BlogtorWho was fortunate enough to be present at a special preview of the brand new 4K restorations of the two Dalek movies from the 1960s; DR. WHO & THE DALEKS and DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.
Hosted at BFI Southbank in London, this unique event featured a screening of both classic Dalek movies separated by a Q&A session with members of the cast and crew. The venue has hosted screenings of the Doctor Who television series to tie in with releases of The Collection boxsets. It was an incredible thrill for these two iconic movie versions to be given the prominence they rightly deserve. Plus, it is a genuine thrill to see something intended for the big screen on the big screen. Even more exciting to see a full-size bright red movie Dalek in the foyer!
DR. WHO & THE DALEKS and DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. were initially released in 1965 and 1966, respectively. I am unfortunately too young to have seen those two movies at the cinema., therefore the opportunity to see them on the big screen was not something I could miss. Shot in glorious Technicolour and given an extensive restoration for 4K Ultra High Definition release, these movies have never looked better. If you have already enjoyed these movies as random repeats on television, you will find the experience of these restored films completely different. Ultra high definition surpasses the BluRay version. Particularly the vividly colourful first film!
Dr Who and the Daleks
When released in 1965, the first Dalek movie was promoted as an opportunity to see the Daleks in colour. Up until that point, of course, their television offerings remained in black and white. So I can fully appreciate how the minds of excited children would’ve figuratively exploded at all the colours bombarding their eyes. Thanks to this new restoration, those colours now pop off the screen more brightly than ever. Before the screening, it was revealed by those involved that the original film negatives had been found, repaired and then worked from. That effort was clearly worth it.
It isn’t just the Daleks, but everything from the beautiful sets down to the Thal’s eye makeup. There were moments of breathtaking clarity where you could make out the beads of perspiration on Barbara’s face. Awe-inspiring stuff. A particular joy was found in watching this film as part of an audience. Laughing in the same moments and sharing the same reaction to the lava lamps. It was a wonderful experience.
Joining fans at BFI Southbank to see both films were special guests Roberta Tovey and Jill Curzon, as well as Anthony Waye (the assistant director of both films). After Dr Who and the Daleks had been screened, a Q&A session covered both films. Although the memories had faded slightly, there were plenty of enjoyable anecdotes.
Roberta Tovey had had difficulty completing her study sessions during recording breaks with Roy Castle down the hallway playing his trumpet and tap dancing away! Jill Curzon spoke of the Sherlock Holmes-inspired tweed ensemble with yellow suede boots with two zips on the front. The footwear wasn’t entirely suited for all the running required during the film! Similarly, Anthony Waye spoke of the difficulties of trying to coordinate multiple Daleks! Although it transpired that the panel were unfamiliar with the current incarnation of the television programme, their insight into their original productions was riveting.
Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.
Concluding the double bill was a screening of the second Dalek movie, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. As an added surprise, two sons of Producer and Screenwriter Milton Subotsky, Sergei and Dmitri Subotsky, were in attendance. The Subotsky brothers weren’t born when these two movies weren’t made. But they brought with them some fascinating pieces of paperwork, including the original agreement to make the first and potentially a second movie and design drawings for the Dalek props. Most tantalising information was also a potential THIRD Dr Who script. Titled “Dr Who’s Greatest Adventure”,. Sadly, not based on the televised story ‘The Chase’ but a reworked horror script called “King Crab”! The two joined the audience in watching the second movie of the day.
Less colourful and more gritty than its predecessor, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. doesn’t fail to delight fans, not least the spectacular finale and impressive spaceship model. However, ultra-high-definition can be unforgiving as the wires that carried the model were visible! It’s also a particularly more violent film with the whipping of slave workers and the onscreen stabbing of a Roboman. Noe some that would be permissible on today’s BBC! Once again, watching the film on a big screen as part of an audience and having that shared experience was delightful. Seeing both movies together provided an excellent opportunity to compare them. Both have their merits and surprisingly stand up well after more than 50 years since their production.
Following the double bill of movie screenings, Roberta Tovey and Jill Curzon signed autographs, including advanced copies of the 4K release. Elsewhere at the BFI, the Quiz of Rassilon hosted another series of rounds to test attendees’ knowledge of the movies. Overall, the event was absolutely fantastic and a pleasure to attend. BlogtorWho would like to thank those at StudioCanal and the BFI.