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The Doctor And The Devils Blu-ray Review

The Doctor and the Devils Blu-ray

“The Doctor and the Devils” deserves to be rediscovered on Blu-ray.

Up until a few months ago, I had amazingly never heard of this film which is odd considering the extraordinary level of talent involved (Timothy Dalton, Jonathan Pryce, Twiggy, Julian Sands, Stephen Rea, Patrick Stewart and Mel Brooks as an executive producer). One would think that with Mel Brooks name attached that “The Doctor and the Devils” would be a comedy, but it’s not instead. Instead, it’s a 19th century set Burke and Hare inspired horror drama story about an anatomy Professor (Dr. Rock) who seeks newly dead bodies to further his scientific studies. The bulk of the story revolves around two unscrupulous, low class, drunkard thugs (Robert Fallon and Timothy Broom) who rob graves and eventually kill people in order to sell the corpses to Dr. Rock. Added into the mix is a crucial subplot involving Dr. Rock’s assistant (Dr. Murray) becoming enamored with a feisty prostitute (Jennie).

Written by Ronald Harwood and poet/author Dylan Thomas, “The Doctor and the Devils” is a criminally underrated 1985 film that isn’t afraid to pose thought provoking ideas about ethics, morality, class, greed, science, and humanity. While an adaptation of the age old Burke and Hare tale may be nothing new to the cinematic arts, the meaty subject matter and the moody and unsettling tone of the film proves to be an extremely effective combination. On top of that, the movie wisely never shies away from the subject matter as the story really goes for the throat in showing the despicable side of human nature.

“The Doctor and the Devils” is made even more fascinating thanks to incredible performances by the ensemble cast. Jonathan Pryce and Stephen Rea excel at playing detestable murderers while Timothy Dalton (one of my personal favorite actors) shines as an obsessed man of science who chooses to ignore what’s really going on in favor of his own goals.


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? While far from a perfect transfer due to the sometimes fuzzy quality, I think most people (myself included) will just be happy to see this title on Blu-ray and DVD.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo. How does it sound? A bit flat, but adequate.

* “The Doctor and the Devils” theatrical trailer.
* Interviews with producers Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger and Randy Auerbach. The trio chat about BrooksFilms, “The Doctor and the Devils,” the screenplay revisions, “The Elephant Man,” the sets of ‘Devils,’ the movie business, and director Freddie Francis. Best extra on this set.
* A fact filled commentary by author/screenwriter Steve Haberman in which he largely talks about Burke and Hare and “The Doctor and the Devils.”

October 29, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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