Dr. Strange (1978)

TV Movie   |  TV-PG   |    |  Action, Fantasy


Dr. Strange (1978) Poster

A psychiatrist becomes the new Sorcerer Supreme of the Earth in order to battle an evil Sorceress from the past.

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5.4/10
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  • Peter Hooten in Dr. Strange (1978)
  • Peter Hooten in Dr. Strange (1978)
  • Jessica Walter in Dr. Strange (1978)
  • Peter Hooten in Dr. Strange (1978)
  • Anne-Marie Martin in Dr. Strange (1978)
  • Peter Hooten in Dr. Strange (1978)

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10 July 2003 | Dock-Ock
7
| The Geatest Superhero TV Series never made?
Dr.Strange carries forward the legacy initiated by Kenneth Johnson on The Incredible Hulk Television Series and Pilot Movies. It takes a serious approach to the superhero genre, and reconstructs it for television. So with Dr.Strange, Writer/Director Philip De Guerre dispenses with alot of the important elements that made Stan Lee's/Steve Ditko's original Strange Tales Dr.Strange comic book stories so unique and exciting for a whole generation of readers, and comes up with a fresh approach for the times {1970's} and the climate {Network Television}. What is so amazing is that it works on almost every level.

Gone from the TV version of Dr Stephen Strange, is the arrogant, haunted persona so familiar with readers of Marvel comics. In its place is a man with a destiny to encompass the mystic arts. Perhaps a forerunner to the Highlander Movies, TV series and cartoons? What we have is a sincere, likeable sweet lead character akin more to Bill Bixby's performance of Dr David Banner. Strange is superbly played and realised by Peter Hooten. Hootens performance is refreshing with what was the norm on TV at the time. Hooten is ably backed up by the sinister Jessica Walter as Morgan Le Fay, and the evergreen John Mills as Thomas Lindmer {replacing the character of the Great One from the Marvel series}. Lindmer is a character reminiscent to Sean Connery's Ramirez in the aforementioned Highlander movies. Hooten and Mills share some genuine screen chemistry together and this movie serves as a fascinating glimpse as to what could have been had a series been commisioned.

The transfer from comics to TV is quite well realised despite the obvious limits of a TV budget. The production design, especially of those of the nightmare realms and Lindmers Castle are very efficient as is the near perfect realisation of Dr. Stranges costume from the comics pages {i actually prefer the TV Movie version}. On the down side the plot is a little cumbersome and slow burning. There doesn't seem to be too much movement, and the plot isn't too involving. It would perhaps have been a better idea to have incorporated more elements from the comics into a pliot movie of Strange's exploits.I think a good example of how fantasy can work on TV is Bill Bixby's The Magician TV series and pilot movie. Also, the special effects at times do look cheesy.Despite this, Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street seems to have incorporated alot of this movies elements into its screenplay, IE, people being haunted, killed or possesed from within a dream state, and a saviour entering that realm.

Having watched the movie again recently, it was nice to see the innocence in the movie. I can see how the occult theme may have been offensive at the time. But with the spot on performances, tight direction and nicely toned humour,{watch out for a neat cameo by Magician Larry Anderson at the end of the film} watching the film again only serves to re-emphersise my opinion that Dr.Strange was the greatest superhero TV Series NEVER made.

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