Commentary

March 15, 2013

Fly Over: ‘Dr. No’, ‘The Sound of Music’

On BluRay / DVD:

350px-Drno-poster

‘Dr. No’

007’s first big-screen adventure
 
In honor of this week’s Thunderbolt history edition and the recent release of “Skyfall” on Bluray and DVD, I decided to write a review on the first James Bond film, “Dr. No” (1962).
Ian Fleming introduced James Bond to the world in a series of novels starting with “Casino Royale” published in 1953. Code-named “007,” Bond was based on several individuals Fleming encountered (including his brother, Peter) while serving in the Naval Intelligence Division during World War II. Every Bond novel written by Fleming was written at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica.
“Dr. No” introduced moviegoers to Agent 007 and was the breakthrough film for Edinburgh, Scotland, native and former bodybuilder Sean Connery. Connery returned to portray the secret agent in the films “From Russia with Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice,” and “Never Say Never.”
Male model George Lazenby took over the 007 role and starred in only one movie, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Eon Productions convinced Connery to return for one more Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever.”
“Dr. No” begins with the disappearance of a British Intelligence station chief in Jamaica. Cut to a casino where a man in a tuxedo is playing cards. He says to the woman across the table, “I admire your courage, Miss …?” The woman replies, “Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr. …?” At this point we see Connery’s face as he gives the famous introduction “Bond. James Bond.”
Bond is then called in to MI6 and given an assignment by his superior, M (Bernard Lee). His mission is to investigate the disappearance of the station chief and determine if it’s linked to a case involving radio jamming disrupting NASA rocket launches.
The trail leads Bond to Jamaica (of course) where he finds a photo of a boatman named Quarrel with the missing station chief. He shadows Quarrel but gets captured. As the boatman and a friend are about to beat up on Bond, an American interrupts them and introduces himself as CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord, TV’s “Hawaii Five-O.”) Leiter has been working with Quarrel on the same rocket jamming case Bond is tasked with.
Quarrel informs Bond that he was working with the station chief collecting mineral samples from nearby islands including an island called Crab Key, which is owned by the mysterious Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman). Bond later convinces Quarrel to take him to Crab Key where the audience meets the first Bond girl, Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) who agrees to help the British agent find Dr. No. The two are captured by Dr. No’s henchmen and thrown into quarters too nice for your average prisoners.
Later, the doctor reveals his plans for world domination by disrupting the Project Mercury space launch with an atomic-powered radio beam. Dr. No also informs Bond that he is a member of a secret organization known as SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). This organization repeatedly makes its presence known in several Bond films and is later renamed Quantum in the reboot series starring Daniel Craig.
“Dr. No” is a classic film for both Bond fans and movie lovers.
 
…..and also on BluRay / DVD
 

SoM

‘The Sound of Music’

The classic that will never die
 
Since this week’s issue of the Thunderbolt is all about history, I thought it would be relevant to write a movie review on a historical film. The first one that popped into my head was “The Sound of Music.”
“The Sound of Music,” directed by Robert Wise, was released in 1965 (24 years before I was born), and regardless of its age, it is one of my favorite films for many reasons.
The story of the Von Trapp family begins in Austria in 1930 and is based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.”
It quickly becomes clear that life as a nun probably isn’t the life for Maria and she is sent to be a governess for a respected and well-known family.
The Von Trapp family is made up of seven children — Liesl, Louisa, Friedrich, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl — and is led by their widowed father, Capt. Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer).
As Maria enters the home, she sees the family is being run like a Navy ship, so against the wishes of Captain Von Trapp, she sets out to change it.
She succeeds during the captain’s time abroad visiting a love interest. Captain Von Trapp returns to things being run exactly the opposite of the way he had instructed when he departed.
Maria decides she must return to the convent to try again at being a nun, but knows deep down that she cannot run from her problems, the biggest one being she has fallen in love with Captain Von Trapp who has just announced he is to be engaged.
As you probably guessed, Maria changes her mind and returns to the Von Trapp household to face her fears and finish the job she set out to accomplish. It’s soon after that the Captain breaks off his engagement and realizes Maria is the one he loves. They are wed soon after.
Shortly after the wedding, the Von Trapp family realizes that getting used to a new mother and a new way of life is not their biggest problem.
Austria is split down the middle during this historical time. It’s 1938 and the Anschluss (union) of Austria (occupation by Nazi Germany) is in full swing. The German Navy soon demands Captain Von Trapp report for duty. The film ends as the entire family flees Austria.
As great as the plot is, I would guess it is not why anyone sits down and watches the film. The songs and music are the most comforting and joyful songs I can think of.
I have the entire soundtrack on my iPod, and even though I may get made fun of at red lights, I could drive around listening to the songs for hours, especially if I’m having a bad day.
Songs like “You Are Sixteen (Going on Seventeen)” and “My Favorite Things” will always bring a smile to my face whenever I hear them and probably for the rest of my life.
This is a must-see film for people young and old. It’s a story of love, not just that of a man and woman, but of a country.
I know how much I loved this film as a child. Many parents still 50 years later sit down with their children and share the gift of music with them as well.
The Sound of Music is one of the most successful films of all time, winning five Academy Awards including best picture. The music was the last film by Rodgers and Hammerstein who won 34 Tony Awards for their collaborations.
This film is rated G.




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