James Bond Collection #1
Hopefully we will have time to do the whole thing while it's featured on Amazon Prime. To celebrate the release of No Time To Die on the platform, Amazon have decided to put every film up for viewing, from Dr No to the aforementioned final Daniel Craig outing. The plan is to re-watch every single movie, in order of release, with fresh eyes and compare the whole lot. By the end, I'll be able to give you my own updated list and the reasons why.
Dr No (1962)
"A resourceful British government agent seeks answers in a case involving the disappearance of a colleague and the disruption of the American space program."
Set at the height of espionage, Dr No doesn't feel too far removed from British television at the time, with the likes Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner and Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg starring in The Avengers. This set the bar high early on for future Fleming stories with beautiful girls, exotic locations and bagful's of suspense and action. As time went on, the lack of sophistication did become apparent and this does show its age.
As a tentpole for middle-aged men everywhere, the sight of Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in 'that' bikini would match Princess Leia on Jabba's sail barge for many. Personally, the scene with the tarantula on a hot sleepless night in Kingston would stick with me years after I saw it.
From Russia With Love (1963)
"James Bond willingly falls into an assassination plot involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by S.P.E.C.T.R.E."
Quickly following the box office success of Dr No, Bond was back, for the first time coming across the dark world of SPECTRE, who we would return to at least often as Doctor Who came across the Daleks. Nemesis Ernst Blofeld is not seen in the film or credited for the voice, so we are treated to a blonde-cropped Robert Shaw as main villain with Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb with the poisoned dagger in her shoes. This features Bond's first fight on a train. It would not be his last. This also features possibly the best looking Bond Girl ever to feature in any film - Daniela Bianchi as Russian agent Tatiana, though many, many more would challenge for that title in the films to come. Notably, this is the first Bond film where the 'Bond will return in (title of upcoming film)' appears at the beginning of the closing credits. Next, as you will see, would be Goldfinger. Sean Connery famously called From Russia With Love his favourite Bond film.
"While investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve."
Sean Connery's third outing as Fleming's Bond takes him to Fort Knox to foil a criminal mastermind from making all of America's gold reserves radioactive. The one with Oddjob and his killer bowler hat and Honor Blackman as the ludicrously named Pussy Galore. You just couldn't get away with it today, much like the bottom slapping. It made huge news when Jill Masterton was filmed covered head to foot in what was essentially gold paint, begging the question of if you were painted head to foot, would you die?
"James Bond heads to the Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme."
The search for two atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE takes James to the Bahamas for one of my least favourite Bond adventures. Despite the film winning an Oscar for Special Effects (most notably for the underwater fight scene near the conclusion) the film is largely underwhelming and we can see the cracks beginning to appear for Sean Connery's tenure in the role.