Cast & Crew
Tom Campbell, a London constable, mistakes Dr. Who's time machine for an alarm box in his haste to report a robbery in progress and inadvertently joins Dr. Who, his niece Louise, and his granddaughter Susan on a journey to the year 2150 A. D. They discover that London has been desolated by meteorites and cosmic rays and its inhabitants converted into robots by Daleks, mechanical invaders from another planet. While exploring the ruins, Tom and Dr. Who are captured by Daleks, but Louise and Susan are rescued by underground resistance fighters David, Wyler, and Dortmun. Gallantly attacking the aliens with makeshift bombs, David helps Dr. Who escape, but Louise and Tom are left behind inside the Dalek spacecraft. [According to one source, Dortmun initiates the bomb attack.] Wyler and Susan flee to the outskirts of London, narrowly escaping an attack by Daleks, but Dortmun loses his life. Betrayed by a family desperate for food, Wyler and Susan are taken as prisoners to a huge mine worked by slaves under orders from the Daleks. Here they meet Tom and Louise, who have escaped from the spaceship, as well as David and Dr. Who, who have learned that the Daleks are planning to blast out the earth's metallic core with a bomb and use the planet as a giant spaceship. At the last moment, however, Dr. Who successfully deflects the bomb and releases a powerful magnetic force which sucks the invaders into the core of the earth, thus restoring the planet to its human inhabitants. The four Britons return to their own time, and Tom single-handedly catches the robbers.
Max J. Rosenberg
Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
The two Dr. Who films (note the abbreviation, which was not in the title of the TV series) featured simplifications of the already-established Doctor Who mythos; the target audience was clearly school-age kids on summer holiday so the films are pure afternoon matinee material. Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. starts off in modern London, where police constable Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbins) runs to a police call box during a disturbance. He doesn't realize that it is actually the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) ship of Dr. Who (Peter Cushing, in what was reportedly one of the actor's favorite roles). Dr. Who is time-traveling with his niece Louise (Jill Curzon) and his granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey) and soon the group find themselves in London in the year 2150. The city is in virtual ruins, having been conquered by the Daleks. Most living humans have been turned into slave Robomen with no will of their own, existing only to do the bidding of the Daleks. Pockets of resistance fighters exist and are based in the ruins of London's Undergound. Our heroes are separated when Dr. Who and Tom are captured by Robomen and held by the Daleks, as Susan and Louise are rescued by resistance fighters and brought to leaders Wyler (Andrew Keir, best known to fans of British sci-fi as Dr. Quatermass in Quatermass and the Pit, 1967), Dortman (Godfrey Quigley), and David (Ray Brooks). While assaults on the Daleks have negligible results, Dr. Who discovers the ultimate plan of the evil menace: they plan to explode a massive bomb in the Earth's core and take control of the entire planet following "magnetic imbalance" to navigate it as a spacecraft.
The idea for the Dr. Who films was sparked when Dalekmania was first noticed by American film producer Milton Subotsky, who was based in England. Subotsky and his partner Max J. Rosenberg owned Amicus, the studio that would become the primary rival to Hammer Films in the horror genre. Joe Vegoda of Regal International had negotiated with the BBC for Doctor Who film rights as well, so the ultimate deal involved all parties, although the primary financing came from Vegoda (which is why the films bear the credit of Vegoda's Aaru Productions although they were actually produced by Amicus). Subotsky himself took on the task of writing the screenplays for the features, which meant adapting Doctor Who creator Terry Nation's original multi-episode stories, which ran to seven parts, into a pair of eighty-minute films. Naturally, there was a considerable amount of story detail and characterization that had to be simplified or left out. In his article "The Doctor Who and the Daleks films" (in British Science Fiction Cinema, edited by I. Q. Hunter), John R. Cook notes that "If the BBC and (head of BBC Drama) Sydney Newman saw the Doctor Who concept as a means of fulfilling a public service remit by 'reaching across' to as wide a cross-section of the audience as possible, Subotsky perceived his best hopes lay in refashioning it into a vehicle specially 'niche-marketed' for children." The most obvious change that the filmmakers made was the simplification of the Doctor himself. In the series Doctor Who (played by William Hartnell in the earliest years) was a mysterious 900-year old rejuvenating alien who takes the form of a human and travels through the 4th dimension, while in the films he is simply an elderly human who has invented a method of time travel.
