If you are tired of Ingmar Bergman's allegorical peasants and have had your very Last Year at Marienbad, the movie to see is Doctor No. All the sex, sadism and snobbery that enrich Ian Fleming's novels about British secret agent James Bond are enthusiastically here in the color they deserve.
Doctor No himself is a Chinese archfiend with black contact lenses and artificial hands who won his spurs in the Shanghai tong wars, and as a charter member of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terror, Revenge and Extortion) he is almost a match for James Bond. His island off Jamaica is well appointed with hatchetmen, a nuclear reactor and Goya's missing portrait of the Duke of Wellington. As agent 007, one of three with the double cipher indicating authority to kill, James Bond is a combination of Sam Spade, Baby Pignatari and Jungle Jim. Sporting with him in Jamaica are the faithful native, the friendly Yank from the C.I.A., and a rainbow of halfbreed tarts.
The casting for James Bond and Honeychile Rider, his principal mate, was almost as demanding as that for PT-109, and JFK will be lucky if Cliff Robertson fills him out the way Sean Connery does James Bond. Despite an annoying Scottish accent and some awkwardness in the early scenes, Connery almost pulls it off and his Bond is the sort of polished professional for whom Fleming's congregation has been waiting. Better still, Ursulla Andress (reportedly known as "Undress" on location) is just the sort of girl a tired agent deserves, and when she squeezes into a pink and white sam-ful even 007 is impressed. Only Bernard Lee as M, Bond's secret service boss, is really disappointing.
Best of all, the next film, From Russia With Love, is already under way, and there should be eight more after that. Looking ahead the cultist's mouth waters with prospects of death struggles on the Orient Express and feverish rendezvous with Vesper and Pussy Galore. Even the laymen seemed to like it last night, and as one poppet murmured on her way out of the theatre, "That's one limey who gets me where I live."