Dr. No (1962)

Dr. No (1962), directed by Terence Young.

Can you believe that 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film? What a long strange trip it's been. I suppose there are studies as to how much of the real world was created in imitation of the fiction, but it's beyond me.

In this first entry Bond investigates the disappearance of another agent in Jamaica and finds a sinister mastermind tampering with American rocket launches. The villain has a lavish underground base and minions who will commit suicide rather than be questioned. I don't know why later Evil Overlords didn't pick up on that cool beaten copper motif of his base/resort.

It was the year everyone was singing "Under the Mango Tree". We get a peek at Bond's apartment -- is he an art collector? We see Jack Lord as the first of many Felix Leiters, CIA agent. Surprise: all the Bond Girls survive.

Would you believe Bond crawls through ventilator shafts? Is an attack spider the best the evil doctor can come up with? And would anyone really be fooled by a diesel-powered dragon?

The action music is not right yet, but we have the James Bond Theme right at the beginning. John Barry arranged and performs it but doesn't get credit for composing, although that was later the subject of litigation.

Available on Blu-ray.