The business of film
The business of film

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The business of film

1.2 When it all went wrong on Dr. No

Take a look through this video slideshow. It contains excerpts of documents from the Dr. No production.

You can access the video transcript below to read the full documents more easily than pausing or rewinding. (The main quotes from each excerpt are also provided as a separate downloadable file here: Dr. No correspondence [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .) These documents relate to a sequence of events that took place while the film was in production.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4 When things go wrong
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Transcript: Video 4 When things go wrong

Slide 1

PROPS: As per script and breakdown to include 3 bamboo poles from canoe, hermit crabs and repeats, as arranged with Syd Cain, special pink shells, Honey's knife, face mask, snorkel, canvas sack, Bond's gunn, Quarrel's guns, applejack jar, loud-hailer and all props for weather standby.

SPECIAL EFFECTS: Frank George to be on location with gas-operated machine gun and bullet effects.

ART DEPT: To supply on location set dressing of debris and drift-wood and six men for beach cleaning and sweeping.

VEHICLES: All vehicles to park outside Jamaica Power Service Plant. QUARREL'S CANOE - HONEY'S CANOE - GLASS-BOTTOMED BOAT - CATAMARAN - RUNABOUT BOAT. DR. NO'S LAUNCH (if available)

FIRST AID: Unit Nurse to report to Carib Hotel at 7.30.

CATERING: Lunch, morning and afternoon teas to be served on location, as arranged with Mr. Munn.

PRODUCTION: 2 Policemen to be at Carib Hotel at 7.30 a.m. please.

TRANSPORT: All transport to report to Car Park Carib Ocho Rios and heavy equipment and generator to leave at 7.15 a.m. The unit will travel in normal vehicles to locations.

Slide 2

We are hoping to complete studio shooting on Friday March 30th. We have a few shots of inserts and B.P. in the Tunnel for Monday and Tuesday. We have, as you probably know, been shooting inserts all this week with a second camera crew.

Cubby, Terence and myself have been aware of the necessity for emergency and economy and we have been trying our best to keep the overages as low as possible.

To sum up, the reasons for our over budget situation are as follows:– The overage on cost in Jamaica which added approximately £20,000 to the budget and the fact that we could not make up the lost time but shot one week more than scheduled in the studio. This last fact, plus my earlier paragraphs account for the balance of the overage.

Slide 3

Harry Saltzman Esq., Eon Productions Ltd., c/o Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks

Dear Harry,

As an old friend I am sorry we have found it necessary to take over the production of "DR. NO". Quite frankly, I feel this is the only way in which we can make sure that the concluding stages of the picture are carried out with the maximum economy and that the overcost is not further increased.

As you know, we will henceforth be signing on the Bank account and I would ask that neither you nor Cubby nor your companies draw any amounts still due to you until such time as 1) the Terence Young matter has been put in order, and 2) any of your undertakings such as excess of legal fees etc. have been met.

Slide 4

We are taking a very serious view about the sets on this picture. From Ken Adam's letter it is evident that for some time prior to the 1st February, i.e. at the very outside of the picture he had warned you that the sets and props were going to exceed the budget by approximately £7,000. A few weeks before on December 22nd Ken Adam, with whose work we are familiar and in whose judgement we trust, had written to us that he considered the budget allowance adequate. It seems therefore that it was decided at this early date to embark on a more ambitious set building operation and, although your Art Director warned you of the increase that was going to arise and which would inevitably absorb a third of your contingency, you did not attempt to cut back on these sets.

At the various meetings, the suggestion has often been made that the increase on these sets came as a surprise and that you were entirely committed to them before you realised the effect they were going to have on the cost of the picture. We feel we cannot accept this in view of Ken Adam's warning.

Slide 5

Colin Crewe, Esq., Tufnell, Satterthwaite & Co. Ltd., 5, Whittington Avenue, E.C.3.

Dear Colin,

re: Consequential Loss recoveries.

The film "Dr. No" has now reached the Fine Cut stage ready for music sessions and the subsequent dubbing.

It would seem to be a very good action picture and, as you know, it is in colour. The distribution is being handled by United Artists on a world-wide basis and is the first of the "James Bond" stories which have a very large reading public.

Taking all these factors into account, I feel that recovery can be regarded as being very good.

Slide 6

Dear Sirs,


We refer to the advances made by us towards the cost of production of this film which advances were secured by the charge created by you in our favour and dated 10th April 1962. We hereby certify and confirm that as at the 31st December 1962 the amount outstanding in respect of advances made by us towards the cost of production of this film was £59,890 and that at 31st December 1963 all such sums together with interest payable in respect thereof had been duly repaid to us and the said charge created by you in our favour was duly discharged.

End transcript: Video 4 When things go wrong
Video 4 When things go wrong
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

In June 1961, Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli formed a partnership to produce the James Bond films based on the Ian Fleming novels. Dr. No was the first of these. Later that year, Film Finances agreed to provide a completion guarantee. The first day of shooting was 16 January 1962.

Described image
Figure 2 Further correspondence from Dr. No

The first document is the call sheet for the famous scene where Ursula Andress, who plays Honey, makes her iconic entrance from the sea. By the end of March, the producer Saltzman admitted that production was going over budget, and within a week Robert Garrett of Film Finances informed Saltzman in a letter that they would be taking over the film. Shortly after that, Garrett wrote to Eon Productions complaining about the over-expenditure on sets. He was clearly very unhappy with the situation. But by November 1962, Film Finances were in a much happier place with the production.

In a letter to the insurance broker they were upbeat about the prospects of the film. The story ends on 21 January 1964, when Film Finances received repayment in full for the money they had to advance to the production to cover the overcost.

And so the first Bond movie was made – and of course, the James Bond franchise has continued ever since.


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