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The Italian job

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  • Publication: SFX
  • Date: Apr 2010
  • Author: Ian Berriman
  • Page: 115
  • Language: English

DOCTOR WHO: THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA

The Italian job

1976 U 99 mins £19.99 OUT NOW! Director: Rodney Bennett

Cast: Tom Baker, Lis Sladen, Gareth Armstrong ★★★1/2 Extras: ★★★1/2

The Doctor may yearn to regenerate into a carrot top, but we miss the days when he had an unruly mop of curly hair. Why? Because it allowed you to play "spot the stuntman in the terrible wig".

This handsomely mounted historical adventure provides numerous opportunities, as the Doctor's quite the action hero here, galloping about on horses and hurling himself into swordfights. The setting is 15th century Italy, to which the Doctor unwittingly transports part of the Mandragora Helix (a big cloud of space energy stuff). There, it plots to use a bunch of cultists to stall the Renaissance, and prevent humanity developing into a "rival Power" - though why a big cloud of space energy stuff needs to worry about rivals, who knows. Overlaid on this are courtly intrigues, as a boo-hiss evil Count plots to usurp his hesitant nephew. Prince Giuliano.

It's an entertaining mish-mash of sci-fi, Hamlet and The Masque Of The Red Death. Strong performances and ripe dialogue abound, and there are some notable "firsts" - Sarah asks why everyone seems to speak English, and the Doctor explains it as a "Time Lord gift". Still, there are reasons this story's overshadowed by others of the period. All the elements are familiar, there are too many rounds of capture and escape, and it fizzles out at the climax, as the Doctor does an unspecified Clever Thing. Confident and accomplished, then, but somewhat routinely so.

Extras: Commentary by Tom Baker and three cast and crew; a Making Of shot at Portmeirion; featurettes on the TARDIS's interior and this story's locations; a surprisingly amusing spoof documentary; text commentary; trails and continuity announcements; photo gallery.

Many of the costumes were previously used in a 1954 feature film adaptation of Romeo And Juliet, starring Laurence Harvey as Romeo.


Caption: Tom man, get your scarf off, it's 90 degrees!

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  • APA 6th ed.: Berriman, Ian (Apr 2010). The Italian job. SFX p. 115.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Berriman, Ian. "The Italian job." SFX [add city] Apr 2010, 115. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Berriman, Ian. "The Italian job." SFX, edition, sec., Apr 2010
  • Turabian: Berriman, Ian. "The Italian job." SFX, Apr 2010, section, 115 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Italian job | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Italian_job | work=SFX | pages=115 | date=Apr 2010 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Italian job | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Italian_job | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 March 2024}}</ref>