Soundtrack Review: Dr. No

 

Composed by: Monty Norman (with an assist from John Barry)

Dr. No is the sixth novel in Ian Fleming’s series of spy novels, but the first in the James Bond film series. It didn’t quite have the formula of the series down yet. There was no pre-credits sequence, no frustrated Q, and no fantastic gadgets. Also different was the outlook of the music. Compared to the big brassy and romantic scores that John Barry would make the norm, Dr. No’s score is almost entirely made up of Jamaican and Caribbean style music, much of it acting as source cues. There’s not even a proper theme song, a surety in following Bond films. The opening titles are comprised of four different tracks, cut and edited together in abrupt fashion.

The one piece of music that should please fans of the franchise’s music is the first track, “James Bond Theme”. What new can be said about this, one of the greatest themes ever? It evokes coolness, danger, and sexiness (and at times heroism). It’s the ultimate spy theme. The actual creation of the theme is without controversy. The composer for Dr. No, Monty Norman, has always been credited with its creation in every film, and still receives royalties for its frequent use outside the movies. John Barry, composer of nearly a dozen James Bond movies, claimed that he wrote the theme. It is not known if this is true, but he did arrange the theme in its jazzy form. Continue reading