The Info List - The Doctor And The Devils

The Doctor and The Devils is a gothic thriller produced by Mel Brooks' production company Brooksfilms and released in 1985. It is based upon the true story of Burke and Hare, who in 1828 Edinburgh, Scotland, murdered at least 16 people and sold their bodies for anatomical dissection. The film stars Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton
as Dr. Thomas Rock (a character based on the real-life Dr. Knox, to whom Burke and Hare supplied bodies) and features Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
and Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
as Fallon and Broom, characters based upon Burke and Hare. The film was directed by Freddie Francis, and features a script adapted by Sir Ronald Harwood from an unproduced screenplay by Dylan Thomas.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production

3.1 Development 3.2 Casting 3.3 Location

4 Reception 5 Home media 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Plot[edit] Dr. Thomas Rock (Timothy Dalton) is a respected 19th-century anatomist lecturing at a prominent medical school. He is deeply passionate about improving medical knowledge, a pursuit for which he believes "the ends justify the means." Unfortunately, due to the laws of the time very few cadavers are legally available to the medical profession, necessitating the use of graverobbers or "Resurrection men" by the medical establishment to procure additional specimens. Dr. Rock's young assistant Dr. Murray (Julian Sands) is given the task of buying the bodies, for which he is authorized to pay a small fortune, particularly for fresher corpses. When alcoholic miscreants Fallon (Jonathan Pryce) and Broom (Stephen Rea) overhear details of the arrangement, they begin to murder the locals and sell their bodies. Gradually, Dr. Murray becomes more suspicious of the string of fresh bodies turning up at the medical school, but Dr. Rock dismisses his concerns. Meanwhile, Murray has begun to fall for beautiful local prostitute Jennie Bailey (Twiggy), who soon becomes the target of Fallon and Broom's murderous enterprise. When Jennie's friend Alice (Nichola McAuliffe) turns up dead in Dr. Rock's dissection room, Murray realizes what is happening and heroically rescues Jennie from a murderous Fallon. Both killers are soon arrested, but Broom agrees to turn state's evidence against his former partner, and is set free, unrepentant. Fallon is executed by hanging. Dr. Rock, for his part in the killings, is the subject of widespread public outrage, but ultimately not punished or censured by his colleagues. The film ends with Rock pondering his responsibility for the horrors and concluding, "oh my God -- I knew what I was doing." Cast[edit]

Timothy Dalton
Timothy Dalton
as Dr. Thomas Rock Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
as Robert Fallon Twiggy
as Jennie Bailey Julian Sands
Julian Sands
as Dr. Murray Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
as Timothy Broom Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
as Professor Macklin Lewis Fiander as Dr. Thornton Phyllis Logan
Phyllis Logan
as Elizabeth Rock Beryl Reid
Beryl Reid
as Mrs. Flynn T. P. McKenna
T. P. McKenna
as O'Connor Siân Phillips
Siân Phillips
as Annabella Rock Philip Davis as Billy Bedlam Philip Jackson as Andrew Merry-Lees David Bamber as Cronin Nichola McAuliffe as Alice Dermot Crowley
Dermot Crowley
as Mr. Webb Stephen Yardley as Joseph John Horsley as Dr. Mackendrick Jack May as Dr. Stevens Rachel Herbert as Mrs. Stevens Simon Shepherd as Harding David Parfitt as Billings Jeff Rawle
Jeff Rawle
as Lambert W. Morgan Sheppard
W. Morgan Sheppard
as Landlord Jennifer Jayne as Barmaid Moira Brooker as Molly the Maid Roy Evans as Sewerman Peter Burton as Customer Leonard Maguire
Leonard Maguire
as Nightwatchman Ray Dunbobbin as Tinker Shaun Curry as Policeman


