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For all intents and purposes, "The Doctor and the Devils" is a Hammer horror film. It might be produced by comedian Mel Brooks and his Brooksfilms imprint, but all signs point to this being made by the British house of terror had it been conceived during the 1960s or 1970s. A strong English cast directed by Freddie Francis while surrounded by a period piece atmosphere completes the successful formula for such a film.
Thomas Rock (Timothy Dalton) is a young anatomy professor who feels his hands are tied to make new discoveries for the advancement of science. Rigid moral laws of the day limit him to the amount of cadavers he can research on. He receives the rotting bodies of a few hanged criminals every year to work with. Rock needs fresher specimens to work with, and two grave robbers (Jonathan Pryce and Stephen Rea) will do what it takes to provide fresher corpses for the professor - at a hefty cost.
"The Doctor and the Devils" is rated R for sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol and smoking, and frightening and intense scenes. The sex scenes take place in a brothel where the prostitutes work. There's brief upper nudity in one part that takes place in the house of ill repute. The blood and guts are about the same amount you would expect from a Hammer horror film of the 1970s.
Director Freddie Francis is no stranger to English horror films set in 1800's England. He helmed many a Hammer movie and uses the same ingredients to put together "The Doctor and the Devils." Screenwriters Dylan Thomas and Ronald Harwood takes the Burke and Hare tale and puts his own spin on it.
The Doctor and the Devils was a film that I just recently became aware of. It's hard to believe that with the cast and the director that it has that I hadn't heard of it before now. Freddie Francis, who also directed films for Amicus Productions, helmed this one, but it's the cast that really shines: Timothy Dalton, Stephen Rea, Julian Sands, Jonathan Pryce, Twiggy, and Patrick Stewart. The film is based around the true life events of notorious grave robbers Burke and Hare, although the filmmakers have taken some liberties with the events. The film is strange all around because it's not really about anything and doesn't have an overall driving force behind it, although it tricks you into thinking that it has. Timothy Dalton's character is conflicted morally and Burke and Hare spend the film murdering people, but there's not much of a conclusion to it all. Still, there are some fantastic performances and some wonderful set design to soak in with. It's definitely a movie that's worth checking out, but horror fans might be slightly disappointed with it.
a little slow and d/k where the 'horror' is either
Okay, yeah, there's a good cast, and moments of entertainment here... but this is an old story that has been told in too many films already. I was just bored, it brought nothing new to the old tale.
Nice retelling of the Burke and Hare murder case, which was about 2 low-life lads in the early part of the 19th century selling off bodies to an all too eager Doctor Of Anatomy. They started off grave robbing, but realized they could get more money if they had fresher bodies.... Actually, this seems more of a remake of the excellent "The Flesh And The Fiends " movie from 1960.., Theyve made the right move by trimming the plot and getting rid of some characters, perhaps they put more of a cliff hanger ending in there, but that's ok. Of course, Timothy Dalton is no Peter Cushing, but we'll let that slidw. Actually contains a great cast for it's time.
An Intriguing Fictionalization Of Burke & Hare--Well done Gothic horror!!
A true story but sadly a one time watch for me
Despite a wonderful cast this movie is dull, dull, dull!
Nicely done Freddie Francis film with a wonderful cast. Timothy Dalton, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Rea, Patrick Stewart, Julian Sands and Sian Phillips.
A little known gothic tale that borrows aspects of noir and musical cinema and 80fies it into a morality tale. Great performances in paticular by Dalton, and Pryce. Twiggys little musical number is out of place but light hearted enough to intensify her danger later. Some genuinely creepy and disturbing scenes...but nothing to turn the lights on for.