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In 1962, DR. NO ($25) launched the James Bond Empire, the single most successful film franchise in the history of Hollywood. With TOMORROW NEVER DIES, the Bond franchise has reached its eighteenth installment. Compared to the high-tech wonders of today’s Bond movies, DR. NO may appear to some a low-tech dinosaur, but to fans, the film is a true classic. Actually, DR. NO is a masterwork of film production and design. The creative team behind DR. NO was able to maximize the small budget and expertly craft a film that seemed like so much more. Additionally, DR. NO is an important part of cinematic history because it introduced the movie-going public to the suave, sophisticated, lady killing British agent James Bond. The character immediately caught on with audiences, as did the film’s leading man. Sean Connery rocketed to international super-stardom with his debut in the role of James Bond. Connery has enjoyed an enormously successful career, one that has spanned more than three decades thanks to his association with the character.

The plot of DR. NO takes Agent 007 to the island of Jamaica where he must determine what has been sabotaging a number of United States missile launches. Jack Lord portrays ultra-cool CIA agent Felix Leiter who aids Bond in his quest to discover the secrets of Dr. No’s private island off Jamaica. Ursula Andress is Honey Ryder, the first in a long series of impossibly beautiful Bond girls. Joseph Wiseman portrays the title villain, Dr. No, a megalomaniac bent on world domination. The cast of DR. NO also includes Bernard Lee, Anthony Dawson, Eunice Gayson and Lois Maxwell.

MGM Home Entertainment has done a terrific job bringing DR. NO to DVD with their THX certified edition. DR. NO is offered in both Letterboxed and pan and scan presentations on separate layers of the single sided DVD. Loading the DVD into a player presents one with an option of which version they wish to view. The pan and scan version crops the image only slightly, making it acceptable viewing. Color and detail are good on the cropped transfer. Fans however, will find that the Letterboxed version is truly marvelous. The transfer presents DR. NO close to the 1.75:1 aspect ratio, which is the ratio it would have been projected in most theaters. DR. NO looks quite good, with a crisp well defined image and richly saturated colors that come close to the look of an original IB Technicolor print. There is a mild film grain that appears in a few places, but it is hardly noticeable. MPEG-2 compression artifacts were never bothersome.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack has respectable fidelity, but I noticed a bit of extraneous noise in a couple of places. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, production notes, film trivia, a James Bond "greatest moments" montage and a small hidden surprise.

Bond fans will want to immediately snap up a copy of DR. NO on DVD. As for casual collectors, considering price, quality and entertainment value, DR. NO will make a worthwhile addition to any personal DVD library. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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