I read this for Popular Fiction when I was at uni, but I’d never seen the movie until last night.
I was really pleased to see that the standard Bond features of the opening sequence – the shot through the gun barrel, the silhouetted figures, etc – all started right back here; really does bring a lovely sense of continuity to the franchise.
As for the story… it was a bit different from how I remember the book. Ursula Andress (what a beautiful woman) has a perfect nose, unlike Honeychile in the book, which certainly changed her and Bond’s relationship. The action was a bit laughable, and the car chases were cringe-worthy. And if this was all the anthropology you were given, you would only ‘know’ that black people are always stupid, exist to obey White Man orders, and can be either good or bad; and Asians are always devious, cunning, and bad. And played by white people with bad make-up. Ouch.
Dr No himself is an interesting character. The reason I remember reading the book is because of an essay I wrote talking about how the villains are physically malformed somehow (No’s hands, and Lecter’s eyes in Silence of the Lambs), while the heroes are physically perfect. And really, No was always going to be a villain: a product of miscegenation (German and Chinese) and sin (a German missionary and a Chinese girl!). Poor lad never had a chance.
Overall… I did mostly enjoy it, if only for its historical value, but it really makes me doubt J’s occasional, continued push to buy the entire bck catalogue. The early Bonds just aren’t that good.