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The Body Snatcher

The Body Snatcher (1945)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,639

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Movie Info

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were given top billing in the Val Lewton-produced The Body Snatcher, but the film's protagonist is played by Henry Daniell. A brilliant 18th century London surgeon, Daniell can only make his humanitarian medical advances by experimenting on cadavers, which is strictly illegal. Karloff plays a Uriah Heep-type cabman who is secretly a grave robber, providing corpses for Daniell's research. The low-born Karloff enjoys blackmailing the aristocratic Daniell into silence;



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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (3) | DVD (5)

Settings are inexpensive but sufficient for the needs. Production values, in general, however, aid materially in making this picture a winner.

November 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film accelerates to great effect towards the end.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even though this film is taken from a modest stage play of a few seasons back, its humors are as stale and mechanical as those of the oldest such farce.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (2)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the lesser products of Val Lewton's years as the head of RKO's horror-film unit.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A strong, well above-average effort in almost every way, there's no evidence at all that Lewton's first brush with money and success dulled his instincts.

October 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Researchers and healers are closer to the subjects on the autopsy slab than to their living patients in this acerbic chimera of shadow and sacrifice

May 19, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

there's a fascination with the ultimate futility of ever being something beyond opportunistic and solipsistic.

October 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Too stuck on being literate to be a great movie ... .

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The first and best of the three Val Lewton-Boris Karloff collaborations for RKO.

November 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This is the most elegant and leisurely of the Val Lewton horror films, up until the whopper of an ending.

September 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It is certainly far more accomplished and evocative than some critics have suggested.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Wildly overrated, but elegantly produced horror film

August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Body Snatcher

My favourite corpse snatching movie, it stars both Karloff and Lugosi, how could you not like it? It's exciting and creepy.
October 18, 2010

Super Reviewer

One of many from Val Lewton's stable of low budget horror masterpieces, a young Robert Wise masterfully directs Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of a doctor willing to cross the line in search of knowledge and the man who torments him. The Body Snatcher is proof positive that Boris Karloff was a great actor as any scene he's in legitimately has the ability to make your skin crawl. Don't get too excited about Bela Lugosi's (I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be a retarded Spaniard) role as he's got very little screen time but his final scene with Karloff is superb. Wise does so much with so little and that final carriage scene came close to freaking me out.
May 5, 2010

Super Reviewer

Sinister goings on in 19th century Edinburrow as a young medical student, presumably on exchange from America, is initiated into the art of grave robbing. Based on a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson and directed by Robert Wise, The Body Snatcher is not actually one of the better Val Lewton horror movies. The atmosphere is potent enough but the story doesn't really catch fire until the very end and, for such a short film, it tends to drag. Henry Daniell and Boris Karloff, as an anatomist and his resurrectionist respectively, are terrific; Bela Lugosi, on the other hand, is such a waste of space I'd forgotten he was even in the picture.
November 1, 2009

Super Reviewer

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  • The Body Snatcher (1945) (UK)
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