The First James Bond Film
by James Chapman
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Pub Date 08 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2023
Columbia University Press, Wallflower Press
When Dr. No premiered at the London Pavilion on October 5, 1962, no one predicted that it would launch the longest-running series in cinema history. It introduced the James Bond formula that has been a box-office fixture ever since: sensational plots, colorful locations, beautiful women, diabolical villains, thrilling action set pieces, and a tongue-in-cheek tone. An explosive cocktail of action, spectacle, and sex, Dr. No transformed popular cinema.
James Chapman provides a lively and comprehensive study of Dr. No, marshaling a wealth of archival research to place the film in its historical moment. He demonstrates that, contrary to many fan myths, the film was the product of a carefully considered transnational production process. Chapman explores the British super-spy’s origins in Ian Fleming’s snobbery-with-violence thrillers, examining the process of adaptation from page to screen. He considers Dr. No in the contexts of the UK and Hollywood film industries as well as the film’s place in relation to the changing social and cultural landscape of the 1960s, particularly Cold War anxieties and the decline of the British Empire. The book also analyzes the film’s problematic politics of gender and race and considers its cultural legacy.
This thorough and insightful account of Dr. No will appeal to film historians and Bond fans alike.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Chapman is professor of film studies at the University of Leicester and editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television. His books include Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films (second edition, 2007), Hitchcock and the Spy Film (2018), and The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945–1985 (2022).
"Dr. No is a potentially invaluable resource for Bond scholars and cultural historians, as well as Bond fans keen to engage with the films at a more developed level. The lively writing and assured knowledge make the ideas and analysis feel fresh and revelatory. Chapman investigates and interrogates the many myths and half-truths surrounding the making of the film and the relationships between the key players in order to fully reassess the reputations and reception of the film both at its time of release and now."
--Laura Crossely, Bournemouth University