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Doctor Who and the Daleks

UK 1965
produced by
Milton Subotsky, Max J. Rosenberg for Aaru/Amicus
directed by Gordon Flemyng
starring Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Roberta Tovey, Jennie Linden, Barrie Ingham, Michael Coles, Geoffrey Toone, Yvonne Antrobus
screenplay by Milton Subotsky, based on the BBC-serial Doctor Who - The Daleks written by Terry Nation

Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Peter Cushing), Daleks

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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To prove his scientific ingenuity to Ian (Roy Castle), his granddaughter Barbara's (Jennie Linden) boyfriend, absent minded scientist Doctor Who (Peter Cushing) takes him along with his granddaughters Barbara & Susan (Roberta Tovey) on a trip in his time machine n shape of a police box, the TARDIS (short for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space).

They land on a petrified planet, that seems to have been dead for ages, however, when he encounters a city on the horizon, the Doctor tricks the others into  gointg there, claiming he can't control his TARDIS until he has found some mercury.

Someone even was kind enough to leave some medication against radiation poisoning on the TARDIS' doorstep, but the Doctor & company are much too preoccupied with going to the city to be diverted by the drugs ... so when the foursome arrives at the city gates, they are quite exhausted from radiation poisoning & are made an easy prey for the cities evil inhabitants - robot people called the Daleks (essentially looking like huge armoured saltpots).

But the Daleks, for all their evil ingenuity, have one weak spot, they can't leave the cities confines because of the radiation poisoning, & thus can't annihilate the (very human) Thals, a benevolent race that has developed a drug against radiation poisoning ... & in fact, they have laid the drugs onto the TARDIS' doorstep.

When the Daleks gather information that the Doc & company have some of the Thal's drugs, they allow one of them, little Susan, to get the drugs (to examine them in their lab), & while out, Susan makes friends with Aylidon (Barrie ingham) leader of the Thals, who shows her what a nice people they are.

Back in the city with the drugs, the Daleks persuade Susan to write an invitation to her newfound friends ot enter the city - which she does - only to then throw her back into her prison with the others & disclose to her that it was all just a trap to finally get their hands on the Thals.

But the Doctor & friends still have one or more tricks up their sleeve, as they, when finding out the Daleks can only move on metal surfaces, can use that against their guard, escape their prison & warn the Thals, who are just entering the city upon Susan's/the Daleks' invitation, just before the Daleks can effectively annihilate them.

The Doctor & company and the Thals can retreat into the petrified forest, but now the Doctor has set his mind on the Thals making a counterattack - but has serious problems at first persuading the Thals to do so as they are an extremely peaceful people.

In the end though, the Dalek city is attacked from 2 sides, Ian, Barbara & a few Thals enter it through a supply shaft at the back, while the Doctor, Susan & the Thal army (if you want to call it that) attack the city gates - however this attack is at first doomed to fail & the Doctor & Susan are recaptured while the Daleks - as a last step towards the Thals' annihilation - want to explode the neutron bomb.

But by now the Thals have found new courage & attack in numbers, which effectively brings down the Daleks defences & only a few seconds before the blast of the Neutron bomb, the Daleks are immobilized & the bomb's countdown is stopped by them. The Doctor, Barbara, Susan & Ian now can safely return to their home ... but do they ?

 

The success of the BBC-serial Doctor Who - The Daleks from 1963/1964 (which was only the second episode ever of 156 produced over the next 26 years) - & especially because of the Daleks success back then - inevitable led to someone (in this case Amicus, even though their name doesn't appear in the titles upon co-financer Aaru's request) adapting the tale for the big screen. & with only minor changes in script & characters (though fans will  inevitably tell you, enormous changes), this task was accomplished.

Unfortunately, the colour-remake pales to the black-&-white original in comoparison. Whereas the tv-serial was, despite its absolute length of 2 1/2 hours, a tense, suspenseful & fast-paced sci-fi-thriller, the movie turns out to be a rather dull affair, lacking suspense & tension depite of only running for about half the length.

The fault lies probably in the different approach: while the tv-episode was written as a sci-fi-story first & kid-tv-show second, Doctor Who and the Daleks is essentially a kid's movie - with all the disadvantages the genre brings in the long run.

Another fault may lie in the Doctor himself, who is portrayed here by the usually extremely dependable Peter Cushing as a mild-mannered confused scientist as opposed to William Hartnell - an actor definitely inferior to Cushing otherwise - as a grumpy old man with his negative traits almost outweighing the positive.

To add to all this, the sets display a colourful & from today's point of view completely charming pop art kitsch ... which doesn't work at all compared to the dark menace of the black-&-white tv-version ...

The following year, a sequel to Doctor Who and the Daleks, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. was produced, a big screen adaptation of Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which, contrary to all expectation was a vast imrovement over this movie as well as its small-screen counterpart.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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