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DVD Review: The Daleks Boxset

Dalek1_1 Dr Who And The Daleks (1965)
Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150AD (1966)

It is rumoured you know that in the infinite vacuum that is outer space, no one can smell anything…zilch…...nothing!!

In the mid 60s though, two celluloid efforts from Amicus studios sent a strong pungent, waft of cheese across the galaxy, past Jupiter and Pluto…..and who knows, maybe even all the way to the planet Skaro. These movies, Dr Who And The Daleks and its sequel, Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150AD set a new benchmark in kitsch sci-fi - out-fromaged only by Barbarella a couple of year later.

The phenomenal success of the BBC series led to the big screen makeover after only 2 years, supplanting the rather crabby William Hartnell with the rather crabby Peter Cushing, adding dottiness as an afterthought.  Amongst other changes were the to-be-expected improvement in production values and a glorious leap into vivid TECHNICOLOUR from TVs grainy monochrome. Two main constants from the series were the Tardis and the comically scary intergalactic villains, the Daleks.

Dalek2 Dr Who And The Daleks concerns the Doc fighting the pernicious pepperpots on their home planet, aided and abetted by his two grand-daughters (????!) and Roy ‘record breakers’ well as the campest bunch of alien freedom fighters you’ll ever see… Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150AD has the timelord battling the marauding metal mickeys on Earth with the help of one grand-daughter as well as Bernard ‘Wombles narrator’ Cribbins, playing a 60s plod. The stronger of these, it benefited from location shots, a darker plot, funnier lines and stronger direction, thus rendering the studio bound antics of its predecessor lame in comparison. I say location shots but depicting Luton, the Daleks’ base, as mountainous terrain raises an extra guffaw. All in all though, two glossy, larger than life pictures that perhaps lost some of that BBC lo-fi magic in a bid to garner transatlantic sales. To their equal credit, they look fantastic and have gorgeous opening title sequences with suitably cool music.

Directed by Gordon Flemyng and more importantly, produced and written by genre icon, Milton Subotsky with considerable input from cult telly man, Terry Nation, these films are welcome addition to any Dr Who/sixties sci-fi fans collection.

Mark Ellis

Extras on the DVD:

Feature Length commentary with stars Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey, Dalekmania - the definitive Dalek documentary, original film poster for Daleks: Invasion Earth, pack of Dalek trading cards.


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