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4.0 out of 5 stars `This is Invasion Earth - 2150 AD! This is Invasion Earth - 2150 AD!' - Daleks on the big screen!, 16 Dec 2013
This review is from: Dr Who: The Dalek Collection (Dr Who And The Daleks & Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150AD + Dalekmania documentary) [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
`Most exciting!'

The Peter Cushing era of `Doctor Who'. This DVD collection contains the two `Doctor Who' movies that were shown around the 1960s featuring the Daleks. The movies were fuelled by the Dalekmania that was happening at the time since the public were excited by these popular pepper pots with their catchphrase of `Exterminate!'. They're not part of the Doctor Who universe that we know and love today as they're completely separate (what you might call alternative continuity). So don't take these films too seriously, as they're films to enjoy with the Daleks.

My parents bought this DVD for me whilst I getting into 'Doctor Who' at the time in 2007. I didn't really pay much attention to these films and wasn't too keen on watching them since they're not part of 'Who' continuity. But once I got into watching these films I certainly enjoyed them when watching for the first time and seeing Doctor Who movies with the Daleks and Peter Cushing's Doctor.

The movies are adaptions of the first two Doctor Who stories with the Daleks, and were produced by Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg of Amicus Productions. Milton Subotsky wrote the screenplay for both films with help from David Whittaker (who was `Doctor Who's' script editor at the start of the series) based on Terry Nation's TV scripts. They were both directed by Gordon Flemying, who would work on some of the popular TV shows of the 60s including `The Saint' and `The Avengers'.

`DR WHO AND THE DALEKS'

The first movie is based on the first Dalek story 'The Daleks'. It stars Peter Cushing who plays Dr Who; Roy Castle as Ian Chesterton and Jennie Linden and Robert Tovey who play the Doctor's granddaughters Barbara and Susan.

The reason being why Peter Cushing was cast as the Doctor and not William Hartnell was because the TV show was still being made at the BBC and William Hartnell was working non-stop to make the programmes so couldn't be available. Also the films were intended to be sold across the globe and needed transatlantic names to sell them worldwide. The fact that these films are spin-offs and not part of `Doctor Who' continuity make them easier to enjoy as there are certain differences between the films and TV series. One notable difference is the fact that Peter Cushing's Doctor is not a Time Lord from Gallifrey as he is simply a human scientist who built the TARDIS himself and is simply called Dr Who (with `Who' being his surname, since he's called `the Doctor' in the TV series). The TARDIS interior also looks entirely different from the TV one as it's a jumble of controls sprawled all over the place and completely unlike and unfamiliar to the TARDIS hexagonal set we all know. It's all fantasy, but it's heck of a lot of fun.

Peter Cushing as Dr Who is very unlike William Hartnell entirely, since Peter's Doctor is more gentlemanly, elderly and rather sweet and gentle at heart. Not like the fiery spirit of the Doctor we all know, which I wondered why it wasn't there in the film series. But seeing Peter as Dr Who is truly a pleasure to watch since he really captivates you from the word go.

He has a certain eccentricity and is really into his scientific inventions like the TARDIS (or simply 'TARDIS' as he calls her). He gets on very well with his granddaughter Susan (who's a little girl) and seems to have a charismatic fondness for Ian and shows concern for his other granddaughter Barbara. He also knows how to face the Daleks and defy them when they want to destroy the Thals and destroy Skaro completely. I love the moment when Peter's Doctor challenges the Thals to fight the Daleks, persuading Ian to take Dyoni and Alydon punching him and Peter's Doctor proving to the Thals that they 'will fight for something'. It was something done in the TV story as well only it was Ian trying to persuade the Thals, but it's still a lovely moment both for TV and movie versions of the story.

For me, Peter Cushing has appeared in the first Star Wars film - `A New Hope'; and is well known for many horror films before this. I've also seen him in some of the Christmas editions of the Morecambe and Wise show. To see him take on the role of the Doctor was unusual to me at the time, but it was certainly a happy viewing experience.

Another actor I recognise in this is a very young Roy Castle playing Ian Chesterton - who is Barbara's boyfriend in the film (not like in the TV series where Ian and Barbara were school teachers). Roy is well known for his appearances in the `Carry On' films, presenting the children's show `Record Breakers' and narrated many of the Scripture Union videos for children which I've seen as he became a committed Christian. Sadly Roy died very tragically in 1994 years later.

Here he plays Ian who's a rather clumsy and bumbling sort of chap unlike his TV counterpart. It was Ian who started off their adventure by accidentally sitting on the big red control lever (though that was Barbara's fault when she lovingly embraced him and Dr Who still blamed him). You'd think to look at Ian he's incapable of being the hero. But as a matter of fact he is when he's escaping from being trapped in the Dalek casing, when he and the others throw a control panel into the lift shaft to stop a Dalek getting at them; and during the climax when he shouts to the Daleks and they destroy the `countdown' for their bomb and it stops at `3' - his lucky number.

I did enjoy Ian's comic moments in the film. The bit with Ian not being able to get through a door and when he sits down it opens; and he tries to get in but it won't let him in as if it's got a grudge against him. Very funny stuff. Also when Ian keeps tripping up when they're in the petrified jungle when leaning against a tree or falling into a `soft centre' monster statue as well as sitting on some `soft centre' chocolates for Barbara at the beginning were funny stuff to watch. Ian's a good chap at heart and does his best despite his clumsiness. He's meant to be for comic relief and the uninitiated when joining Dr Who and his grandchildren on their adventures in TARDIS. His first reaction to the TARDIS interior and his shock reactions at seeing the alien planet and the Daleks were truly inspirational. Roy Castle did a superb job playing Ian in `Dr Who and the Daleks'.

I also enjoyed watching Jennie Linden who played Barbara (who I've seen in `The Saint' with Roger Moore). Barbara in the movie is a sweet person and rather shy. She easily gets frightened when it comes to Daleks and being on the alien planet, but she is quite resourceful especially when she comes up with the idea of throwing `mud' onto the Dalek's eyestalk. My favourite sequence in the film is where all the four characters get together to discuss how to defeat the Daleks and immobilse them from their static electrical power from the floor. Barbara is brave in the face of danger as well as showing a vulnerability, which makes a truly believable character to watch.

Roberta Tovey plays Susan, the Doctor's youngest granddaughter, who is a little girl - this is to appeal for the children in the movie audiences who watch this. I'm sure little Roberta had a lovely time playing Susan and enjoyed herself on the movie set with the Daleks. Susan in this has inherited her grandfather's spirit and is quite mischievous and a bit of a know-all really. But he's full of adventure and a joy to watch. Roberta truly does a remarkable job learning her lines and playing the part of Susan with conviction especially when she's in TARDIS and with the Daleks.

The Daleks here are also fabulous to watch. The Daleks in the movies look like the ones from the new series with those huge lights when they speak, except they have different colour schemes to identify their hierarchy and status. I love the Daleks ranging from black, to red, to blue and silver. They became the inspiration for the Daleks' look in `Victory of the Daleks', which turned out to be awful in my opinion. I love those moments when the Daleks got into a state of panic like when one Dalek took food and got himself caught in Dr Who, Ian, Barbara and Susan's trap and it ranted and raved saying `Help, cannot see them! Help, cannot see them! Help!' They are truly sensational in this movie and I enjoyed every moment watching what the Daleks did and I'm sure they were spectacular on the big screen.

Other cast members worth mentioning are the actors who played the Thals in the movie include Barry Ingham as Alydon; Michael Coles as Ganatus and Yvonne Antrobus as Dyoni. Their eye and skin make-up can get a little getting used to, but as aliens on an strange planet they look stunning and convincing as Thals.

This is my favourite Dalek movie with Peter Cushing's Doctor. It's a lot of fun and truly something to enjoy with your kids. It's not to be taken too seriously and it has fine performance from a stunning cast including Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden and Robert Tovey...oh! And of course the Daleks who steal the show.

On this DVD for `Dr Who and the Daleks', there's an feature-length audio commentary track with Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey, moderated by a Peter Cushing biographer.

`DALEKS - INVASION EARTH 2150 AD'

The second Dalek film with Peter Cushing and it's based on the second Dalek TV story 'The Dalek Invasion Of Earth'. And I must say this is a great improvement on the TV version of this story, which frankly I found rather dull and boring when watching it. This is a full-on action packed adventure and it has stood the test of time considering it was made in the 1960s.

The film stars Peter Cushing returning as Dr Who along with his granddaughter Roberta Tovey as Susan (who Peter asked for her to return if he'd do another movie, which I found rather sweet). They are also joined by Jill Curzon who plays the Doctor's niece Louise (I've seen Jill recently in `The Saint' as well with Roger Moore). Also there's Bernard Cribbins playing policeman Tom Campbell who walks into the TARDIS by mistake. Bernard would later play for me Mr Hutchinson in the `Fawlty Towers' episode `The Hotel Inspectors' as well doing voices for `The Wombles' and for Who fans play Wilfred Mott, Donna's granddad in the new series. Bernard is essentially playing the `Ian Chesterton' part just Jill Curzon is doing the `Barbara' part in the movie.

