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Angel Portillo

Why Today Matters

Why Today Matters is written by Berryville resident Angel Portillo. Portillo is an undergrad at University of Arkansas, seeking his bachelor's degree in History. His column appears in the Tuesday Midweek edition of Carroll County News. He can be reached at aporae@gmail.com.

May 8, 1963: From England, With Love

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Who now does not know of the British Secret Agent 007, who in his suave manner always introduces himself with his last name first?

On May 8, 1963, the first James Bond film "Dr. No" premiered in the United States. It had been showing in England since October 1962, but Americans had to be patient for almost seven months before the film would be shown "for its eyes only."

Starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress, this film had it all, from beautiful beaches to flame-throwing dragon tractors.

Apart from bringing heart-throbbing entertainment, this film's roots were firmly planted in real-world events. During the early 1960s, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were clashing head to head in the famous "Space Race." This was also the time when the world would freeze and it would come the closest to witnessing an all-out nuclear war, during the frightening 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This film blended all these elements and brought them to the big screen.

Dr. No without a doubt catapulted Sean Connery to fame. Born in Scotland, he dropped out of school to enter the British Navy, and afterwards working as a lifeguard, milkman and bricklayer before becoming an actor.

Connery would star in four more Bond films after this one, his final role culminating in the film "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1972.

One of the most memorable scenes in the whole James Bond franchise can be found in Dr. No. This scene was Honey Ryder's (Ursula Andress) first appearance in the movie: she emerges from the alluring ocean, carrying two shiny shells and singing a precious lullaby. This awakens the sleeping James Bond, who is trying to hide from the security guards of the mysterious island of Crab Key.

If there is something great about the James Bond films, it has to be its beautiful Bond Girls who unexpectedly cross paths with the spy and end up becoming his lovers and accomplices.

In the world of film-lovers, the date of May 8, 1963, should always be remembered. Dr. No not only revolutionized film-making, but it completely changed the genre of action movies. The James Bond franchise continues to thrive even 49 years after its debut.

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Why Today Matters is a new column written by Berryville resident Angel Portillo. Portillo is an undergrad at University of Arkansas, seeking his bachelor's degree in History. His column will appear on Tuesdays.