Sean Connery, still the best Bond, died recently, and we have been watching his films. This is the one that started it all. Not just the twenty-seven films in the James Bond oeuvre, but a torrent of lesser spy movies in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I read all the Ian Fleming novels at one point in my life, and enjoyed them. This was not the first book, that was Casino Royale, which was made twice, one of which was a hot comedy mess with six directors (including John Huston, with input from Woody Allen) and a few actual laughs.
Here we see several of the things that will become memes in later films, like the gun barrel opening, the theme music, “Bond, James Bond,” and many others. Ursula Andress is the original “Bond girl.” Exteriors were filmed in Jamaica. I was surprised at how well it holds up. Of course, it is very juvenile, dated in many ways, but Connery is always fascinating to watch. The scene I recalled most vividly was when someone slipped a tarantula into his room. It crawled up his body as he sweated a river, then he tosses it off and clobbers it with his shoe. Wham! Wham! Wham wham wham!, underscored by musical whams. It showed an endearing vulnerability of the suave, he-man secret agent. Don’t get me wrong, I would have climbed right up the walls, busted through the ceiling, and still be running away as fast as I could, wishing I could change my drawers.