Dr. No (Blu-ray) (1962)

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Released 11-Nov-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Bond Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Terrence Young & members Of Cast And Crew
Credits
Film Factoids-007 License To Restore
Film Factoids-The Guns Of James Bond
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch And Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Dr. No
Biographies-Cast-Terence Young: Bond Vivant
Featurette-Dr. No - 1963
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Dr. No in 1962
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 109:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Terence Young
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Joseph Wiseman
Jack Lord
Bernard Lee
Anthony Dawson
Zena Marshall
John Kitzmiller
Eunice Gayson
Lois Maxwell
Peter Burton
Yvonne Shima
Michel Mok
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Monty Norman
John Barry


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With the new Bond film Quantum of Solace due to open in cinemas this month, MGM and Fox will be releasing six Bond films on Blu-ray this November. Each film will feature Lowry-restored video and audio, and will allow audiences to enjoy these Bond classics in high definition for the very first time. The first released will be Dr. No, the film which was to introduce cinema audiences worldwide to the character of British super-spy James Bond. As such, Dr. No is fondly remembered as being the very first movie in what was to become one of cinema's most successful and longest running franchises.

    "The name's Bond, James Bond".

    The character of super-spy James Bond was created by author Ian Fleming (1909-1964) who, like his fictional character, led a colourful life which included being a British Spy, and like Mr. Bond, a Commander in British Naval Intelligence. While Fleming's novels and the later movies often have a very tenuous relationship, one cannot easily discount the rich material that Fleming provided for the Bond universe. While the Bond film scripts were to differ greatly from Fleming's stories, the central characters, style, and swagger of the Bond films is all still Fleming.

    However, from the start, Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli wanted their Bond movie series to appeal to a wider audience than just Fleming's readers. As a result, Bond became less of a cold-blooded killer (with a licence to kill provided by the UK Government), and a far more charming, suave, and witty gentleman. Indeed, Director Terence Young took matters even further and infused the character with a thoroughly debonair and dashing charm, also arming him with a fierce intelligence and an impeccable taste in clothes, wine, food and exotic women.

    With the release of Quantum of Solace there are now 22 official Bond films, and three unofficial ones - most notably the appalling Never Say Never Again (1983). Six actors have played Bond in the official films, including the rugged Sean Connery, the former Aussie soldier from Goulburn George Lazenby, the unflappably dapper Roger Moore, the debonair Pierce Brosnan, the sulky and uncharismatic Timothy Dalton, and muscular newcomer Daniel Craig.

    It's widely noted that the then unknown Scottish actor Sean Connery was nowhere near to being the first choice to be Bond, but it was to be a piece of casting genius. When one thinks of Bond, even all these years later, it is Connery who still comes to mind first for most people. Then in his thirties, Connery was tall, cool, elegant, and ruggedly handsome. He walked with the swagger and self-assurance required to carry the role; And, unlike some of the other pretty-boy Bonds, he actually looked like he could handle himself in a fight.

    In Dr. No, the character of Bond is far from the indestructible superman armed with the fancy tongue-in-cheek gadgets that we see in some of the later films. As Bond, Connery frequently displays fear, panic, and disgust. We even see him disheveled, bleeding, bruised, and sweating! He gets captured, beaten, and humiliated. It makes his triumphs and the film's climax all the more satisfying.

    As the first of the series, the relatively low-budget Dr No is a far more down-to-earth and realistic affair than the later Bond films. This Bond has to rely on his wits rather than gadgets and explosions to get the job done. For example, when Bond is being hunted down by men with dogs, it's his ingenuity, not gadgets or weaponry that save him.

    On the other hand, as a film, Dr. No is definitely a little rough around the edges. For example, consider the car-chase scene which relies on obvious rear-projection scenery, or the clumsy and simplistic fight choreography, or the now famous cardboard paintings in M's office.

    In later Bond films a recognisable and well-loved formula developed: We have a pre-title action sequence that is distinct from the rest of the film. This is followed by the familiar Bond-style title sequence (with theme song), and then Bond chatting with Moneypenny, M, and Q. Finally, Bond heads off on his new mission armed with fancy gadgets, cool one-liners, and plenty of innuendo.

