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<   No. 1543   2007-04-18   >

Comic #1543

1 {scene: interior of air conditioning ducts}
1 Stud: {crawling} Clever of me, finding these ducts.
1 Honey: {crawling behind him} Uh-huh...
2 Stud: Oww! The metal is getting scorchingly hot.
2 Honey: You could take your dinner jacket off.
3 Stud: Is that a proposition?
3 Honey: To pad our hands!
4 Stud: I was going to say... we don't even have any champagne.

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This is the one bit of the film Dr No that never really made any sense to me.

James Bond, placed in a cell by Dr No, removes a grate and crawls into what is apparently an air conditioning duct. Fine.

But as he crawls through it, the duct becomes scorchingly hot, forcing him to tear his shirt into strips of cloth to insulate his hands. Then a wave of water washes through the duct, drenching him. And then he negotiates a long vertical shaft, leading down, and finally emerges in another room.

Now I'm no expert at air conditioning, but I'm of the general opinion that having your ducts get nearly red hot is not ideal for cooling a building down. And what's with the water? Where does it come from? Where does it go? And why doesn't it fall down the vertical shaft and out the vent and into the room at the end? Again, not an expert, but I imagine pumping water through your air conditioning ducts is not exactly standard practice.

If you read Ian Fleming's original novel, however, it has a similar sequence. Except that it's not Bond crawling through an air conditioning duct in an attempt to escape from his cell. It's Bond crawling through a deliberate obstacle course designed by Dr No, with viewports through which he can observe the suffering Bond has to go through. All of a sudden the heat and the water and the vertical shafts make sense. Well, as much sense as an evil villain's torture-course-cum-deathtrap can.

2017-03-25 Rerun commentary: I remember one time I was watching this film, when very young - it may have been the first time I ever saw it. I asked my mother what the deal was with the water rushing through the ducts, and she said it had something to do with the air conditioning. At the time I accepted that answer, but in the fullness of time I came to realise how odd that was. I'm not sure if my mother was similarly confused and just made up something to satisfy my childish curiosity, or if she genuinely thought that air conditioning might actually work that way. I suppose I could ask her one day, though I don't know if she'd remember the specific occasion.

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