Study Guide

Dr. No Violence

Violence

SONG: They got the carving knife / To cut the pussy cat's life / The puss will get that knife for trifling with three blind mice.

We never realized how violent this song is, a song we happily hummed when we were just a little Shmoop, until it was playing in the background of Dr. No when three assassins shoot an unarmed man six times, load his dead body into a car, then go to his office and murder his secretary. Yikes. We'll never look at this little rhyme the same way again.

[The Three Blind Mice shoot Strangways.]

These days, a PG- or PG-13 rated film might have some intense violence, but it is sometimes bloodless, as if that makes killing people less offensive. In 1963, filmmakers weren't worried about getting stains on the carpet. When people are shot in Dr. No, they bleed.

BOOTHROYD: Nice and light, in a lady's handbag. No stopping power.

BOND: I disagree, sir. I've used a Beretta for ten years. I've never missed with it yet.

BOOTHROYD: Walther PPK. 7.65mm with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer, with little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.

Leave it to the Americans to use a gun that causes real damage. Bond's preferred gun is like an English gentleman—stern, yet effective, and able to deliver a well-placed shot to put anyone down.

BOND: I think they were on their way to a funeral.

A trait of Bond's throughout the series is making a joke after killing his pursuers. Here, after the Three Blind Mice drive their hearse off a cliff and die in a fiery explosion, Bond cracks this one-liner.

HONEY: Why?

BOND: Because I had to.

Although Honey is armed with a knife, it seems she uses it only to scare people away, not to kill. She is aghast when she watches Bond kill a guard, even though the guard wouldn't have hesitated to kill either of them.

HONEY: I'm pretty sure he killed my father.

DR. NO: I'm sure the guards will amuse her.

This line is subtle, and it's impossible to tell for sure if No is threatening Honey with sexual violence. Whatever the guards are doing, they're not playing Yahtzee with her. But to imply she might be raped by the guards is heinous, especially considering Honey's history of sexual assault.

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