth.
Buying the rights for an accommodation is only the first step. Perhaps the most difficult thing is to appoint an interpreter. And so the epic of producers Broccoli and Saltzman began in the early 1960s. Some big names of the time were targeted, but many refused (believe me). It was when they met the eyes of a young Scottish actor, then 29, in the Disney children’s fantasy film ‘The Legend of the Magical Dwarfs’ (1959), that the men in costume had realized they were facing what they wanted, a charismatic performer and owner of great potential. At the time, Sean Connery had already done important work, but it was far from a familiar face. Coming from his humble origins, the actor had previously been a bodybuilder and served in the navy, meaning he had the poise and discipline for the job. However, he was a rustic man, who needed to be corrected for the gentleness and elegance the role demanded. Thus, the director Terence Young (elected to direct the feature film), a bon vivant playboy, took on the task of the schoolboy Connery in the art of “good living“, dressing him properly, taking him in good restaurants and frequenting large circles. Boring little job, isn’t it?
Arguably it worked wonders, since in his first foray, Sean Connery would leave his mark and the first time he uttered the words “Bond, James Bond” entered the annals of the seventh art.
In the plot, Bond is tasked with investigating the disappearance of an agent from MI6, the British spy service, and sets off for Kingston, Jamaica. In other words, expect beautiful places such as beaches and seas, in addition to tropical landscapes. In this first attack, the character showed himself to be a citizen of the world and the concept of “knowing the globe through his films” was already established.
The trails lead you to a small, isolated island 30 miles north of Jamaica, the fictional Crab Key. On the spot, the natives tell the legend of a fire-breathing “dragon” that arrives at dusk, which they fear to have done. . In fact, it is a heavily guarded gunman base, led by the mysterious Dr. No, and intended for an obscure and very dangerous purpose. Well, despite the high level of wickedness and terrorism, the “satanic” of the title was “present” in our Brazilian translation, always ready to surprise us with his creativity.
Bondgirls and allies
The first one we never forget. And while Sean Connery is regularly voted by many as the best 007 in cinema, his female counterpart whom fans remember a lot is also from this film. The “bondgirl”, as the characters who acted with the secret agent on their adventures have become known, invariably involving themselves lovingly with him, may even be a term considered politically incorrect today. But it is a heritage that many actresses are proud of and for which they have made their careers. The first to score a big goal was the Swiss Ursula Andress – the beauty of the biotype era: very blonde and in a bikini. Well, and the character stands out for her beauty, since her personality traits are considered almost childish, they are so naive. She’s a shell and coral fisherwoman, part of the international spy plot, much like a parachute.
Although this is a timeless franchise, very important and still very influential, that does not preclude any film which is a portrait of its time. In our ever-changing society, it is clear that much of what we see portrayed on the canvas is very dated, and some elements now descend quite square, having aged poorly. This is the case with the racial stereotype, a situation in which the art of the past saw no problem, but today it is seen as a painful open sore. We have, for example, the character of Miss Taro, an Asian femme fatale. The problem is that she is played by Briton Zena Marshall, made up to pretend to be an Asian. Something very delicate. Apart from that, the character Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) also falls into some nasty racial stereotypes.
The same can be said of the film’s main villain, Dr. No. He is interpreted by the Canadian Joseph Wiseman and described in the book as a descendant of German-Chinese. For the feat, the production used ethnic makeup in Wiseman, adding such Asian features. Despite such discomfort, focusing only on the period, Wiseman and Dr No can be proud to be the first enemies of an 007 production and to make history. The curious thing is that the villain only appears with 1h20min of screening of the film, appearing almost like these great revelations of suspense, when we discover the culprit of a crime. Dr. No is the wicked spirit behind all of the machinations we see throughout the plot. In the end, we revealed that he was a member of SPECTER, a terrorist organization that will be a stumbling block for the hero along his path, and already appeared on his first mission. Another interesting detail in the composition of the antagonist is that he has no hands, but instead replaced them with powerful robotic hands, able to effortlessly knead a solid metal figure. Which gives the hangman a very cartoonish aspect of comic book history, very typical of Pulp culture.
In the end, 007 Against the Satanic Dr. No behaves much more like a suspense and espionage film, than like a work of unrestrained action, a hysterical blockbuster like the franchise has become and has become known. Everything here was more minimalist, and that is perhaps why many still have it as one of the collection’s most beloved productions. Everything is contained and believable – well, almost everything. Others will miss precisely those cemented elements later in the series, such as the tech gadgets and especially the aforementioned jaw-dropping action scenes. Other than that, many define this first feature film almost as a piece of B cinema, as there was no setting for what it would be at this point. It is also indisputable that Dr. No has a deliberately slow pace, and the plot begins to engage its other half.
With a budget of just over US $ 1 million, 007 Against the Satanic Dr. No premiered in UK on October 5, 1962. The film premiered in the country on October 10 of the same month and same year, and arrived in the United States. the following year, May 29, 1963. Here in Brazil, it opened on September 7, 1963. The Work achieved a worldwide box office of $ 59 million, guaranteeing its absolute public success and immediately opening the doors for a continuation – which comes the following year. But that’s a question for the next file …
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