BOND: 10 Things You May Not Know About DR. NO

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Geek Dave can assure you, his intentions are strictly honorable.


1. Initially Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had wanted to produce Thunderball as the first James Bond film, but there was an ongoing legal dispute between the screenplay's co-author, Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming. As a result Broccoli and Saltzman chose Dr. No for two main reasons. Firstly, the timing was apposite, with claims that American rocket testing at Cape Canaveral had problems with rockets going astray, and secondly as most of the action took place in Jamaica there was no need for multiple location shooting, unlike most other stories in the Bond series.

2. The producers offered Dr. No to Guy Green, Guy Hamilton, Val Guest and Ken Hughes to direct, but all of them turned it down. They finally signed Terence Young because they felt he would be able make a real impression of James Bond and transfer the essence of the character from book to film. Young imposed many stylistic choices for the character which continued throughout the film series, and it was also Young who decided to inject much humour, as he considered that...
"a lot of things in this film, the sex and violence and so on, if played straight, a) would be objectionable, and b) we're never gonna go past the censors; but the moment you take the mickey, put the tongue out in the cheek, it seems to disarm."
3. When it came to casting Bond, creator Ian Fleming favoured someone like 52-year old David Niven (who would later play Bond in the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale), after all Fleming had written Bond as English, upper-class, refined and educated. Someone who fitted that mold was Roger Moore, and he just happened to be high on Cubby Broccoli's list of potential Bond's for Dr. No! Moore was only 34 at the time, but was under contract to The Saint so had to rule himself out, but his connection with the role back then was the first in a long line of future Bond's being sought for the part years before they finally received 00 status. Timothy Dalton was first approached to take over from Connery before finally replacing Moore, and Pierce Brosnan was lined up to replace Moore but eventually succeeded Dalton.


4. Keen to generate as much publicity as possible the producers arranged a contest to find the perfect man to play 007. Six finalists were chosen and screen-tested by Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and Ian Fleming. The winner was a 28-year-old model called Peter Anthony who looked the part but completely lacked the acting technique to play it. But it didn't matter because they already had a certain Scotsman lined up to go.

5. Sean Connery came to the producers attention after starring in the 1959 Disney movie Darby O'Gill And The Little People. Fleming was not impressed, feeling Connery to be too rugged (and too Scottish), but Broccoli was sure he was the man and tasked director Terence Young with teaching the rough-edged Connery some style and sophistication, something Young exuded. Fortunately Connery was a quick and eager learner, and soon he was so impressive that even Ian Fleming would call him perfect, and would in fact incorporate elements of Connery into his future Bond novels.


6. Ian Fleming wanted his cousin Christopher Lee to play Dr. No. Fleming also asked Noël Coward to play the part, but Coward famously turned down the role by replying with a telegram that read, "Dr. No? No! No! No!". Max von Sydow also declined the part, with the role eventually going to Joseph Wiseman. Eventually Lee did play a Bond villain, Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. Also, von Sydow played Blofeld in 1983’s unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again.

7. Dr. No was given a budget of just $1 million. An additional $100,000 was needed to complete the climax where Dr. No's base explodes, and for awhile United Artists were seriously considering pulling the plug on the production rather than stumping up the extra cash.


8. As a result of the low budget, production designer Ken Adam was given just £14,000 to design Dr. No's lair. Adam argued for an extra £6,000 to create his now-exemplary sets, he got it but savings had to be made elsewhere, for instance M's office featured cardboard paintings and a door covered in a leather-like plastic, and the aquarium in Dr. No's base was created using magnified stock footage of goldfish. Also, when art director Syd Cain discovered that his name had been left out of the credits, Broccoli gave him a golden pen to compensate because they did not have sufficient funds to make the credits again.


9. The first scene Sean Connery filmed as James Bond took place on January 16th 1962, it was the sequence in Kingston Airport where Bond passes a female photographer and throws a hat in front of his face. There was little interest in the production at the time, but it soon gained a following from the press. Actress Eunice Gayson, who played Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia With Love, later revealed that it took Sean Connery quite some time before he fully grasped the fact that he was the lead in what was to be a major motion picture, that he was the focal point of this movie and its success or failure would likely be on his shoulders. Once this hit him, Connery became a nervous wreck, with things coming to a head during the filming of the famous line...
"Bond...James Bond"
Gayson said it took forever because Connery kept fluffing his words and just could not get it right. She explained that the producers took him off of the set for awhile to calm him down. She thinks they gave him something strong to drink because he was totally relaxed when he finally came back and nailed it.


10. Maurice Binder designed the gun barrel opening at the last minute by pointing a pinhole camera through a real gun barrel. The actor in the sequence is not Sean Connery, but stuntman Bob Simmons. Connery didn't film the sequence himself until 1965, for the release of Thunderball.

James Bond will return next Monday in 10 things you may not know about From Russia With Love.

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