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"Dr Who at the Flicks",
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This review is from: Now On The Big Screen: Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who at the Cinema (Paperback)
This is a terrific and well researched labour of love. Plenty of notes with factoids accompany the text. Charles Norton tells the story of the 2 60's Aaru Dalek films and all the other attempts to mount a Dr Who film.
There are no photos or pictures (except for the cover illustration) which may put off some, but the text itself is more than good enough to transcend this.
He kicks off with a detailed look at "Dr Who and The Daleks" and "Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD" covering how the deal between the BEEB and Amicus /Aaru was made, the pre-production and making of, plus publicity and box office. Yes some of this is well trod ground (although not as well trod as you might expect, this being the 1st book to look at their making in detail). Stories of how Peter Cushing got cast, how canny BBC Dalek Operator Robert Jewell got himself more cash as mentor/coach to the newer Dalek operators and so on are not new, however there is a lot that is.
I never knew before who the original director or actor cast as Barbara were or that there was a proper cliff hanger ending in the script up until a very late stage which was not to be played for laughs. There is also detail on the influence British censor had on softening the edges of the original story to allow for a family audience friendly certificate.
He also tells us that contrary to popular belief the movie Daleks are around the same size as their TV counterparts.
The movies that never were are covered in detail too, particularly Tom Baker and Ian Marter's idea "Dr Who Meets Scratchman" and the 1987-1994 saga of Greenlight/Daltenreys/Lumiere's attempts to mount a film. The Daltenreys saga made me more sympathetic than I had been before. Here was a group of people who could never have made the film alone but who finally got together a credible deal at the 11th hour with what was believed their best script, Leonard Nimoy's interest in directing only to have the plug pulled on the basis of a contract breach.
The parties intereviewed believe that the BEEB were desperate to ditch them in support of the deal that led to the Paul McGann film.
Other movies that never were include Douglas Adams' "Dr Who and the Krikkitmen" many ideas from which would feature in his 3rd Hitchhikers book and an attempt by Yeti creators Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln to sell Disney on the idea of an Abominable Snowmen film with the Doctor replaced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger.
For all these and the Aaru films there are detailed storylines to enjoy, I especially recommend the one from Denny Martin Flinn's script for the Lumiere deal.
There is also an aftermath or what happened next for much of these and the Aaru films' one is the best. Concurring with popular opinion the Peter Cushing played Dr Who in all but name in it, there's an honourable mention for At The Earth's Core and also Milton Subotsky's attempts to follow the Dalek films later with a dinosaur based Who film (sadly no storyline exists) are looked at as is Peter Cushing's radio pilot for Dr Who and fan based production Mission of Doom widely acknowleged to have been influenced by the Dalek films.
Some film ideas get only a brief mention as no real work was done e.g. Disney's interest in a film version of Hartnell's Marco Polo and Subotsky's interest in filming either the Keys of Marinus or the Chase.
There's also a look at Dalek films documentary Dalekmania which explains why certain key figures did not get interviewed.
Only the last portion of the book is a little dull which looks at BBC Films interest in Dr Who which never even extended to a script being written. It's just not as interesting as what comes before it.
If you have interest in the Dr Who films that were and were not made, then you will be likely to enjoy this very much.
Where else will you find out what techniscope actually is, and how Boris Karloff nearly got to be Dr Who?