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Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus

William Hartnell    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.98 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus + Doctor Who: The Sensorites + Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror
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Product Description


For all the Whos in Whoville (sorry, wrong "Dr."), this vintage Doctor Who adventure from the venerable British series' inaugural season is a must-own collectible. For the uninitiated, Dr. Who is television's longest-running science fiction series and it has gained a cult following that rivals those of Star Trek and Star Wars. Dr. Who, portrayed here in his first incarnation by William Hartnell, is a Time Lord who travels the cosmos in a spacecraft called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), whose exterior looks like a police call box.

Originally broadcast in 1964, The Keys of Marinus is a six-episode arc that features the doctor's original traveling companions, science teacher Ian Chesterton, history teacher Barbara Wright, and the doctor's granddaughter, Susan, who is given to screaming at the first sign of peril. Hartnell's doctor is a sprightly curmudgeon who relishes adventure and mystery, which he finds after the group lands on Marinus, an island of glass surrounded by a sea of acid. Doctor and company are compelled to retrieve four microcircuits that are the keys to the Conscience of Marinus, a computer that has eliminated evil from the minds of men (except apparently the evil Yartek and his web-suited Voords, who want to seize the machine). Their quest takes them most memorably to "a planet of the most contented people" (beware the brainwashing powers of the "mesmerent"), another world overrun by plants, and finally a city where Chesterton, framed for murder, is considered guilty until proven innocent--by the doctor, of course. As is characteristic of this series, the special effects are a hokey hoot and the actors sometimes step on each others' lines. Hartnell vacationed during production and is absent for two episodes. But this is a surprisingly prophetic cautionary tale: it may be good to heed the doctor's prescient observation that "man was not made to be controlled by machines." If you have yet to make an appointment with the doctor, perhaps the episodes featuring Tom Baker--the fourth and most popular of the doctors--are a more accessible introduction. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful precursor to future Who stories Jan. 17 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Landing on the planet Marinus, with acid seas, and a glassy beach, the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan, are forced by Arbitan, the sole inhabitant nearby, to go on a mission to hunt down four keys that will help him redress the power of good on the planet. The Conscience of Marinus was a machine built to "eliminate evil from all men. Robbery, fear, hate, violence was unknown." Then came Yartek and his Voords, who overcame conditioning and are out to take over the Conscience.
Using travel dials, wrist teleporters, they go to where the four microcircuit keys are, first to the luxurious city of Morphoton, "sensuous, decadent, but pleasant" with kind hospitable people. Yet is all this luxury real?
Accompanied by Sabetha, Arbitan's daughter, and Altos, her love interest, the Doctor has the brilliant idea of splitting up. He goes to the civilized city of Millennius, while Ian and Barbara search a place where the vegetation is very dense and "when the whispering stars, it's death." Altos and Sabetha land on an icy area where they encounter a trapper Vasor, who isn't all he seems. On Millennius, Ian is falsely accused of murder and the Doctor becomes Sherlock Holmes in order to save Ian. A city where one is guilty before proven innocent cannot be all that civilized.
Ian shines the best in this story, as he comes out as reliable, trustworthy, and brave. One of his best hours. The interplay between Barbara and Susan remains. Susan trusts Barbara to tell her what she heard in the forest in the same way she tells her of the hand that touched on in the petrified forest in The Daleks. Barbara's her usual reassuring self here.
George Coulouris (Arbitan) is best known as the man who takes Kane from his parents in Citizen Kane and as the doctor in Murder On The Orient Express.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Around The Planet in 6 Episodes Jan. 17 2003
Format:VHS Tape
It is quite difficult to write an adequate review for this particular adventure, considering that it is a wonderful adventure, but the TARDIS crew are constantly moving from one place to another within the confines of these 6 episodes. But it is definitely a very ambitious quest type of adventure, with the Doctor and company being blackmailed into helping Arbitan retrieve the four micro circuit keys that would reactivate the Conscience of Marinus, in order to stop a group of alien terrorists, the Voords, from subjegating the planetary populace with the machine. Their first stop takes them to Morphiton, a place where people seem to be the most friendly and content in the universe. But it is soon revealed to be a charade, as it is clear that strange disembodied brains have subjegated the people into slavery. But soon they are defeated, retrieve the key and are joined up with Altoss and Sabetha, a young couple that were on the same quest, but came under the influence of the powerful brain creatures. Their travels take them to a living jungle, and to an artic landscape, then to the city of Millenius, where their laws are that a person is guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around. And soon Ian is framed for a crime of murder and theft, in which the good Doctor comes to his aid to solve the mystery, in true detective like style. I like this particular portion as it displays a brief courtroom drama type scenario, which is always a good thing. Finally, their adventure brings them back to the island, where they find Arbitan dead, and the Voords in charge. But they soon trick the creatures into destroying the machine that would have allowed them to conquer Marinus, just before the Doctor and company travel on to their next adventure. I definitely recommend this to any and all Dr. Who fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Vintage tv Feb. 17 2012
By WhoFan
The story is built around the quest to reinstate a mind-control machine that makes everyone on the planet live peacefully. We then see our group of travellers go to:
1) a society with misapplied mind-control, then
2) a land where wildness and aggression from nature is ending all civilization, to
3) a lawless frozen wasteland where individual brutes are allowed to run wild,
and finally to
4) an overly regulated society with uniforms reminiscent of Nazi Germany with a very low crime or disturbance rate because of harsh penalties and strict control.

That`s a whole lotta social analysis in five little episodes.
I enjoyed this series and the campy vintage feel.
I think one reviewer said the `character of Susan is either hysterical, or on the verge of hysteria for most of the story`. I disagree. I thought the characters of Barbara and Susan both were stronger than in the few earlier Dr.Who`s.
The extra documentary on the sets (very short in length) was really funny. I loved watching the poor set designer explain the compromises made to stay on budget.
My only criticism is that you only get 5 x 25 minute episodes for the price, which seems expensive. Then again, I`m likely placing an order for more vintage Who so I guess they can find people to pay the amount :)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun Dec 24 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The concept of this story is pretty huge (even for Doctor Who). The quest concept is exciting and fun, but the 5-in-1 storyline suffers from very little development of the 5 in exchange for the overall story of the 1. Still great fun from the innocent family Hartnell era. The Doctor and his companions then were unwilling adventurers and in this particular story, the Doctor himself is absent in two full episodes. I must say I do get frustrated at this early episodes in that I find myself becoming very anbnoyed with the supporting cast... "No you idiot, look out behind you!" or "Now they'll never get back to the TARDIS." WHere in the later episodes, the doctor is a willing adventurer, in these early stories there is always a major plot device keeping them from just packing up and heading back to the TARDIS. And this one keeps your head spinning. I'd recommend the 1970's as the best Doctor Who, but a fan is no fan without the Hartnell era fully represented.
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