This was the second movie derived from Doctor Who, this one derived from the serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" As with the previous movie, the script follows the serial fairly closely, with one of two exceptions which I will note when they come up.
Peter Cushing and Roberta Tovey return as the Doctor and Susan. (As Henry noted in the previous thread, Cushing refused to do the picture unless Tovey was brought back.)
Ian and Barbara are gone without explanation - I'll assume the Doctor and Susan ditched them at the earliest opportunity. Instead our time travelers are joined by the Doctor's niece Louise, played by the lovely Jill Curzon, who apparently did not have a very lengthy career, and policeman Tom Campbell, who is played by the inimitable Bernard Cribbins, who many years later would play Wilfred Mott opposite the Tenth Doctor. Campbell stumbles into the TARDIS whilst trying to foil a jewel robbery. Tom's a bit of a comedy relief, but Cribbins is a much better comic actor than Roy Castle, so it comes across OK.
Does It Got Any Doctor Who Actors In It?
In addition to Cribbins, Roger Avon, who played Wells, had played both Saphadin and Daxtar in "The Crusades".
Geoffrey Cheshire, who played a Roboman, would go on to play Tracy, the Viking Leader and Garge in "The TIme Meddler".
Philip Madoc, who played Brockley here, played a number of parts in the series with both Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker - my favorite being Solon in "The Brain of Morbius".
Steve Peters, who played the Lead Roboman, had parts in "The Romans", "The Seeds of Death", "The Space Pirates" and "The Ambassadors of Death".
This film is very impressive visually - as noted, they had a much larger budget for this. They appear to have made up for some of this budget increase through product placement, which is why you'll see the occasional sign advertising Sugar Puffs. The Robomen are certainly more convincing than they were on TV. According to the liner notes, Cushing was ill during much of this, which is why the Doctor had a somewhat smaller part.
The main changes in the plot come from the somewhat different make-up of the TARDIS crew - Tom takes up the Ian part, and since Susan is so much younger, there's no romantic subplot between her and David. I'd thought they might've shifted David over to Louise, but apparently not.
Overall This was an enjoyable film, although the Daleks do come across as a bit chuckleheaded. their plan doesn't bear close inspection, and they are a bit easily fooled, but as long as you don't think about it too much, it's a fun flick, and at 84 minutes, something I'd most likely to be quicker to re-watch than the TV serial.
The last time I watched the TV version, I made a point of watching it over 6 consecutive days, one episode per. It made the overwhelming devastation and depressing atmosphere linger more. Despite the story being almost the same, somehow, the movie manages to be "exciting" and "thrilling" rather than "depressing".
One of my favorite scenes is almost mirrored many years later in a Tom Baker episode. It's where Tom Camblell asks The Doctor (note they mostly JUST call him "Doctor" in this, not "Doctor Who") how come the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than on the outside. Peter Cushing rambles off an "explanantion", which, you just know, is TOTAL B***S***!!! I feel sure, he's having the guy on, like a private joke. By comparison, when Leela (Louise Jameson) asked The Doctor the same question, his explanation SEEMED "silly" (her word)... but it really made perfect sense. Seems to me Susan gave a similar "explanantion" to Ian in the 1st film, and that one didn't make much sense either.
Isn't that DALEK SPACESHIP just awesome??? I'd swear some of Gerry Anderson's people were moonlighting on this picture. I think Barry Gray also wrote the theme song, too. LOVE that thing, so much better than the almost-dirge of the 1st film.
A stand-out in the film is Andrew Keir, who played Professor Quatermass in the Hammer Film, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (alias "Five Million Years To Earth") in 1967. He also virtually "filled in" for the Van Helsing character in DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS, a very strange fim which somehow managed to act as both a sequel to HORROR OF DRACULA, and in its own way, an "adaptation" of the novel, at the same time.
If you compare the TV and movie versions, it get s BIT confusing, regarding the differences in who travelled together with whom across the country to get to that mine.
Philip Madoc is so wonderfully ROTTEN in this, isn't he? I've seen him turn up on some early episodes of THE AVENGERS, and he's got such a terrific voice, and an almost evil smile. I love how he "apologizes" to The Doctor, who dismisses it, saying, "I expected it." And a minute later, The Daleks OPEN FIRE on him. YIKES!!!
I know they did "gas" because the couldn't figure out how to do what on TV was a cheap video effect with the camera (and neither the show or the movie had the budget, apparently, for a "proper" laser effect back then). But the way that "gas" can make things BLOW UP can be downright frightening in its own way.
I love the way The Doctor says, "Look!" and the Dalek eyestalk LOOKS. It's cool that The Doctor is the one who ordered the Robomen rebellion, rather than Barbara in the tv version. I do think Louise got short-changed. I think she's one of the prettiest girls ever involved with this series, but she only made this ONE appearance, and didn't get to half what Jennie Linden did in the 1st film.
I also love the joke The Doctor makes near the end. "There, you see? There's a solution to every problem-- if you dig deep enough."
I suspect the TV Doctor would be utterly APPALLED at what he did at the very end of the film, though-- deliberately going back in time and allowing Tom to RE-LIVE the moment of the robbery, so he could foil the crooks this time. Obviously, Cushing's Doctor operates in a different universe from the regular one, where the laws of time work a bit different.
He DID say his TARDIS could travel to "any planet, in any time, in any universe". I've long felt this meant he could, in theory, one day meet up with the "real" Doctor. But since Cushing passed away, it seems a missed opportunity. David Tennant's Doctor once found himself in a different "universe", and found it almost impossible to get back. Yet Cushing seems to feel it wouldn't be a problem at all.
I've read very conflicting stories over the years about a possible 3rd film, since Amicus did strike a deal for 3 of these things. The 1st was a big success (but only in England), so they did the 2nd, but the lack of Hartnell & co. apparently doomed the 2nd one, even though it was much better. In recent years, there's been talk about the potential 3rd film being planned as an adaptation of "THE CHASE". But I think this is B***S***. Because, on several occasions, many years before I ever read this, I read that the 3rd film was intended to be "THE KEYS OF MARINUS". From the 1st time I saw that, I was totally blown away by it (except for the ending, where it somewhat falls apart). I mean, it was like "The Key To Time", only in 6 weeks instead of 26. Definitely one of Terry Nation's more inventive scripts. Why would anyone pass over that in favor of a story most fans consider "junk"? I strongly suspect any mention of "The Chase" is RETROACTIVE B.S. based on people not having any imagination and figuring that all 3 films would "have" to feature DALEKS, whereas "Marinus" would lean more toward Terry Nation being the key factor.
It's been suggested that the lighter tone of the Peter Cushing films may have been an inspiration for when Patrick Troughton debuted on the show.
I keep thinking how much fun it might have been if the Peter Cushing film series had contined on its own. Imagine if they'd gotten up to the Jon Pertwee era. They could have had Cushing facing off against Christopher Lee as The Master-- with Nigel Green as The Brigadier, and maybe even Jane Asher as Jo Grant!
Meanwhile, I did a little trbute to Peter Cushing's "Doctor" here...