James Chapman, in his book Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who, similarly observed, "That the films were intended for children, rather than for the wider audience of the BBC series, is evident in the changes to content and characterization made by Subotsky in adapting Nation's television scripts. Thus the moral debates are largely absent, a new element of slapstick comedy is introduced and the Daleks themselves seem rather less frightening than they had on the small screen. Their weapons, for example, shoot compressed gas that looks more like fire extinguisher foam than the 'fire' described in the trailer." The Daleks in Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. are uncompromising villains nevertheless, with strength in numbers and constant, shrill demands to "Exterminate!" As Cook noted, "Their ruthless menace has to remain intact as, after all, they were the principal motivation for producing the two Doctor Who movies in the first place."
Subotsky and Rosenberg spent a substantial amount of money--4,500 British pounds--to construct Daleks that were larger and more colorful than those from the TV series, although the basic design did not change. As Chapman noted, the Daleks were also color-coded according to their function. He also noted the more elaborate production values of the sequel, writing, "Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. makes extensive use of locations (the Dalek rising from the Thames, for example, is impressively staged) and has a more realistic visual style appropriate to its Earthbound location." The extra expense, however, did not impress the critic for Films and Filming, who wrote in 1966 that "[If] this is what London will look like in 2150 A.D., I can only say it looks very old-fashioned: positively 1966..."
According to Phillip Nutman's very thorough history of Amicus appearing in Little Shoppe of Horrors (Issue number 20), the filming of Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. hit a snag when star Peter Cushing fell ill with a flu virus. While Cushing was on orders not to work, the producers scurried to shoot around him, "but it reached the point where the film was finished apart from Cushing's contribution and the crews had to be suspended on full pay for two days until he returned. Ultimately, Amicus had to [make a] claim from the insurance firm, so the film came in on budget, but slightly over-schedule when it wrapped on March 22 ."
Nutman also reported that Subotsky was not very keen to embark on a sequel in the first place, and "dragged his heels" in writing the screenplay for Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.. Vegoda brought in David Whitaker, the story editor of the TV series, to contribute additional scenes. Subotsky's instincts may have been correct, however. Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. premiered in London on July 22, 1966 (as with the previous film, the release date was designed specifically to fall during school holidays), and while it was deemed a success, the box-office results were not as dramatic as those for the first film. The producers held an option for a third film based on another Dalek story from the TV series, but--feeling that "Dalekmania" was waning--they did not act on the option and a third film was not produced.
Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Screenplay: Milton Subotsky (screenplay); Sydney Newman (characters, uncredited); David Whitaker (additional material); Terry Nation (BBC television series)
Cinematography: John Wilcox
Art Direction: George Provis
Music: Bill McGuffie
Film Editing: Ann Chegwidden
Cast: Peter Cushing (Dr. Who), Bernard Cribbins (Tom Campbell), Ray Brooks (David), Andrew Keir (Wyler), Roberta Tovey (Susan), Jill Curzon (Louise), Roger Avon (Wells), Geoffrey Cheshire (Roboman), Keith Marsh (Conway), Philip Madoc (Brockley)
By John M. Miller
"The Doctor Who and the Daleks films" by John R. Cook, in British Science Fiction Cinema, edited by I. Q. Hunter, Routledge, 1999.
"Scream and Scream Again: The Uncensored History of Amicus Productions" by Phillip Nutman, Little Shoppe of Horrors issue number 20, 2008.
Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who by James Chapman, I. B. Tauris, 2006.
Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
A remake of the 1964 "Doctor Who" serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".
This sequel to Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) was to have been followed by a third film, to be based on the 1965 TV episode "The Chase." This was never made.
The rebel hideout in 2150 is prominently identified as Embankment station on the London Underground's Bakerloo and Northern Lines. There had actually been a station called Embankment once, but it was renamed in 1914; thus this was a suitable name for a fictional station. However, in 1976, 10 years after the movie was released, reality conformed to fiction when the station, now served by the Bakerloo and Northern Lines among others, was given back its original name of Embankment.
The original trailer for this film describes Ray Brooks as "The boy with the knack". Ray Brookes starred in Knack, The (1965).
Despite bearing the credit "An AARU Production", this film (and its sequel) was made entirely by Amicus. Aaru received the sole production credit as part of a co-finance deal with Amicus, who felt they couldn't afford to make a movie of this scale alone.
Opened in London in July 1966. This is the second film based on the Dr. Who television series, following Dr. Who and the Daleks, q. v. Also known as Invasion Earth 2150 A. D.