Dick De Jong
November 23, 2008
Now that you have witnessed Daniel Craig reprise his role as James Bond in Quantum of Solace, it's fair to compare. Who is the best Bond, the sexiest, the most macho, the handsomest, the most debonair, the coolest? And of course, who is the hottest Bond girl?
To jog your memory, Fox/MGM recently released six Bond titles on Blu-ray, (Dr. No, Die Another Day, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia with Love, Live and Let Die, and Thunderball), featuring three of the most famous 007's: Sean Connery, the original; Roger Moore, the pretender; and Pierce Brosnan, the better late than never.
Lest we forget, missing from these six films, are Timothy Dalton (in two of the twenty two Bond movies) and George Lazenby, (in On Her Majesty's Secret Service with the inimitable Diana Rigg as the only Mrs. James Bond).
I was still an impressionable young pup when Sean Connery uttered the first "Bond, James Bond" in Dr. No in 1962 - yes, 46 years ago. I know my parents would not allow me to see this racy movie, so I was in college when I first experienced MI6's infamous secret agent. After forty years, I definitely required a refresher course.
After viewing Dr. No again, my first reaction was how tame the movie is. And I'm not talking about Bond's sexual escapades, which I'm sure raised the audience's collective eyebrows and libidos back in 1962.
The movie is simply more talk than action. Dr. No doesn't even arrive on the scene until the second half of the film. Compared to Daniel Craig running and jumping across rooftops chasing scoundrels, Connery seems to be enjoying high tea at the Ritz.
Then there is Ursula Andress, as Honey Ryder, the first Bond girl to which all the others are compared. I didn't own the poster of her emerging from the sea bikini-clad, but I always remember her as the sexy older woman.
Now when I see the film, I'm shocked at how young she looks. Andress was about twenty five when the film was made and because of her heavy Austrian-German accent, all of her dialogue was dubbed by another actress.
But enough about me, you need to take your own ride down memory lane. The excellent transfer of the film to Blu-ray makes the HD trip enjoyable.
As for my Bond favorites. Most macho, after surviving that torture scene in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig, no doubt. The handsomest, Pierce Brosnan. The most debonair, the impeccable David Niven, who played Sir James Bond in the original Casino Royale, which was a 1967 spoof with Woody Allen as Little Jimmy Bond. The coolest and still the prototypical 007, Sean Connery.
My pick as Bond femme fatale, Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Another Day.
Now, if you count yourself as a truly avid Bondphile, the question is not who is your fave M, (Judi Dench), or Q (John Cleese in a bit of inspired casting); but Felix Leiter, the ubiquitous CIA agent. It's hard to pooh-pooh the pompadoured, Book-em-Dano, Jack Lord in Dr. No, but my vote goes to the current Felix, Jeffrey Wright.
I often feel overwhelmed with the amount of special features packed onto these movies, but they always contain some nuggets that you can use to amuse or bore your friends and family over a lull in the holiday gatherings.
For example, did you know that Ian Fleming wanted Noel Coward to play Dr. No? The acerbic Sir Noel replied, "NO! NO! NO!" The "Inside Dr. No" documentary reveals other eccentric casting stories as it details how producers Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman launched the Bond franchise. Such as, the little known Connery was chosen after seeing him in Darby O'Gill and the Little People.
In the featurette, "Terence Young, Bond Vivant", the English director is given credit for molding and tailoring the rough hewn Connery into the sophisticate 007 while setting the look and style of Bond movies.
My favorite piece of early 60's English memorabilia stars Jeffrey Boothroyd, a mustachioed Scottish firearms expert who convinced Fleming that Bond should not be packing a peashooter like the Beretta .25. If 007 refused to ruin the cut of his suit with a bulging 44 Magnum, then Boothroyd advised the Walther PPK. To prove his point, the Scotsman demonstrated the comparable stopping powers of the pistols on an innocent tomato juice can.
Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord
Length: 110 minutes
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1:66:1
DTS HD 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish