Reviews of Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and related work

Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965Moving picture, 82 minutes)

Seen in 2022.

Nominally, four humans go looking for mercury in a city in a petrified forest on some alien planet.

This is a remake of an early episode of Doctor Who (1963), with a number of retcons. Importantly, the doctor is an absent-minded human in this continuity, his two assistants are his granddaughters, and he deliberately built his TARDIS in the shape of a police box. He has none of the alien superpowers he would acquire on TV as the franchise deteriorated over the next 60 years.

References here: “Amok Time” (1967).

moving picture fiction

Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966Moving picture, 84 minutes)

Seen in 2022.

In this one, the titular doctor introduces himself as “Doctor Who”. “Who” is evidently his surname in this continuity.

The Daleks are fun this time around, mainly because of their obviously impractical mechanical design coupled with their ring-modulated voices and the harshness of their commands and actions; they were more mellow in the first film. It’s still campy, but this time there’s a hard edge of dystopia and lethal force to it, in the manner of later Warhammer writing. Alas, there is no follow-up to the first film’s teaser about the biological nature of the Daleks. Naturally, there is also no explanation for why Ian’s voice got ring-modulated when he entered a Dalek’s vehicle on the first trip, or why the Daleks now serve pills instead of larger meals as they did before, etc. These movies were made for children, with contempt.

The Dalek ship looks like the one in Devil Girl from Mars (1954), but its top spins in both directions and it has even more black-powder rockets. After a very weak middle section, the movie picks up to a brief and almost satisfactory climax where the ship crashes in a charmingly poor miniature shot. It is better than the first film, but if you’re looking for historical significance, prefer the TV series.

References here: A Clockwork Orange (1971).

moving picture sequel fiction