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Development[edit] Brooksfilms founder and executive producer Mel Brooks, a lifelong horror fan, acquired the rights to Dylan Thomas's unproduced screenplay The Doctor and the Devils
The Doctor and the Devils
(first published in 1953) in the hopes of adapting it into a horror film. He hired director and former cinematographer Freddie Francis, who during the 1960s and 70s had directed a series of horror films for famed British horror productions companies Hammer and Amicus. Brooks' original intention was to simply use the title of the Thomas screenplay, but Francis pushed for a closer adherence to the original script. A compromise was arranged with playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood adapting Thomas's more cerebral work into something more genre-friendly.[2] Despite the adaptation, much of Thomas's original dialogue remains.[3] The film was produced by Jonathan Sanger, who worked on a number of Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
films. Brooks himself is credited as Executive Producer. The soundtrack was composed by John Morris with vocals from In Tua Nua, and includes the song Whisper and I Shall Hear, featuring vocals by actress Twiggy. Many involved in the production (including Brooks, Sanger, Morris, casting director Maggie Cartier, and director Francis [then working as a cinematographer]) had previously worked on Brooksfilm's highly successful The Elephant Man in 1980. Casting[edit] The film would be star Timothy Dalton's last film before being cast in the iconic role of James Bond. It would also be the final theatrically released film directed by Francis, who subsequently returned to his career as a cinematographer. Location[edit] The original 1828 murders occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, but apart from Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
exuding a mild Scottish accent, nobody else in the film has any Scottish connections. Indeed, the vast majority of actors play their parts using Cockney accents, giving the impression that the location was London. It was filmed at Lee International Studios, in Shepperton, Surrey, England. Reception[edit]

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The film struggled to find an audience, and was not well received by critics.[2] Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, writing, "It is impossible to discover, on the evidence of "The Doctor and the Devils," why anybody connected with this movie thought it should be made. It is unredeemed, dreary, boring, gloomy dreck unilluminated by even the slightest fugitive moment of inspiration or ambition," though he praised star Twiggy
as the film's "only ray of sunshine."[4] Vincent Canby
Vincent Canby
of the New York Times
New York Times
was more positive, writing the film boats a "first-rate English cast," and adding that "Mr. Harwood's screenplay, which retains a lot of the original Thomas dialogue, is much more fun to see than the Thomas screenplay is to read."[3] Home media[edit] The film was originally released on PAL video but only appeared on DVD in 2005, in NTSC format (Region 1) Shout! Factory released the film as a Region A Blu-ray in October 2014.[5] See also[edit]

The Greed of William Hart
The Greed of William Hart
(1948) The Flesh and the Fiends
The Flesh and the Fiends
(1960) Burke & Hare (1971) Burke & Hare (Comedy, 2010)


^ " The Doctor and the Devils
The Doctor and the Devils
(1985)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 25 June 2016.  ^ a b Smith, Richard Harland. "The Doctor and the Devils". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2 June 2015.  ^ a b Canby, Vincent (4 October 1985). "Film: Body Snatching In 'Doctor And The Devils'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2015.  ^ Ebert, Roger (11 November 1985). "The Doctor and the Devils". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2 June 2015.  ^ "The Doctor And The Devils". Shout! Factory. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

The Doctor and the Devils
The Doctor and the Devils
on IMDb

v t e

Films directed by Freddie Francis

Two and Two Make Six (1962) The Brain (1962) Paranoiac (1963) Nightmare (1964) The Evil of Frankenstein
The Evil of Frankenstein
(1964) Traitor's Gate (1964) Dr. Terror's House of Horrors
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors
(1965) Hysteria (1965) The Skull
The Skull
(1965) The Psychopath (1966) The Deadly Bees
The Deadly Bees
(1967) They Came from Beyond Space
They Came from Beyond Space
(1967) Torture Garden (1967) Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
(1968) Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly
(1970) Trog
(1970) The Vampire Happening
The Vampire Happening
(1971) Tales from the Crypt (1972) The Creeping Flesh
The Creeping Flesh
(1973) Tales That Witness Madness
Tales That Witness Madness
(1973) Son of Dracula (1974) Craze (1974) Legend of the Werewolf
Legend of the Werewolf
(1975) The Ghoul (1975) The Doctor and the Devils
The Doctor and the Devils
(1985) Dark