The Anatomist (1956)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Horror  |  October 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 59 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

A doctor employs two men to dig up graves in order for him to have bodies on which to perform experiments, but the men begin to get their own ideas of where to get bodies.



(play), (as Leonard William) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
George Cole ...
Dr. Walter Anderson
Jill Bennett ...
Mary Belle
Margaret Gordon ...
Diarmuid Kelly ...
Michael Ripper ...
Peter Halliday ...
Adolphus Raby
Frank Taylor ...
Jefferson Clifford ...
Doria Noar ...
Irene Sunters ...
Jessie Ann


A doctor employs two men to dig up graves in order for him to have bodies on which to perform experiments, but the men begin to get their own ideas of where to get bodies.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror





Release Date:

October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

International Theatre: The Anatomist  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

Dullest version of the Burke and Hare story
17 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Don't be fooled by the outstanding cast - out of the five variations on the Burke and Hare tale filmed in Britain over the years, THE ANATOMIST is definitely the most boring, a cheap-jack drawing-room drama which keeps all of the action off-screen. Aside from a brief sequence at the beginning, there is no grave-robbing, we only hear and do not see the angry mob at the film's close, nor do we see Burke's hanging or any murders. Instead what we get is a poverty-row production which uneasily mixes horror with comedic aspects (unavoidable considering the film's cast) which in the end comes off as preachy and downright dull. This is a film where scenes of dry dialogue last twenty-five minutes at a time and even strong acting can't help to improve what is essentially an academic script.

A shame, because often with poverty-row productions like this (filmed for television no less), an air of realism is attained that glossier, higher-budgeted dramas cannot hope to obtain. There are indeed a couple of good scenes - the sleazy sequence in which Burke and Hare seduce Adrienne Corri, or the exciting life-or-death climax, but these do not help the rest of the static scenes which turn the eighty-minute odd running time into something that feels like three hours. Alastair Sim himself is delightfully pompous as Dr. Knox but he doesn't beat Peter Cushing's performance in THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS; he's too human and cuddly come the film's close. George Cole is pretty hopeless as the emoting young male lead who is torn between his love for Knox and his love for his girlfriend, played by the supremely irritating Jill Bennett; he should have stuck to comedy. It's left for performers to shine in minor roles, like Adrienne Corri's feisty drunken girl and Michael Ripper's outstanding turn as the squalid, sleazy, downright grotesque graverobber Burke, ironically one of his best performances in one of his worst films.

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