On a mission in Jamaica, suave Agent 007 (Sean Connery) — in the first of the James Bond films — finds mad scientist Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) plotting to derail the U.S. space program and take over the world, pushing Bond into an intimate alliance with the sexy Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress). With the help of Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), Bond battles seductive double agents and sinister villains in his quest to save the human race.
Rating: 9 out of 10
My first theatrical exposure to a genuine James Bond film was when I saw (I’m cringing right about now) MOONRAKER in 1979. Ugh. What a way to cash in on Star Wars. Well, Disney did it with “The Black Hole,” so why not UA? After the movie I felt as if I had seen all they had in the cool, neat, little package that is James Bond so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Meh” and moved on to my next flick. My Uncle and Grandfather had insisted that Bond had a very good run of films waaaaay back even before my time. I found it incredulous but hey who was I to argue with my Grandfather and Uncle? So this is what happened.
Right around the time I graduated high school I went down to Tower Records and Video near Soho, Manhattan and bought every Bond film to date up to Diamonds are Forever on Videocassette. When I got home I popped in “Dr. No” first and that was the beginning of a fruitful and long relationship with Sean Connery as the baddest spy to have ever walked this planet. “Dr. No” was amazing, but I was left wondering how they made “Moonraker.” Dr. No was produced by Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman back in the early 1960s and it was after they saw Connery in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” that they knew they had someone who could pull off their version of the hard- nosed, all business agent. But Connery brought more to the table than that. He had danger and threat lurking just behind those studly Scottish lips.
Swiss actress Ursula Andress, who was cast after being seen in a photograph just two weeks before shooting began, is my very first Bond girl. Who will ever live up to that walking out of the water onto the beach scene? NO ONE! And She can act, too! I must, in all honestly, say that Joseph Wiseman out-acts just about everyone in this film as the evil megalomaniac Dr. No who is involved in appropriate evil Cold War hi-jinks with that grand-poobah of evil global organizations S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Wiseman is chilly, dangerous and very aloof and that makes him very evil and believable. This film is just all around a must see Bond film and a must-own for spy film enthusiasts. Connery is just stunning to behold as he swaggers and assassinates his way through this very economical spy thriller. Now if only I can sell off all those Bond videocassettes…