Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dr.Who And The Daleks (1965)

"Now on the big screen....IN COLOUR!",proclaimed the U.K. poster for Dr.Who And The Daleks - and that was essentially the film's selling point in 1965. Whilst viewers could tune in weekly to the BBC's Doctor Who television series,it was shot and transmitted in black and white until the early 70's.....but the film,based on Terry Nation's first Dalek serial,The Daleks,would feature the most evil,ruthless lifeform in the galaxy in glorious colour.

However,this wasn't an entirely faithful adaptation -  it's more of a reimagining in hindsight,as it stars Peter Cushing as Doctor Who,an eccentric inventor,who with the help of his two granddaughters,Susan and Barbara,have invented a time machine called TARDIS. Barbara's boyfriend,Ian,accidentally activates TARDIS which travels to the planet Skaro - where they encounter the evil Daleks who are determined to destroy the peace loving Thals....

Doctor Who And The Daleks is pretty lightweight in terms of its story compared to the original television story - that story ran for 7 episodes with a runtime of just under 3 hours,whereas the film is just shy of 90 minutes.There were also themes of racial purity and the futility of war,whereas the film is a straightforward adventure story aimed towards family audiences,although its saddled with slapstick humour which does get pretty tedious after a while.

But what it does get right is the look of the film - although its a film very much of a time,it looks fantastic. The petrified forest,ravaged by nuclear war,is suitably alien, and the Dalek city and its claustrophobic corridors are a real feast for the eyes. Not sure about the Thals though,who seem to have a thing for eyeliner and makeup.....

Peter Cushing is a sheer delight as Doctor Who. His interpretation of the character was quite a departure from what was on television at the time,but he's a joy to watch as he battles against the Daleks - the real stars of the film. They are slightly different from their television appearances,but they look magnificent in colour as they glide around exterminating all who stand in their way (albeit with fire extinguishers - flames were deemed too scary!).

Overall,Doctor Who And The Daleks is a fun and entertaining film - but i think Peter Cushing put it best when he provided the voiceover for the trailer: ‘Come with us into that strange new world. I cannot guarantee your safety ... but I can promise you unimagined thrills!

My rating: 7.5/10


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