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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Dr. Who and the Daleks aka "Doctor Who and the Daleks" [Blu-ray]


(Gordon Flemyng, 1965)






Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: AARU Productions

Video: Studio Canal



Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:22:57.875

Disc Size: 23,498,377,198 bytes

Feature Size: 17,591,267,328 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Thick (UK) Blu-ray case

Release date: May 27th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), none



• Commentary by Jonathan Sothcott (The Cult Films of Christopher Lee), Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey

Dalekmania (Dedicated to the memories of Peter Cushing and Roy Castle) - (57:30)

Restoring Dr Who & The Daleks (8:31)
Interview with author Gareth Owen (7:41)
Stills Gallery
Trailer (3:04)





Description: Directed by Gordon Flemyng and now fully restored, Dr. Who & The Daleks (1965) was the first big screen film adaptation of British TV’s most iconic sci-fi hero, and was the first time Doctor Who was ever seen in colour!

British film legend Peter Cushing plays everyone’s favourite Timelord, and having invented the TARDIS, a strange machine capable of travelling into other dimensions, the Doctor and his three young accomplices set forth on a quest through time and space. Their journey takes them into the dark, undiscovered depths of the universe and to the planet of Skaro. A primitive world devastated by nuclear war and populated by two warring species, a peaceful tribe known as Thals and a life form heavily mutated by radiation, encased in protective machines. A merciless force of destruction known as The Daleks!



The Film:

The first big screen adventure for the good Doctor, this one steps outside series canon but still delivers a satisfying adventure for fans. As its poster makes clear, the daleks are the real attraction, and they're also the most pleasing part of this film. The introductory scenes - a trip to the planet Skaro - are fairly dull. Nobody really cares about the fate of the miserable Thals. But when those metal monsters take to the screen, it's non-stop fun and extermination.

This time, the Doctor is accompanied by his two granddaughters (played with conviction by Roberta Tovey and Jennie Linden), one of whom is inexplicably dating the prim Ian (a young Roy Castle, already possessed of his trademark smarm). A desire to explore gets the party in trouble in the radioactive war zone they encounter, but rather than kill them the daleks seek t use them to lure their enemies into a trap. If this fails, they have a back-up plan - detonate a neutron bomb so radiation levels outside their sheltered city become too high for anyone to survive.

Excerpt from EyeForFilm located HERE

It's certainly rather more light-hearted, and that tone suits the movie, which is colorful and sort of groovy, with its elfin space hippies and splashy opening titles, in a way that the black-and-white series produced by the BBC's children's department wasn't. It's deliberately funny throughout, with Castle especially giving a fine comic performance: He does a nice sort of collapse-a-bit-but-get-right-back-up every time Ian falls short in his attempts to impress Dr. Who or Barbara. Still, while it's a kind of a light adventure for the whole family, it also doesn't hold back in terms of cliffhanging adventure or keeping the dangers of nuclear war - which left this planet a radioactive wasteland and seemed quite likely when this film was released in the 1960s - right at the forefront of the audience's mind.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic  located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Dr. Who and the Daleks is restored on Blu-ray from Studio Canal in the UK.  The image quality shows a fine layer of grain but colors are more passive than vibrant. It can look frail with mediocre contrast but I suspect that this may have been a concession to the restoration as it has some instability that required addressing. It is 1080P and is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows some texture in the, pleasing, 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance. Visually this isn't dynamic but has no marks or flaws - it's just a little lifeless - which is probably the best the film will get.






















Audio :

Studio Canal offer an uncompressed Linear PCM 2.0 channel track (16-bit) with minimal depth but the film doesn't have an abundance of floor rattling. It's fairly passive. The score is by Malcolm Lockyer (Deadlier Than the Male, Island of Terror, Night of the Big Heat, Bang Bang, You're Dead, Ten Little Indians) and adds to the film's genre charisma sounding pleasing and often light for the humor, if lacking intensity, in the uncompressed.  There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.



Extras :

Studio Canal add many extras including a commentary by Jonathan Sothcott (author of The Cult Films of Peter Cushing), and the gals from the film; Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey. It has reminiscing about Cushing, how they got involved in the project etc. Not deeply probing but an okay surface recollection. There is also Kevin Davies' 1995 Dalekmania (dedicated to the memories of Peter Cushing and Roy Castle) that runs shy of an hour. It's a behind-the-scenes documentary about the two 1960s "Dr. Who" movies starring Peter Cushing, and spin-offs from the BBC TV series Doctor Who (1963), that starts with a trip to the cinema for two kids lands them in the world of Dr. Who and the Daleks. It has clips from the movies, various trailers, and interviews with the original cast and crew. Fans should enjoy. Restoring Dr Who & The Daleks goes through some of the stages of how the film was restored - both video and audio (drop-outs smoothed-over etc.) It runs 8.5 minute. There is an 8-minute interview with author Gareth Owen (A Life Through the Lens: Memoirs of a Film Cameraman), a stills gallery and a trailer.



Dr. Who and the Daleks has the character's wonderful cache appeal, although it doesn't adhere to the initiated story arcs. It has some family-esque humor but it is lacking somewhere. Not the fault of Cushing but perhaps the infusion of the Roy Castle boyfriend character as am awkward comic foil and the little girl, who keeps it too wholesome. I enjoyed seeing it as a, quasi-pre-cursor, comparison to the iconic series, at least. The Blu-ray has value for 'Dr. Who' milieu, and the excellent supplements, a restored image and it's on our 50's-50's sci-fi listing. Pricey at present - for 'Dr. Who' or Cushing completists. 

Gary Tooze

November 8th, 2017





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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