24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Quality Pertwee era Dr Who,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mind of Evil [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I came to Doctor Who through a series of novelisations published by Target in the 1970s and 1980s. These novelisations were fast moving, and exciting. When I finally saw the television programme I was distraught. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee had long since disappeared. The release of a number of these early stories on video has eased some of that childhood trauma.
Mind of Evil is compelling second season Pertwee. To Who afficionados, the second season means three things: The Doctor is earth-bound (which means the Brigadier and UNIT are involved); Jo Grant has joined the Doctor; and every story features a common villain, Roger Delgado's portrayal of the Master.
While all Pertwee stories were recorded in colour, this story is available only in black and white. Do not be put off by this. This actually heightens the atmosphere, and means that many of the worst excesses of CSO (or chromakey) are avoided. With no irritating visual distractions (aside from the operation of the mind and its impact on various cast members) the viewer is left to concentrate on the story - and while perhaps one or two episodes too long, this is superior Who.
The script is by Don Houghton, responsible for the classic Inferno (the first Pertwee season close), and there are a number of links between the two stories. Houghton's scripts tended towards social commentary more than his fellow scriptwriters, and here the effective storyline revolves around a prison, where prisoners are having their negative emotions drained from them (effectively lobotomising them). Houghton's observations on prisons, and recidivism are not the stuff of high criminology, but they are an effective attempt through what was thought of at the time as children's television to address larger issues. The lumbering state of those that have gone through the process offers its own comment on the need for balance in the mind.
On the sci-fi elements it hardly needs to be said that the Keller machine that operates this system is not all that it seems, and Professor Keller is a bearded gentleman familiar to most viewers.
This is a good introduction to Pertwee era Doctor Who. Pertwee is more restrained than some of his eye popping hysterics of his first season, and the UNIT members are an effective team - and in later episodes given a chance to act militarily. Katy Manning is still finding her feet as Jo Grant, but has started to work on the curious mix of vulnerability and resourcefulness that some found appealing. Best of all, though, is Delgado. He is a convincing villain - made to appear all the more malevolent in black and white. He oozes menace.
You may not hide behind the couch, but you will enjoy this story if you accept it for what it is - well written, but cheaply made sci-fi.
Admirers of this will enjoy Inferno, and The Daemons, two other Pertwee era stories.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 25, 2013 8:10:35 AM PDT
E. Dolce says:
Please note that this story has been completely colorized for this release.
In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2013 4:23:13 AM PDT
Check the date and specific title this review is for. You're responding to a review from 13 years ago that was written for the 2000 VHS release. Amazon consolidates all the reviews for a titles across all the formats it's ever been available on, past and present.
Posted on Jul 23, 2013 9:58:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 23, 2013 9:59:38 AM PDT
This review is of the story, not the DVD itself. I'm guessing that most people who buy this have already seen it and are buying it because it has been colorized, restored and has extras.
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