Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dalek Films on Blu Ray

I am a massive fan of the Dalek films. Always have been. I know they're a sort of 'side canon' if you like, but they are a great and entertaining pair of features, with some brilliant performances, and the best sixties Daleks this side of 'Evil of the Daleks'!

I had them on VHS, I had them on DVD ... and now I have them on Blu-Ray ... but to be honest, they are something of a disappointment.

First off, the picture quality just isn't up to what I would expect from Blu Ray. The pictures seem washed out somewhat, and the quality of the second film, Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD in particular seems very poor. The opening scene of the robber in the car is all grey and washy ... not crisp black and colours. It's almost like it's a DVD copy and not a Blu Ray copy - I hope they haven't cocked up the initial release!

There are extras on the reconstruction work that was done, and they talk a lot about problems with the Technicscope format, and light bleeding from the top of one frame to the bottom of the next - well I see this in the second film - especially scenes on the Dalek spaceship where there are strip lights which then wash out the bottom of the frame as well.  But I thought they were fixing this?

Other extras include an interview with someone called Gareth Owen, who doesn't have a clue what he's on about!  All the Daleks for the films were built by Shawcraft and later used on the TV series too ... it's a shame that this interview is there as it's so incorrect and just serves to muddy the waters of proper research into the films.

Good to see the Dalekmania documentary on there, but why wasn't the black and white clip that was recently recovered included? Why no proper behind the scenes documentary about the films? Maybe we're so spoiled with the 2Entertain releases of the Classic Series, but it seems such a wasted opportunity that something could have been done and wasn't. There's so much that could have been included - archival footage of the Daleks at Cannes perhaps (assuming anything exists), interview snippets with Cushing ... it could have been narrated by Bernard Cribbins ... could have ... could have ...

So my initial reactions are muted. A great idea to clean up the films and give them a pristine release ... but it seems to not be quite so pristine ... and with no effort made on the extras, something of a damp squib. Such a shame :(

1 comment:

docwhom said...

When I were nought but a nipper, my local cinema used to provide a respite for parents during the summer school holidays by putting on stuff which lasted for hours so that parents could drop us off and have the day to themselves.

For several years, they used to screen entire B&W series of Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon back to back and then, after an interval, they'd screen BOTH Dalekmania movies back to back. And this was on an old fashioned enormous screen in the days before they carved the giant cinemas up into 4 or 5 smaller screens.

I must have seen both Peter Cushing movies on the giant screen at least a dozen times. Pity the poor fans who've only seen it on the TV.

There are only 2 downsides. Firstly, that I keep confusing the plots between the movie version of the 2 stories and the TV version. Secondly, that every now and then the Robomen music (tum tum te tum tum tum) gets into my head and I can't get rid of it for days. Many's the time colleagues at work have yelled at me to "stop that bloody humming" when I don't even realise that I'm doing it.

On a final point, I've never understood those people who claimed that the Tellytubby or Paradigm Dalek designs were reminiscent of the movie Dalek designs. The latter were the best designs ever (perhaps until the 2005 bronze version) and looked nothing like the inflatables from Victory of the Daleks.