The movie also features a number of guest characters including Ray Brooks as freedom fighter David who's brave, heroic and `the boy with the knack'. There's also Andrew Kier playing the rough but good-hearted Wyler who shares an adventure with Susan when they're on their way to the Dalek mines in Bedfordshire. There's also a little guest appearance from Phillip Madoc (well known for his U-Boat captain character in `Dad's Army' and many Doctor Who villains) playing black market spiff Brockley. He's a nasty piece of work and I enjoyed his scenes when he tricks Peter Cushing's Doctor to being caught by the Daleks and then finds himself getting blown up in the house when the Daleks open fire upon it.

I'm very impressed with the Robomen in this, as they're far superior and better than the ones seen in the TV story. The Robomen are much more fighters than slaves to the Daleks and look good in a helmet. I love the action sequences when the freedom fighters attack the Dalek saucer and when Dr Who orders the Robomen to attack the Daleks as their final order. Their black suits and weaponry are truly inspirational and gives the Robomen the chance to kick butt. I found it funny when Bernard Cribbins' character Tom gets dressed up as a Roboman and has to fit in with the Robomen squad taking a break and having something to eat. It was truly a funny moment.

The spectacular Dalek spaceship sequences when it flies in the air are truly sensational and they've stood the test of time over the years. It's all very 60s style and manages to captivate when seeing the Daleks about to land or take off in places like London or Bedfordshire.

Sadly, the film didn't get as much success as the first Dalek film. Thus ended the Peter Cushing reign of Dr Who and no further Dalek films were to be made for cinema. This is a real shame as I would have liked to have seen more of these Dalek stories made into films. Imagine `Dr Who and the Chase' and what they would have done with the Mechanoids; or even `Dr Who and the Zarbi' - imagine that! I'm sure the producers would have a hard job to tackle `The Daleks' Master Plan' and make 12 episodes into a movie - unless they have the inspired idea of dividing the movie into two parts like `Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' did. Perhaps Big Finish will one day approach this movie series and reinvent it somehow, and perhaps get Robert Tovey, Jill Curzon, Jennie Linden and Bernard Cribbins on a reunion of these Dalek films. So it wasn't to be for the Daleks to have a long lasting list of appearances on the big screen, but the two Daleks are treasures to enjoy.

On the DVD for `Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150', there's an hour-long documentary called `Dalekmania' that focuses on the making of the two Dalek films made back in 1995. This includes interviews with Roberta Tovey (Susan), Jill Curzon (Louise), Barry Ingham (Alydon), Yvonne Antrobus (Dyoni), Marcus Hearn (film historian and archivist), Gary Gillatt (`Doctor Who Magazine' editor at the time), Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks), etc. There's also included on the documentary the original UK trailers for the two movies. It's a very informative and insightful documentary that celebrates the making of these two films.

So the two Peter Cushing Dr Who films are a joy to watch. It's rather sad his Doctor doesn't get mentioned a lot in `Doctor Who' terms, but he's certainly a joy to watch. I've enjoyed these Dalek films as they're such great fun and it's nice to know there was some `Doctor Who' in movie form at the cinema. It'd be interesting if they ever did an original Doctor Who film again for cinema, whether it's with the Daleks or not. Truly two enjoyable films and with the Daleks involved you can't go wrong.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Dec 2013 11:56:56 GMT
Timelord-007 says:
I think this doesn't get mentions as it more a reimaging of the tv series as The Doctor in these films isn't from Gallifrey or a Timelord so it's not seen as canon.

But the films for there time are enjoyable & Peter Cushing is always good.

I think your review is excellent, well pitched & explained, I keep saying it but it's written from the heart so that love always shines through in your reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2013 14:02:03 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Yes these films aren't seen as 'canon' (I hate that word), but they are still good to watch.

Thank you for your comments on my reviews. 100 votes for me, that's amazing! Thank you so much for your support. Tim.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2013 16:46:47 GMT
Timelord-007 says:
Your reviews are a enjoyable read Tim & written with love of the product,Glad you enjoyed my destiny review I've just reviewed the Forge trilogy.

Congrats on 100 votes mate your doing well.

Posted on 24 Dec 2013 19:37:14 GMT
Luke73 says:
A very gracious review. Compelling to read. Nowadays the 60's movies hardly get a look-in Doctor Who Magazine and are very much overshadowed by New 'Who'. However back in the 1980s they were featured often, with amazing photos in the then called Doctor Who Monthly. And seemed to have been reminded to Who fans back then, they were very much part of the entity of Dr Who.
I was privileged to have watched Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. as a matinee at my local cinema back in the 1970s. As a youngster back then it was brilliant on the big screen.
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