Dr No Soundtrack Review | The Music of Bond Podcast #004 & #005

Today on The Music Of Bond the team delve into 1962’s Dr. No score by Monty Norman.

The earliest film in the series, and the weirdest Soundtrack Album to date (only 7 of the tracks actually appear in the film!) so there is much to discuss and delve into.

From Mango Tree to 3 Blind Mice to Bond singing to Bleeps and Bloops in the Gun Barrel: as you have come to expect, everything is covered.

PLUS you also get a bonus episode!

For this special short episode we get acquainted with our newest JBR presenter John Williams, and together with co-host Warren Ringham the new Music Of Bond team chat Bond music in general.

Hear about their likes and dislikes, favourites and influences, series highs and scoring heaven. They try out our new quick-fire Music questions on each other – what would your answers be?

Note: The Music of Bond series is audio only and will not be available on Youtube.

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The Music of Bond #004: The New Lineup

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The Music of Bond #005: Dr No Soundtrack Review

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  • Dennis James Hardin

    DR NO’s soundtrack reminds me of TSWLM in that there are so many cues that aren’t in the film or are completely different. For that alone it makes it weaker compared to the others. I’d probably listen to the soundtrack more if there had been more cues from the film itself.
    I actually love the older style music cues in the film. Sounds a bit 1950’s sci fi B movie style. Especially the tarantula sequence. The ending is a bit like a 1940’s WWII film (nowhere near what Max Steiner could have come up with though).
    Still I appreciate the era gone by style of DR NO.
    Love the conversation regarding the gunbarrel. I most certainly prefer the Bond theme format as established in FRWL for the gunbarrel and carried on for most of the Barry films. One of my pet peeves with the post Barry films is the tampering with the music there: cutting to the end in TND, TWINE and SP. I would often feel gutted when the Bond theme during the gunbarrel was lacking those opening bars that punctuate the dots.
    That said, DR NO gets a pass even with those strange sounds, just for that moment of silence after the gun is fired and the mid section kicks in.
    I remember hearing Twisting With James on the Incredible World of 007 compilation album from the 60’s. Always liked that track.
    Great podcast guys! I loved it!

  • Terry Adlam

    Really enjoying this. So interesting.

  • I remember when Skyfall came out celebrating Bond’s 50th, I was soooo hoping that they’d open Daniel’s gunbarrel with Dr. No’s bleep and bloops. It would have been the most apt of callbacks and I’d have joyously lost my shit! As it happened and as we all know – neither happened. A missed op.

  • Excellent picks for favourite Bond scores in #004. Moonraker is up there for me and I mostly agree with your comments on it, Warren. Moonraker’s score certainly fits with the scenes beautifully, especially with outer space and the pyramids. But it doesn’t reflect the silly aspects of the film, and that’s a good thing. The score also adds a heaviness a heaviness to the film to balance how lighthearted the film is for the most part. Barry keeps the score serious, compared to his approach for his previous Bond film that has light music for Nick Nack, cheesy sax music and a slide whistle. Apart from the Bond theme, almost everything in Moonraker sounds dark.

    • Warren Ringham

      Another superb point Matt.. I’m copying and pasting this into Moonraker notes and will give this a shout out.

      • Thank you! Just imagine Moonraker with some of For Your Eyes Only’s tracks like “A Drive in the Country” or “Runaway” in Moonraker. It would set the film over the top (if it wasn’t already)! Moonraker’s score gives us a reason to take the film seriously, even if there are so many reasons why we shouldn’t. I just wish we had the entire score available to listen to on its own, including Barry’s arrangement of The Magnificent Seven!

  • For #005, I agree with Warren that the Dr. No orchestral score from Monty Norman/Burt Rhodes is very outdated. It has a bit of the sound of a 1950s television score or the sound of a poor example of a 1930s-1940s film score. It’s not an advanced sound. Classical music composers for decades before already were writing far more advanced music (from which the best film score composers of the time like Herrmann and later Goldsmith and Williams were inspired), and John Barry brought in harmonic innovations made by jazz composers for 30 years before the 1960s. Rhodes’ music works with the scenes, but it doesn’t have a mature sound. The music gives the film an old-fashioned and low-budget feel. Even some television series at the time (like The Twilight Zone) had far more mature music. Nevertheless, I’m grateful to Nic Raine for giving us the Dr. No score to listen to on its own.

    About the original James Bond Theme recording used in the film, I don’t care for it. I’d say the same thing for the way it was used in From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. For Dr. No within the film, it was better than anything else that was available. I think it’s always better for music to have been written specifically for a scene rather than music. Using the original recording just takes me out of the film. If the James Bond Theme is desired for a scene, it should be done as it was in Barry’s 70s and 80s films and worked into the score along with the style of that film’s score. In From Russia with Love at the hotel room, I would have preferred something like what Barry wrote for when Bond is about to meet Bambi & Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever. It’s the Bond theme but tailored to the scene.

    Thank you for covering the electronic sound effects and mentioning my name (pronounced correctly!) in regards to the interest! I’ve always liked those sounds and think they’re one of the best parts of the Dr. No soundtrack. They’re from the future, compared the orchestral score that is from the past. The electronic music doesn’t make sense in the context of the film until we see Dr. No’s lair, which is very futuristic.

    • Warren Ringham

      Jesus Christ Matt you talk a lot of sense and far more eloquently than I! You should be doing this not me!!!! 🙂

      • Thank you Warren! You and John are doing a brilliant job with the podcast. I may write eloquently, but I don’t talk as well as you guys do. That’s why I have a Bond blog and not a Bond podcast!

    • flay

      I definitely agree about the way the Bond theme is used here (as well as in the other movies you mention) and that it should fit with the tone of the score. On the other hand, if a composition as powerful as the James Bond Theme were to be arranged in the overwrought style that plagues the rest of Dr No’s soundtrack, it might end up sounding like Wagner. Walking through the airport would sound like the apocalypse!

      • I agree! Monty Norman needed somebody else to help him out with the score other than Burt Rhodes. There is Bond theme in the score that Rhodes worked on, and it’s certainly overwrought. There’s no subtlety in Rhodes’ arrangements.