Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

Archenemy to James Bond (Sean Connery) portrayed by Joseph Wiseman in the first James Bond film, Dr. No. The son of a German missionary and a Chinese girl from a good family, No joined a tong—the Chinese version of the Mafia—and escaped to American with $10 million of their loot. Turned away by both the US and Red Chinese scientific communities, No became a leading agent for SPECTRE.

Author Ian Fleming based Dr. No on the title character in author Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu stories, and probably also on the screen roles portrayed by British character actor Christopher Lee, who was actually Ian Fleming’s cousin. When both Lee and Fleming’s friend Noël Coward turned down the role, it went to Wiseman. In the book, Fleming described Dr. No as an immense worm, clutching objects with his hooks and glaring at people with jet-black eyes. The character was so grotesque that screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Wolf Mankowitz, in their first draft script, actually gave the name Dr. No to a monkey who sat on the villain’s shoulder. This bit of nonsense enraged producer Albert R. Broccoli, who was determined to make a serious spy story. Mankowitz would later leave the project, and Maibaum would finish the script, toning down Fleming’s conception of Dr. No.

Helped by the makeup department and some exquisite Nehru jackets, Wiseman was also equipped with a pair of plastic hands, the result of what he calls an unfortunate accident. This impairment proves to be No’s undoing in the final battle with Bond above the reactor pool.


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