Dr. No wasn’t the first novel in the Bond series but it has perhaps become the most important being selected as the first film adaptation of the world’s favourite secret agent.
Cinema and wider popular culture changed forever with the release of Dr. No starring Sean Connery as Bond in 1962, capturing as it did the zeitgeist of the ‘Swinging Sixties’; the Vatican decried it as ‘a dangerous mixture of violence, vulgarity, sadism and sex’ – a better review could not have been wished for.
All the hallmarks of the franchise were defined in this first outing, from the gun barrel opening sequence to the exotic locations, the scene stealing ‘Bond Girl’ and the immortal line with which Connery introduces himself as 007. The remarkable success of the series has only served to heighten the importance of this first entry with Bond collectors around the world all vying to own original memorabilia.
Indeed, the market for all things Dr. No has proven remarkably buoyant – the bikini worn by Ursula Andress in her unforgettable entrance made nearly $150,000 when offered by Christie’s in 2001 and it would surely be even more expensive were it offered today. In fact it was after its appearance in the film that the bikini took off as the preferred choice of swimwear and is illustrative of the Bond series’ sway as a public influencer.
However, all this came after – prior to release the distributor United Artists had to introduce the world to Bond, what he represented, what type of man he was and who he associated with. It all had to be distilled into one eye catching image to attract the cinema goer and, in the early 1960s before mass distribution of teaser trailers, the cinema poster was king.
UA hired American artist and illustrator Mitchell Hooks who primarily designed covers for paperback novels and it was perhaps this experience in ‘snapshot’ visual storytelling that Hooks harnessed in creating his masterpiece. Set against vibrant, almost garish yellow Sean Connery, in tuxedo, winks at his audience, already in on the joke; four women in inversely proportionate size and extent of dress are arranged physically and figuratively in Bond’s wake – they have a part to play but are not the main event; Dr. No is half displayed to the far left, again sidelined despite playing the nemesis; this is compounded with the popping red text announcing this as The First James Bond Film! It was a triumph of design, storytelling, drama, sex, classic elegance and riotous colour – it was Bond.
Every serious collector owns or wants to own an original Dr. No poster and McTear’s are delighted to bring this example to auction. This poster has not been trimmed and retains the British quad format, has not been linen backed, displays good colour and is free from major tears or damages. Originals often make £10,000, sometimes even more, but this particular poster carries an attractive estimate of £2,000-4,000, consigned from a private collection which features additional Bond posters in the auction and, with some sympathetic reconditioning and framing, will make the centrepiece of a Bond collection.
The saleroom may be both shaken and stirred when this poster comes under the hammer – join us in the room, on the phone or online for the auction beginning at 3pm 27 April.
For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact a specialist on 0141 810 2880 or email@example.com.