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Dr. No (1962)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

In Jamaica, three apparently blind men shoot a British agent, Strangways, just as he is about to make his weekly report to London. He has been looking into reports of interference with the American rocket programme at Cape Canaveral which has originated somewhere near Kingston. After killing his secretary, they steal secret reports entitled 'Crab Key' and 'Dr No'.

The break in communication alarms London and the head of MI6, 'M', sends James Bond, codenamed 007 and licensed to kill, to investigate. Bond, a regular gambler and womaniser, is found in a casino flirting with a socialite, Sylvia Trench, whom he seduces before flying to Jamaica. Before he leaves, 'M' orders him to change his gun from a Baretta to a more powerful Walther PPK.

Arriving in Kingston, Bond is immediately followed by CIA agent Felix Leiter, and is met by a driver who has been sent by an, as yet unidentified, enemy. Easily overpowered by Bond, the driver takes cyanide rather than reveal the identity of his employer. After searching Strangways' office, Bond finds a receipt for rock sample analysis performed by a lab belonging to Professor Dent, one of Strangways' friends among the expatriates at the Kingston Queen's Club. Bond interrogates Dent, who appears friendly but defensive and clearly has something to hide.

In an attempt to find where the rock samples came from, Bond meets Quarrel, a boatman who has taken Strangways out to the islands surrounding Kingston, notably Crab Key which, local superstition has it, is protected by a dangerous, fire-breathing dragon. Quarrel pulls a gun on Bond but his attempted interrogation is interrupted by Leiter who reveals that he and Quarrel are on the same mission as Bond. Crab Key is the source of the rocket disruption but little is known about it except that it is owned by a shadowy Chinese scientist called Dr No. It has a basic radar set-up and a bauxite mine and is the source of the samples taken by Strangways. This discussion is disturbed by a female photographer who refuses to reveal her reasons for taking photos of Bond.

Dent, having lied to Bond about the source of the samples, takes a boat to Crab Key, where armed guards lead him into a small room. A disembodied voice chides him for failing to kill Bond and orders him to try again, this time with a tarantula. Narrowly surviving, Bond finds out about the stolen files and is informed that the rock samples were radioactive. A final attempt on Bond's life by Dent leads to the Professor being killed.

Bond is taken to Crab Key by a reluctant Quarrel, where he meets Honey Ryder, a young woman who collects shells to sell in Miami. Her marine zoologist father disappeared some years ago on a trip to Crab Key. The feared 'dragon' turns out to be a camouflaged tank with a flame thrower which kills Quarrel. Bond and Honey are captured by guards and taken to a huge laboratory complex where they undergo decontamination treatment for high levels of radioactivity.

They are greeted with generous hospitality but are subsequently drugged. Upon waking, they have dinner with Dr No, a cultured, highly intelligent but dangerously unbalanced scientist who is planning to use Atomic power - which has already destroyed his own hands - to disrupt the American space program and then bring about a destructive war between the superpowers. He is an agent of the international criminal organisation SPECTRE - Special Executive for Terror, Revenge and Extortion - which aims to dominate the world. Dr No's pleasant demeanour fades when he is provoked by Bond and he imprisons the two intruders. Bond manages to escape from his cell and makes his way to the central lab where Dr No is about to disrupt another rocket. The disruption is stopped and Bond fights Dr No to the death, despite the Doctor's fearsome metal hands. Bond rescues Honey and they narrowly escape before the entire complex explodes.