Recently spent a pleasant few days enjoying the classic James Bond movies starring the original Bond -- Sean Connery. I catch moments of the movies when they play on TV but I hadn't watched them through for many years and it's been long enough that there were nifty bits I'd forgotten, enough that all of them felt a little bit fresh. Now I'm going to rate them and frankly the results surprised even me as I changed my opinion on some of these classic films. I will not be spoiling as I go as I assume most everyone has seen these.
My all-time favorite James Bond movie hands down is Dr. No. It's a great story well told with a rugged and virile Connery forging a role which had rarely been seen on the big screen. Bond in this movie is not a nice fellow, though often a charming one. He kills in cold blood, the killing of the henchman Professor Dent makes Bond different than other protagonists in movies, he's a killer through and through and his lack of any hesitation or remorse for his victim is stunning. Love the music in this one, the small bits of character, especially in regard to Quarrel, the cantankerous islander who helps Bond despite his superstitions. Felix Leiter never looked better as when he was portrayed by Jack Lord. But this one has it all, a super-spy luster as Bond races across the world to a remote and exotic location to save world peace when the vile Dr.No is "toppling" U.S. rockets. (It's the same plot used in the Jonny Quest debut episode too, so maybe that's why I love it so.) Dr. No as portrayed by Joeseph Wiseman is a great super-villain, a weirdo with credible but bizarre artificial hands. The Bond of his movie is vulnerable and he survives the escapade but certainly that was never certain. And of course there's Honey Ryder as portrayed by Ursula Andress. She's beautiful for certain and set the standard for future Bond girls.
This one holds up. The subsequent Bond movies only ever struggle to achieve the delightful balance of danger and high romance this one establishes so effectively. This is my favorite Bond movie starring any of the fine actors who have portrayed the character. It's a product of a time and moment when such conceits were not ironic in the least, just exceedingly cool.
More to come tomorrow.