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  Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. The Doctor Will See You Now
Year: 1966
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Stars: Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, Ray Brooks, Andrew Keir, Roberta Tovey, Jill Curzon, Roger Avon, Geoffrey Cheshire, Keith Marsh, Philip Madoc, Steve Peters, Eddie Powell, Godfrey Quigley, Peter Reynolds, Bernard Spear, Sheila Steafel, Eileen Way
Genre: Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: London policeman Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbins) is walking down a street when he stops at the window of a travel agent's and wistfully gazes at the holidays on offer. Suddenly a man creeps up behind him and wallops him over the head - a bank robbery is taking place and Tom is being forced out of the way. But he is not entirely knocked out, and makes it to a police telephone box to call for help, yet when he opens the door and tumbles inside, he cannot believe his eyes. There is a large room where the telephone should be, and an elderly gent (Peter Cushing) is approaching him...

And that man is Doctor Who, who just to annoy future fans calls himself that as well, even though it's the name of programme, goddammit, and the character he plays is simply known as The Doctor. But there are a few things you have to overlook in this, the sequel to the previous Daleks film, if you want to reconcile it with its source. Happily, these are only means to streamline the original serial, scripted by Terry Nation, into a smoother movie experience, and the relationship between these two films and the decades-lasting series is quite fun for the non-obsessive.

Cushing is The Doctor once more, falling back on his dotty professor style of role that is at odds with the somewhat more irascible version William Hartnell portrayed on television. He takes Tom, along with his granddaughters Susan (Roberta Tovey was back too) and Louise (Jill Curzon), to the future London of 2150 A.D. and there, as the title suggests, they encounter the Daleks for the second time. As Nation freely admitted these mechanical villains were based on the Nazis, it's only natural that their threat of invading Britain during World War II should come to pass in fictional form.

And in a different guise, of course; the Daleks are every bit as effective here as they were on television, with screenwriter and co-producer Milton Subotsky recreating many key scenes from the original such as the Dalek emerging from the Thames to menace the heroes. Those heroes are split up very quickly and given their own subplots to deal with in the fight against the alien invaders, who, The Doc surmises, now use magnetism to move without the aid of their metal floor from the first film. This means they can move around anywhere they want, although we never see them tackle the stairs - ha, ha!

But seriously, or as serious as you can be with this film, which in spite of its status as a piece of fluff to keep those sixties kids quiet during Saturday morning screenings at their local cinema, is pretty grim. Yes, Subotsky lightens the mood in places, witness Cribbins (who would triumphantly appear in the official Doctor Who on T.V. over forty years later) and his pantomime with the Robomen, but that Nation grit is not to be denied, so we have freedom fighters being callously killed and citizens turned informers, all to show how Britain is suffering under these extreme conditions. This is a lot less colourful than the previous film, and Cushing may being playing it for mirth, but there's an overcast look to this which lends the adventure a grave air suggesting these Daleks are no laughing matter. Music by Bill McGuffie.

[Studio Canal's Blu-ray offers a spiffing print, along with extras such as a restoration featurette, an interview with Bernard Cribbins, and the trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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