Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966)

Director: Gordon Flemyng

The success of Milton Subotsky’s first Dalek film meant a followup was pretty much inevitable. Now the second Dalek serial had been something of a landmark for Doctor Who on TV, and Subotsky evidently wanted his second Dalek film (based on same) to do something similar. And if there’s one thing the film does right, it’s to follow the serial’s lead in making greater use of actual locations; the TV version broke new ground for itself with its scenes filmed in “deserted” London, and the film version makes similarly good use of its own locations. Mind you, the increased resources of the film still can’t stop the world of 2150 looking remarkably like a bit more bombed-out 1966, but never mind… As with the first film, I’m impressed by the way the action of the serial is condensed into less than half the TV version’s length, indeed there’s so much stuff going on it’s kind of amazing to remember the film’s only 84 minutes long… Good lord, though, that music’s off-putting, isn’t it? At least in the first two-thirds of the film, something about it struck me as, well, incongruously upbeat and jolly given some of the action it’s underlining. And I’m still not sure about the way the film basically does away with Ian and Barbara and replaces them with the new niece (poor Jill Curzon, getting to play almost as thankless a role as Jennie Linden in the first film) and Tom the policeman (glad that Bernard Cribbins had a part in the revived TV series, though). And I’m really perplexed by the trailer and the way it never actually identifies Peter Cushing as the Doctor… curious indeed. I find myself wondering how these films connected with audiences back in the day, especially those who didn’t watch the show; neither film makes much concession to the latter, it seems to me, especially not with the rather quick set-up each film has. Fans of the show generally seem to be sniffy about the films, and I probably have been myself in the past (for what it’s worth, I saw both of them long before I ever saw their TV originals, both of which I first saw in 1989). And yet with hindsight I now reckon both of them actually hold up reasonably well in their own right as examples of the sort of thing they are, I’ve had a lot of fun watching them both again tonight for this blogathon; I’m actually kind of sorry now that the film didn’t do enough box office business to lead Amicus… sorry, “Aaru” to make that third Dalek film from The Chase, if only because I’d love to see Subotsky squash that into 80-odd minutes…

Written for the Peter Cushing centennial blogathon at Frankensteinia

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