Released in 1962 and originating the James Bond film series, Dr. No centers around British agent, James Bond, 007 (Sean Connery) as he investigates the elusive Dr. No, a nuclear scientist and SPECTRE operative, who poses a great threat to the U.S. space program.
As a fan of the James Bond franchise, I would always look forward to the yearly Thanksgiving Bond-A-Thon on television, and seeing as Thanksgiving is next week, I thought that it would be an appropriate time to feature a Bond film on food & a film. And seeing as it is the first Bond film to be featured on the blog, I thought it would make the most sense to go with the film that started it all.
While there is not a ton of food featured in Dr. No, it should come as no surprise that there is quite a bit of booze. Vodka, mostly. The very first scene prominently featuring a cocktail comes almost 25 minutes into the film when a room service attendant at Bond’s hotel makes 007 a vodka martini. After pouring the cocktail shaker’s contents into a glass, the attendant hands Bond his drink telling him, “One medium-dry vodka martini. Mixed like you said, sir, and not stirred.”
Following this moment, the next scene to feature cocktails occurs when Bond is at the Queens Club having drinks with the gentlemen who last saw Strangways alive. Instead of vodka though, it looks like the men are drinking a rum-based cocktail; possibly a rum punch judging by the fruit in their drinks.
The next notable drink moment comes when Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) drinks Red Stripe beer out of a glass at Puss-Feller’s bar. Later that evening, we see Bond seated around a table at Puss-Feller’s nightclub, along with Quarrel and Felix Leiter (Jack Lord). On the table are three partially-finished plates of food, and although it is unclear as to exactly what the men had for dinner, we do see that they seasoned their food with some hot sauce judging from the bottle sitting on the table. Also on the table is a large bottle of brown liquor, presumably rum, as well as a glass for each of the men.
After the nightclub scene, the next scene to involve food occurs when Bond and Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) arrive to the main compound at Crab Key. After being put through a contamination process, Bond and Honey are greeted by Sister Lily who tells them, “We simply didn’t know when to expect you. First it was teatime yesterday, and then dinner.” Sister Lily then tells them that “breakfast is already ordered.” When Bond and Honey are then shown their adjoining rooms, there is a breakfast cart waiting for them with a pot of coffee, a filled toast rack, and large silver dish, potentially containing fruit. James sees the cart and as he walks toward it, says, “Well, let’s have some breakfast,” to which Honey responds, “How can you eat at a time like this?” Bond then replies, “Cause I’m hungry. We don’t know when we’ll get the chance to eat again.” After removing the lid of the large silver dish, Bond pours Honey a cup of coffee before pouring one for himself. The two then sit on the nearby sofa before passing out as a result of the coffee being drugged.
The final food scene in the film is when Bond and Honey have dinner with Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman). Before the trio sit down, a server brings out a drink tray with a martini for Bond and a red wine for Honey. As Bond and Honey are presented with their drinks, Dr. No says to Bond, “A medium dry martini, lemon peel, shaken, not stirred.” Bond then asks, “Vodka?,” and Dr. No responds, “Of course.” After Bond and Honey get their drinks, the film cuts to the trio seated around a large dining table. Based on the several grapes on their plates, we can assume that the scene is picking up after the triad have moved on from their main course. In the middle of the table is a large fruit bowl containing a pineapple and grapes, as well as a few other colorful fruits. There also appears to be a cheese platter of some sort toward the end of the table, closer to the foreground of the frame.
The very last beverage moment then happens a few moments later when Honey is taken from the table by one of Dr. No’s henchmen. Bond grabs a bottle of champagne and is about to break it to defend Honey when another henchmen then sticks the barrel of a gun into Bond’s back. Dr. No then remarks to Bond, “That’s a Dom Perignon ’55. It would be a pity to break it.,” before Bond replies, “I prefer the ’53 myself.”
Other drink moments in the film worth mentioning include Bond pouring himself a glass of fresh vodka upon returning to his hotel room, as well as pouring a couple glasses of vodka at Miss Taro’s in anticipation of Professor Dent’s arrival.
Additionally, there are also several references to food in the dialogue including Bond suggesting dinner with Sylvia Trench; Moneypenny telling Bond, “You never take me to dinner looking like this, James. You never take me to dinner. Period.”; Principal Secretary Pleydell-Smith asking if Bond is free for lunch; Bond saying that he hopes Puss-Feller cooks better than he fights and Puss-Feller responding, “Nobody died from my cooking – yet!”; the song “Underneath the Mango Tree” that has the lyrics “mango, banana and tangerine, sugar and ackee and cocoa bean”; and lastly, Bond telling Miss Taro, “I’m hungry. Let’s go out and eat.,” and when she responds, “I’ll make you a Chinese dinner here.,” Bond says, “No. I’m feeling Italian and musical. Let’s go to the Blue Mountain Grill.”
Since the film’s events predominantly take place in Jamaica, I decided to go with Jamaican cuisine for my Dr. No inspired menu. First, I prepared jerk chicken by cooking vegan chicken strips in a jerk marinade and paired it with a side of Jamaican rice & peas. I also included a mango and avocado salad, inspired by the song, “Underneath the Mango Tree,” which plays throughout the film, as well as included a side of plantain chips with an avocado dip. And of course, no menu inspired by a James Bond film would be complete without a vodka martini, shaken not stirred.
Finally, for the table setting, I used a banana leaf printed tablecloth, inspired by the film’s island backdrop, and included a small vase of alstroemeria to add to the tropical flair.
Thank you so much for reading this week’s installment of food & a film. Make sure to check back next week for another entry. Until then!