I hadn’t intended to tackle either of the Peter Cushing movies but one, it was suggested to me, and two, since it was the Daleks` fiftieth anniversary as well as the Doctor’s, in the end I thought I should. So I did!
For many years, the Peter Cushing movies were the only Dalek action you could get on TV and if you are a certain age, you can be more familiar with the movie version of either of the first two Dalek TV stories than the originals from which they were adapted for The Big Screen. Given the reception accorded the cinema release of The Day of The Doctor recently, I’d be intrigued to actually see these at “the pictures” instead of just on a big telly. Gawd knows what it must have been like to have this be your first sight of a Dalek that wasn’t in Black and White as a kid!
I really like these Movie Daleks with their bigger dome lights and their big bumpers – instead of the crap we got in Victory of the Daleks they should have faithfully recreated these versions instead. And I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt that a Dalek should be a big bugger in terms of size. Instead of a little fella sat on a seat they should be tall enough for someone to actually walk around inside them. Scale the buggers up and make them bigger and scarier, that’s what I say!
We forget that, as well as fifty years of Doctor Who, we’ve also got fifty years of The Daleks to celebrate too. I recently re-watched that first Dalek story, a week at a time, fifty years to the day that each episode TX`d. I’d recommend to anybody that you go back and rewatch Hartnell’s first year on a weekly basis. The episodes hold up surprisingly well when watched individually, even allowing for the slower pace, and I reckon going back to this way of viewing Classic Who – one at a time and a week apart as they were intended to be seen – is well worth it to give you a real idea of what it must have been like viewing the story as it was meant to be seen. The movie is a decent enough alternate version when taken on its own merits but it would have been so much better if it had more in common with the TV Show on which it was based. The main change in the story with this Fan Edit is to try and rectify that, as well as cutting out as much of the padding, as per usual, and make Roy Castle’s Ian less of a twat.
The title sequence gets completely redone as you can see from the above screengrab, utilising a colourised version of the Hartnell Titles with new versions of the captions, which I’ve tried to recreate as accurately as possible. That was bloody tricky to do, particularly having to try and deform the title caption a letter at a time. Worth it though. The whole thing looks really garish and quite Sixties in its own way and it was nice to finally give my colourised version of the Hartnell titles a run out in public in a Fan Edit. It also helps tie the movie into the Dr Who Universe a bit more and makes it feel a bit more like a bigger budget US TV version than a fairly camp, lightweight kiddie-friendly movie. Just pretend that this is the Second Pilot episode for Terry Nation’s abortive Dalek series that he tried to launch in the USA.
Aside from completely re-doing the opening and closing titles, the other big change is that I’ve used the proper TV Tardis sound effect – I think it’s so cool to finally hear the proper sound as that Cushing Box arrives and departs Skaro. Most of the cuts come to the journey through the swamp, especially since nobody snuffs it jumping the chasm, unlike the TV original. There are also a few additional music cues from the Silva Screen CD, which for some reason are at a slightly different pitch to those in the movie. Weird.
This is the second attempt at Fan Editing the first Dalek Movie as there was a cock-up with the original upload for some reason[thanks to Marcus for pointing it out!]. The problem possible arose when converting from AVI to DivX as I know I checked the AVI original. It looked like the 16:9 had been exported in 4:3 as half the picture was missing. Whatever the reason, apologies to those of you who downloaded it first time round – this one works proper, honest! I know ‘cos I checked!
As for the other changes I made, well the cock-up with the Mk 1 version gave me the chance to redo things a bit better. Sometimes these things can be a blessing in disguise as it allows you the chance to come up with an alternate solution to a particular problem, and often it’s a better one than the one you first thought of. After the titles [which were a complete pain in the arse to do!] we fade up on Skaro from the TVMovie, which is still green but now the sequence runs in reverse. Not only did that tie into the landing shot better, it made it easier to hide the original “Skaro” caption!
After the initial crossfade for the landing I had to create an entirely new shot of the ship, complete with flashing light, with nobody on the planet’s surface. Cutting out Roy Castle’s clowning with the “magnedon” meant re-ordering the material slightly to avoid a continuity issue that I didn’t altogther successfully cover in the first edit. I think I’ve managed to do rather better second time around. And there’s also a slightly re-jigged departure attempt utilising our old friend the Woozy Tardis Landing effect that wasn’t in the mk 1 version.
After that it’s pretty much just a simple cut-down affair with the bulk of the cuts being to the journey through the swamp. This was for two reasons – one, there’s no Daleks in it and two, it’s a bit undramatic given that the Thal bloke doesn’t even snuff it when he falls into the chasm! All of those cuts bring the edit in at about 55m, meaning this is a version of the first Dalek movie that doesn’t drag and doesn’t have a cut-price Norman Wisdom fannying about in it.
And yes, the second film isn’t far away!