    In Dr. No, many of these recognisable elements of the Bond universe are present, albeit in their infancy. For example, the opening titles are provided by Maurice Binder (but sans the nude dancing silhouettes), and the very recognisable James Bond Theme is provided by Monty Norman and John Barry. We also get to see the famous gun-barrel sequence (which features Connery's stunt double, Bob Simmons). Also, apart from being introduced to Bond and his luck with cards and women, we are also introduced to Bond's Walther PPK pistol, Saville Row suits, licence to kill, vodka martinis shaken not stirred, and his now famous introduction as "Bond, James Bond", we are also introduced to the recurring characters of M, Moneypenny, and Felix Leiter (Q was to make his debut in the next film).

    However, with Dr. No we don't yet get to experience the full Englishness of the Bond universe, which was lost in recent years. From the next film onwards, Bond films were to become show-pieces for British culture - British music, art, manufacturing, and style, but in this movie Bond finds himself behind the wheel of a tiny four-cylinder Sunbeam Alpine. In later films he'd get to enjoy his English Bentleys, Aston Martins, and Lotuses (that is before the power of product placement marketing dollars put Bond into German BMWs for American Fords).

    As for the plot. The story of Dr. No concerns . . . let's all say it together . . . a megalomaniac seeking world domination who can only be stopped by Secret Agent 007, James Bond . . .

    Dr. No opens in Jamaica where two British Secret Service agents have been brutally murdered. Their boss, M (Bernard Lee), sends special agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) to investigate. Bond survives numerous attempts on his life, and his investigation leads him to the mysterious and sinister Doctor Julius No (Joseph Wiseman). After joining forces with CIA Agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), Bond enlists the help of local boat owner Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) to pay a visit to the reclusive Doctor No on his secretive Crab Key island. It is here, in what was to become one of the most memorable Bond scenes, that we see the first bikini-clad Bond girl, Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), emerging from the sea like Venus.

    For more about the Bond universe and Quantum of Solace, check out the official website at www.007.com.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Dr. No has been released three times previously on DVD, including as a Special Edition and as an Ultimate Edition. Considering the age of the source material I had lower expectations of Dr. No in High Definition. That noted, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Blu-ray disc (BD). The original camera negatives of the Bond films have been imaged and digitally restored in Lowry's labs, using the John Lowry process. This process took over three years to complete for the first 20 films, and as with the DVD, the results are truly remarkable. As with the Bond Ultimate Editions released recently on DVD, The BD's high definition transfer has been sourced not from a film print, but from Lowry's digital master, and presented on BD in 1920 x 1080p, using AVC MPEG-4 compression.

    The film was originally screened theatrically in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, but as with the DVD, the BD's transfer is presented in a European widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1, in a native 16x9 frame. Due to the use of the 1.66:1 aspect ratio, there are very thin black bars on the left and right of the screen.

    As with the DVD, there are some noticeably softer scenes, but overall the sharpness of the image is very good. The black level is excellent, with true, deep blacks. The quality of the shadow detail varies, but I imagine this inconsistency lies in the original principal photography.

    With the Lowry process, the entire film has been colour corrected. As a result, the film now has a very consistent approach to colour, and as with the DVD, the transfer exhibits a very well saturated palette. However, I found colour to be the area where the BD really made a difference. With the DVD some of the colours looked a little rich, for example, reds seem to jump out off the screen. But with the BD, I find the colours appear to be more natural. As with the DVD, the skin tones are mostly accurate, but can appear a little too orange at times. Of course, this could also be related to the excessive makeup that seems to have been caked on all the actors.

    While some scenes can appear a little grainy at times, I assume this relates to the original film stock used. There are no problems with MPEG, Film-To-Video or Film Artefacts. Lowry's digital master is pristine and free of scratches or blemishes. This is an excellent high definition presentation of a film from the early 1960s.

     The BD is zoned for all regions, and there are 23 subtitle streams present. The English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a BD-50 (50 GB Blu-ray disc), with the feature is divided into 32 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As with the video I wasn't expecting much of the audio quality. After all, this film was originally released theatrically 46 years ago with mono audio. But again, I was pleasantly surprised.

