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The Doctor and the Devils (1985)

Timothy Dalton , Jonathan Pryce , Freddie Francis  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Dalton, Jonathan Pryce, Twiggy, Julian Sands, Stephen Rea
  • Directors: Freddie Francis
  • Writers: Dylan Thomas, Ronald Harwood
  • Producers: Geoffrey Helman, Jonathan Sanger, Mel Brooks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009X75A6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,584 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Doctor and the Devils" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes anamorphic widescreen and full-screen formats

Editorial Reviews

Two psychotic men need to kill. A mad scientist needs fresh bodies. Together the three terrorize England. Based on the writings of Dylan Thomas.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
(9)
3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Devil You Say -- January 5, 2000
By azindn
Format:VHS Tape
Based on a true story, The Doctor and the Devils present several fine performances by outstanding actors including Timothy Dalton, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Rea, and Julian Sands. Nineteenth century medicine for one forward thinking physician, Dr. Roc (Dalton), was the fight to teach medicine as science that relied on empirical fact and first hand observation, not folk lore and religious philosophy. His primary source was fresh cadavers, the fresher the better. Alas, the Victorian mind-set was in the dark ages and regulated the number of cadaver's faculty used for teaching. Into the situation stumble two fiends (Price and Rea) who recognize a quick way to earn money for cheap gin and the local harlot (Twiggy, miscast but not a bad performance) was grave robbing. Rather than steal dead bodies from graves, however, why not avoid the grave altogether? Killing any unfortunate who happened across their path, Pryce and Rea are soon Dr. Roc's best suppliers of fresh bodies. Science versus morality, need and ambition, truth before conscience are issues explored by the stellar ensemble cast. A superb film for any library.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's funny people should mention how much The Doctor and the Devils feels somewhat like a Hammer film, to which I would agree, but it's not really surprising given the director, Freddie Francis, actually made a couple of films for Hammer studios back in the mid to late 60s, including The Evil of Frankenstein (1964) and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968). Based on a screenplay by Dylan Thomas, adapted by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, Being Julia), the film stars a pre-Bond Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon, The Living Daylights, The Rocketeer), along with Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), and Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, V for Vendetta). Also appearing is famous 60s model Twiggy (The Blues Brothers, Club Paradise), Julian Sands (Gothic, Warlock), Phyllis Logan (Secrets & Lies), Siân Phillips (Clash of the Titans, Dune), and everyone's favorite bald headed mutant leader/starship captain (the one who doesn't wear a hairpiece), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Generations, Conspiracy Theory, X-Men).

The story, set in the 19th century, features Dalton as Doctor Thomas Rock, a teacher of anatomy in a prominent London medical school. Seems Dr. Rock has a problem in getting the teaching materials necessary to conduct his lectures...and by teaching materials, I mean fresh corpses. You see, back in the day it was believed that after death, one needed all his (or her) parts in order to appease Saint Peter and gain passage through the Pearly Gates, so much so the only corpses allowed for use in such manner, by law, were those of convicted criminals executed by the gooberment, the thinking being, I guess, that is if someone was heinous and deserving enough to be executed, there was no question as to the destination of their departed soul.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WELL MADE THRILLER SHOWS THE HORRORS OF EARLY MEDICINE February 16, 2006
Format:DVD
If you like gothic horror and tales of body snatching, you'll probably enjoy this chiller. Pretty great cast, Timothy Dalton, Twiggy, Julian Sands, Jonathan Pryce and Steven Rea all lift this film to a classy level with the guidance of director Freddie Francis who worked on some of the classic Hammer films. Both widescreen and full screen versions are on the disc and both audio and picture are of good transfer. There are however no extra features.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The Doctor and the Devils (Freddie Francis, 1985)

Dylan Thomas' classic script, written thirty-two years before the film was made (and reworked by Ronald Harwood in the interim) gets the all-star treatment in Francis' 1985 telling of the tale. Francis was best known as a cinematographer (and won two Oscars in that capacity), but he was no slouch in the directors' chair, either; he contributed to some of Britain's most enduring horror flicks over the years, including Day of the Triffids and Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. This is a bit lower-key than his usual excursions into horror, and that is not at all a bad thing.

Based loosely on the tale of Burke and Hare, The Doctor and the Devils revolves around Dr. Rock (Timothy Dalton), a rather unpopular anatomist who is convinced he can cure all the world's ills as long as he has enough raw material to experiment with. A noble sentiment, to be sure, but it does lead his "assistants", the grave robbers Fallon (Jonathan Pryce) and Broom (Stephen Rea), to resort to more extreme measures in order to find a steady supply of bodies. Meanwhile, Rock's eager assistant Murray (Julian Sands) is learning that being a doctor is all about treating the whole patient--something he seems especially eager to do with a streetwalker named Jennie (Twiggy).

Dalton, Pryce, and Rea all turn in very good performances, and the rest of the cast support them quite nicely; this is a film that is crowded with good performances. Francis does a fine turn as a director here as well, and the whole thing gels quite nicely. This one has unjustly faded into obscurity over the quarter-century since its release; like many of the mid-eighties gothic horror flicks that came out around this time, these days it qualifies as a hidden gem. If you find a dusty copy on your video store shelf, it's well worth checking out. *** ½
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