How 007 beat us in 1 second – 07/24/2022 – Ruy Castro

James Bond, with 26 or 27 films so far, has to be the most successful series in cinema. I don’t know of another franchise in the hands of the same company for 60 years. Like many people, I adhered to Bond from the first, “The Satanic Dr. No” (1962, renamed years later as “007 Against the Satanic Dr. No”), but I was only faithful to him until “With 007 Live and Let Die” (1973) or something like that. By then, the need for each film to outperform the last in special effects, explosions, and gadgets had made them unsuitable for ages 13 and up, and I was out of date. I never saw any again.

Bond won us just a second into the game in “Dr. No”, with the titles by Maurice Binder (the colored lights that became the pistol’s sights) and the theme composed by Monty Norman, with the guitar riff, so very modern, and the string arrangement and big band. As far as I know, the lights and theme have followed Bond forever, even if stylized, keeping the unity of the series. Binder died in 1991. Norman passed away on the 11th.

Unlike Binder, brilliant designer, author also of the titles of “The Sun for Witness” (1960), “Barbarella” (1968) and many other films, Monty Norman never did anything important again. He didn’t even need to—just the use of his theme in everything about Bond would sustain him for the rest of his life. The problem is that, already in the second film, “Moscow Against 007” (1963), he was on the verge of losing the music.

John Barry, responsible for the score for this and the following 007, incorporated “The James Bond Theme” into his own themes. For all intents and purposes, he remained its author and, cleverly, did not remember to deny it. Norman spent years fighting him in court before being recognized.

The Bond theme was first heard at the London premiere of “Dr. No” on the night of October 5, 1962. A few hours earlier, the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do” had hit stores. What day, huh?


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About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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