    The DVD offers two audio options for the feature: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s). But the BD offers only one English audio option for the feature: dts HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. The feature is also dubbed into German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). On the BD the excellent English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) for the DVD's Ultimate Edition also makes a welcome return.

    English dts-HD Lossless Master Audio can potentially support an unlimited number of surround sound channels, and down-mix to 5.1 if required. But whether it be DVD or BD, Dr. No is forever restrained by its original mono audio. Although the quality of the music is excellent, the dialogue often appears tinny and uneven by today's standards.

    Also, as with the DVD, there are some audio sync problems. This is not a fault with the BD authoring, but due to the source material. There is extensive use of ADR throughout this film, and some actors, such as Ursula Andress, had all their dialogue looped by voice artists (in her case by Monica Van der Zyl). Also, some dialogue was changed or added in post-production, and this has been rather clumsily dubbed in. Most of these moments seem rather obvious, and it is distracting. Another problem with the dialogue is the inconsistent volume. A number of times I had to increase or decrease the volume during the film.

    The musical score is credited to Monty Norman and Oscar winning composer John Barry. Director Terence Young overuses the now famous Bond theme throughout the film, and it appears even when Bond does the most mundane things like light a cigarette, step off an airplane, or make a phone call. The film also has an overly melodramatic score, which dates it terribly. There is no Bond theme song with this first outing, but a clever and chirpy calypso version of Three Blind Mice, which at the opening of the film helps set the scene of Jamaica. Indeed, in keeping with its exotic location, Dr. No often calls upon seductive calypso beats and the characters, including Bond himself, will burst into song, singing catchy Caribbean tunes such as Jamaica Jump Up and Underneath the Mango Tree.

    For a mono film, the sound design was great for its time, but now appears very limited. As with the DVD, although there is a nice sense of space across the front three speakers, the rear speakers are rarely called upon. Recorded in 1962, didn't expect any fancy directional effects or panning between speakers. Interestingly, sometimes when the rears are used for effect it is actually distracting, rather than enveloping. The LFE track is very limited, and the subwoofer is only really noticed with the large explosion at the end of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   The extras from the DVD Ultimate Edition and DVD Special Edition have been ported to the BD. As such, all the extras are in standard definition, and unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

 Floating Pop-Up Menu

    As with other BDs, the menu can be accessed while the film is playing. There is also an animated Main Menu.

Top Level Access

De-Classified: MI6 Vault

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1:

007 Mission Control

    An interactive feature that allows the viewer to jump directly to a key scene in the film, or to a specific character, gadget, or Bond girl.

Mission Dossiers

    The three featurettes from the Dr. No Special Edition DVD:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    A collection of trailers, TV, and Radio Spots:

Interactive Image Database 

    Eight themed photographic stills galleries from 1962-3, presented as a slide show.

MI6 Commentary

    Hosted by John Clark of the Ian Fleming Foundation, this audio commentary is very interesting, and packed with detailed information. Interviews with a number of the cast and crew have been edited to make it fairly screen specific, and each speaker is introduced by Clark. We hear from a range of people, such as Actors Ursula Andress, Lois Maxwell, Eunice Gayson, and Timothy Moxon; Editor Peter Hunt, Composer Monty Norman, Set Designer Ken Adams, former UA President David Picker, Art Director Syd Cain, and Sound Designer Norman Wanstall. Each person has something interesting to say, ranging from technical, behind-the-scenes information to anecdotes or recollections from shooting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The BD is zoned for all regions, and in terms of content, our disc's should be identical.

Summary

    Dr. No is by no means the best Bond film, but it's certainly not the worst either. What it's best remembered for is for being the very first, and as such, creating the mould for all later Bond films.

    The video quality is very good, considering the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is good, considering the limited mono source.

    The extras are recycled from the previous DVD release, but are thorough, genuine, and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)
SpeakersSamsung

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Bond Blu Ray Playback Issues? - cztery REPLY POSTED
No mono? - cztery
Never Say Appaling Again - cztery
re: Never Say Appaling Again - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Q - cztery
I agree with Tom: NSNA is not bad - cztery