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10 October 2009 @ 09:59 pm
Doctor Who and the Daleks  
Having decided to watch a film tonight we started sorting through the miscellaneous items B. has stored on the PVR-alike he has converted the Mac Mini into. V for Vendetta? Too grim. Modern remake of The Time Machine? Not heard good things about that. Masters of the Universe? Sometimes I worry about him, I really do. Doctor Who and the Daleks? Oooh! actually I've never seen that.

So we entered that strange world in which Peter Cushing is the Doctor and Roy 'no prat unfalled' Castle is Ian Chesterton and Jennie Linden, as Barbara, clearly feels that she is engaged in some kind of Big Hair contest with Jacqueline Hill (the `real' Barbara).

Two Barbaras. Impressive Hair.

B: "These Thals have rather sophisticated anti-radiation drugs for hunter-gatherers."
Me: "They're an advanced society. They have make-up."
B: "That's not make-up. It's natural skin colouring."

Make-up or natural skin colouring? You decide.

It must be said I enjoyed every minute of it, from the completely pointless (in this version) crossing of a dangerous swamp armed only with a big stick, to the Daleks ranting at people in lifts to "come back down" or at escaping prisoners to "stand still". Peter Cushing is easily the best actor present. Roy Castle struggles into second place through the slapstick but in the end he does a passably engaging turn as a bumbling hero. Surprisingly he's given a run for his money by 12-year-old actress Roberta Tovey who manages to make the precocious and feisty youngster role she's been saddled with actually likeable. As pacifists the Thals are, well, only marginally more believable than they are as warriors - yes, this is one of those 1960s Doctor Who stories, in which a pacifist culture is convinced of the error of its ways. The direction is everything you'd expect from a 60s B-serial and the incidental music is... simply not present when it's badly needed making, for instance, the fleeting glimpse of an actual dalek hand (complete with gold nail varnish) merely an odd throwaway shot rather than a shocking and sinister reveal.

Either I am a Who fan beyond redemption or this is an undiscovered 60s classic.

reggietatereggietate on October 10th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
For all its faults, it is rather fun, though the second one, where the Daleks invade Earth, is better, being played much straighter.
philmophlegm: Tarkin (animated)philmophlegm on October 10th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
I agree - the second film is the better one, and Bernard Cribbins is better than Roy Castle.

Oh, and Peter Cushing is easily the best actor present in almost everything he's in, including Star Wars.
reggietatereggietate on October 11th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
Totally :-) Did you ever read his autobiography? It's one of the funniest I've ever read (moving, too, when he talks about his wife). Peter was a genuine National Treasure. They most certainly don't make 'em like him any more ;-)
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
We had a lot of confusion over whether B had seen this film and, eventually, concluded he was thinking of the second. I think it gets shown more often since it is, indeed, the better of the two. Certainly I had seen the other one several times and had never seen this before.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
I've seen the second one several times and it is indeed better - although even it has it's Bernard Cribbins pretends to be a Roboman moments.