Dr. No, Blu-ray (1962)

by | Oct 31, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Dr. No, Blu-ray (1962)

Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord
Studio: MGM [Release date: 10/21/08] with five other Bond Blu-rays
Video: 1.66:1 slightly cropped for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS HD 5.1, 2.0, Orig. mono; Spanish mono, French 5.1 Dolby
Subtitles: Spanish
Extras: Commentary track by Director Terence Young and cast/crew members, 007: Licence to Restore featurette, The Guns of James Bond featurette, Premiere Bond Opening Nights featurette, Inside Dr. No, Terence Young: Bond Vivant featurette, Dr. No 1963 featurette, Image database, TV & radio spots, Theatrical trailers
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: ****

Six of the James Bond features have been simultaneously released on Blu-ray, both individually and in two boxed sets. The selection includes three titles with Sean Connery, two with Roger Moore and one with Pierce Brosnan, but seems to be chosen somewhat at random rather than the very best Bond efforts – no Goldfinger, for example. None would initially play on my Elite first-gen player, until I discovered there was yet another firmware update available online since the one three months ago and installed it. (The Blu Young Frankenstein caused the same problem.)

The transfers are excellent, but online Bond fans are saying not greatly improved visually over the series of DVDs released about two years ago. The entire 16:9 screen is filled, with no letter-boxing, which is nice. The DTS-HD surround is a huge improvement. Dr. No was the very first of the 22 Bond films (including the new one in the theaters), and it shows evidence of a limited budget and hesitant start on this very profitable franchise. Bond drives a mousy little light blue Sunbeam Alpine, has no lethal gadgets whatsoever – just his pistol – and in some of the early scenes uncharacteristically loses his cool, spitting out his lines fast and furiously.  Most of the shoot takes place in Jamaica – no globe-trotting yet for 007 – and some shots are left in where things went wrong. Such as the early scene in M’s office where the studio lights reflect back seriously off a large painting on the wall, looking like an amateur’s home movies.  Dr. No is the only one of the six Blu-rays described as “fully restored,” and one of the featurettes in the extras describes the work that went into the transfer for this film. The scene with Ursula Andress emerging from the surf in her bikini reminds us of the more recent Bond heroine Halle Berry doing the same thing.  Odd that I had thought I never saw Dr. No when it came out, and none of the earlier scenes jogged my memory, but the final scene with Connery and Andress canoodling in the small boat being towed reminded me that in fact I had.

 – John Sunier

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