Ian Fleming – Dr No

The first movie adaptation of the James Bond novels was based on the sixth novel. The story of Dr No (1958) by Ian Fleming resembles the plot of the movie closely, but like From Russia With Love some changes have been made in the movie on the beginning and the end while the middle part has been greatly expanded. In a way the novel is thus a simpler story, but with more background and details, elements the movie pretty much avoids as it slows the action and development, something which is of course not as bothersome in a book. So at least in these parts there are new things to discover, but overall the difference in the story of the book and the movie is not that great.

So how does the novel stand among the other novels? From Russia With Love was a strong and good spy novel and although the story is much different Fleming manages to give it a genuine spy-ish atmosphere with a trademark villain we have come to expect in the movies. There is certainly an improved level of quality and consistency in his writing. What was good in From Russia With Love he sticks to and he doesn’t fall back to the flaws of Diamonds Are Forever. This is a solid and well-paced thriller which solidifies the character of James Bond.

As the novel stays so close to the movie it is hard to say more about the novel. Some removed scenes from the novel would not have been a waste in the movie, but of course that is a choice the screenplay writers make. As they expanded the middle part with new plot lines this allowed less time and space for other scenes. Personally I think they made a good choice as most movies usually lack a greater complexity (unlike the book it has been adapted from), but in this case they managed to make some improvements. The novel itself can certainly be appreciated and there are plenty of minor differences which make it a worthwhile and entertaining read.

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