Which One : The big budget version of Hartnell’s – The Daleks.
Cast : The Doctor : Peter Cushing
Ian : Roy Castle
Barbara : Jennie Linden
Susan : Roberta Tovey
Alydon : Barrie Ingham
Ganatus : Michael Coles
Dyoni : Yvonne Antrobus
Temmous : Geoffrey Toone
Antodus : John Bown
Elyon : Mark Petersen
Written By : Terry Nation (The Daleks)
Screenplay By : David Whittaker & Milton Subotsky
Release Date : 23 August 1965 (UK) – July 1966 (US).
Length : 1 hour 23 minutes.
Plot : The Doctor meets his granddaughter – Barbara’s boyfriend Ian. The Doctor shows Ian, his latest project; a working time machine. Ian clumsly sends the quartet (including ‘other’ Granddaughter Susan), into the far flung future to planet Skaro – and a meeting with the Daleks.
Whats good : Big
-budget realised version of the classic Hartnell; The Daleks story. Very faithful to the series in places. Peter Cushing as the Doctor. The Daleks look cool. The set design.
Whats bad : Roy Castle’s clown act – soon grates. Some of the changes from the original-show, will leave the viewer scratching their head – and asking why?
Review With Spoilers : Doctor Who & The Daleks is a big-budget movie remake of the William Hartnell TV episode; The Daleks – 1964.
Hartnell was replaced in this, by Peter Cushing; who takes over the role of the Doctor. The companions, although bearing the same names – have also been changed too.
Barbara is now – an older teenage granddaughter of the Doctor and Ian, is her new boyfriend. Susan – is a lot younger, than the teenage TV series; Susan.
The Doctor – is not an alien in this. Instead, being a human inventor, who happens to invent a time-machine police box. His second name – is actually “Who”, in this.
The Daleks themselves, have undergone a punchy redesign in this, to be taller and more colourful. They now sport a retractable claw instead of the plunger and instead of their death-ray cannon, they sport a gas-gun.
The rest of the story, pretty much parallels the events – in the TV episode. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan land the Tardis on planet Skaro (confirmed in the second movie Daleks – Invasion Of Earth : 2150 A.D.); many eons, after a nuclear war – has destroyed the surface.
The Doctor, keen to investigate the planet’s surface. Claims that he needs some mercury, to recharge a supposedly failed Tardis component (a lie!). The quartet then travel to a nearby city; where they encounter both the Daleks and Thals – and sucumb to radiation poisoning.
Doctor Who & The Daleks – is a oddity in the series as it isn’t actually canon – to the TV show. Certain elements have been changed and others have been abandoned – altogether. However, the basic plot of a blue police box, time-travelling – old man, is still present.
Made in response to the Dalek-mania fad, of 1964. The film attempted to bring a loved story – from the TV screens to the big screen.
Peter Cushing does an amiable job – in his portrayal of the Doctor. He is completely different to Hartnell’s more grumpy take on the role. As he is alot more genteel and sweet, especially in his dealings; with Granddaughter Barbara and Susan – and even Ian.
The strength of this, is in the colourful and lavish production values. From the uber-60’s modern-look, of the Daleks. To the lavish Skaro-city design and spooky nuclear fall-out forests; surrounding it.
The Thals – in particular, take their look directly from their TV series counterparts; all blonde hair, fake eyelashes and androgynous looking. With a waxy pale turquoise-green skin (original was in black and white – so hard to tell!). If these guys didn’t in some small-part, influence the New Romantics-era of the late 70’s and early 80’s – then something is wrong.
Doctor Who & The Daleks main strength, is that it doesn’t stray too far from the original classic story; and much of the events which happen in the TV episode – happen here.
The Doctor’s lie about needing mercury to fix the Tardis. The group contracting radiation sickness. The Dalek’s plan to mass-produce the Thal anti-radiation medicine and the Thal’s plan to send a group to attack the Dalek city, are all as happened – in the TV version.
Some of its faults, lie in small technicalities; the Daleks shooting CO2 gas; due to the dangers of working with flame throwers on set. Movie Ian being a bumbling idiot comedy-relief character, not like the commanding Ian from the TV series; is a big miss.
These are small objections though, to what – in effect; is a big budget Doctor Who. In the 1960’s, this would have been a visual treat after the low-budget TV series.
Peter Cushing is good as the Doctor and largely carries proceedings. Although his companions, are a bit paint-by-numbers. Cushing is a nice alternative, to the gruff-and-tough Hartnell character, from the TV series; so it is nice – to be able to contrast and compare.
The Daleks look amazing but their weapons look really naff, as they are basically just shooting fire extinguisher has. They should have just gone for the death-ray effect, from the TV series.
This and Daleks – Invasion Of Earth : 2150 A.D. – sit best as non-canon oddities; in a welcome big-budget diversification from the main series.