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In 1963, DR. NO ($35) launched the James Bond Empire stateside, and in doing so, created the single most successful film franchise in the history of the movie business. However, compared to the high-tech wonders that are todayís Bond movies, DR. NO may appear to some a low-tech dinosaur. Of course, to fans, DR. NO is a true film classic. In addition, DR. NO is a masterwork of film production and design, in which the creative team were able to maximize a small budget and expertly craft a film that seemed like it cost so much more.

Furthermore, DR. NO remains iconic 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 filmís leading man Sean Connery. Connery rocketed to international super-stardom with his debut in the role of James Bond and the actor enjoyed an enormously successful career that has spanned more than four 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. Noís 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 through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made DR. NO available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Thanks to the restorative work by Lowry Digital Images, the 1080p presentation is nothing short of astonishing. At high definition resolution, DR. NO has never looked more beautiful than it does here. Image sharpness, clarity, depth and fine detail are all exemplary for a 1963 film release. Color reproduction is superb, vibrant hues have the flavor of Technicolor, plus there are attractive flesh tones. Blacks are inky, whites are clean, plus the contrast is wonderfully smooth. The elements from which DR. NO have been mastered have been digitally rejuvenated by DTS, and therefore, are free from blemishes and other signs of age. Grain is incredibly mild, yet there is no indication that fine detail has been reduced on any way, nor does the image ever look over processed or digital.

DR. NO is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering age and the monaural origins, the new mix is really quite wonderful. There are directional effects, but they are not pushed to any ridiculous level. Music has been given a nice spread through the channels. Speaking of the music, the lossless encoding makes Monty Normanís James Bond theme sound better than I remember. By modern standards, sound effects remain a bit thin, but they still work. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish monaural tracks. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Terence Young and members of the cast and crew. Next is the forty-two minute program Inside Dr. No. Other Featurettes include: The Guns Of James Bond (five minutes), Premiere Bond: Opening Nights (thirteen minutes), Terence Young: Bond Vivant (seventeen minutes) and the vintage Dr. No 1963 Featurette (eight minutes). Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots and a large Image Database of stills and promotional materials close out the supplements.

DR. NO was the first James Bond adventure, and even after more than forty-five years, the film has the power to entertain the pants off its audience. The Blu-ray presentation is like a religious experience for any James Bond fan, and is a must have disc for those who have made the transition to high definition. Recommended without reservations.



Dr. No (James Bond) [Blu-ray] (1963)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 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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