Remembering The Dark Magnetism Of Sean Connery

Sean Connery wasn’t a stranger to moviegoers when he made his debut as James Bond in the 1962 film Dr. No, the first big-screen outing for Ian Fleming’s super-spy. Connery had been around for awhile. He’d almost stumbled into acting in the early ’50s via a string of odd jobs, but supporting roles on stage led to bigger parts and, on screen, work as an extra evolved into name-on-the-poster jobs like Another Time, Another Place — in which he played opposite Lana Turner and tussled with her gangster boyfriend on set — and Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People. But Connery’s first moments as Bond made all that feel like prelude.

Introduced gambling in an upscale private club, Bond is revealed bit-by-bit by director Terrence Young. He appears first as a pair of hands, his profile obscured by the gambler to his left, then from behind, via a shot of his precise haircut and a tuxedo filled out by intimidatingly broad shoulders. When we finally see his face he’s Fleming’s hero in full: the handsome features, the disrespectful angle of the just-lighted cigarette he can’t be bothered to remove when speaking, the inquisitive eyebrows, and the alert gaze that mixes wariness with mockery. Never mind that Fleming had envisioned a hero bearing a resemblance to singer Hoagy Carmichael or the unmistakable traces of a Scottish accent Connery applies to the words “Bond, James Bond.” It was the role Connery was born to play. Read more at GQ.