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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Horror | 18 May 1971 (USA)
A doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar, Anton Phibes, seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rabbi
...
...
...
Derek Godfrey ...
Crow
...
Sgt. Tom Schenley
...
Aubrey Woods ...
...
...
Dr. Whitcombe
Barbara Keogh ...
Mrs. Frawley
Sean Bury ...
Lem Vesalius
...
Nurse Allen
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Storyline

Doctors are being murdered in a bizarre manner: bats, bees, killer frog masks, etc., which represent the nine Biblical plagues. The crimes are orchestrated by the organ-playing, demented Dr .Phibes - from his base; replete with a clockwork orchestra with the help of his mute assistant. The detective is stumped until he finds that all of the doctors being killed assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of Dr. Phibes, but he couldn't be the culprit, could he? He was killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife's death... Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nine Gruesome Curses! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some horror violence/gore | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

18 May 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dr. Phibes  »

Box Office

Budget:

£300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name "Vesalius" is a reference to Andreas Vesalius, a Flemish scientist who cut up corpses to learn about the workings of the body. See more »

Goofs

The rotating speaker effect, heard on the organ at the beginning of the film, was invented in 1941. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Butler - Ross: Good morning Sir.
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Crazy Credits

Phibes is heard laughing after the song and the credits end. See more »

Connections

Featured in Vincent Price: Working with Vincent Price (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Charmaine
Written by Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
Courtesy of The Big Three Music Co.
(played during a murder scene)
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User Reviews

 
An Old-Fashioned Love Story

Vincent Price plays a "dead" man avenging the surgical team that lost his wife on the operating table. Nine doctors in all(one of them a nurse) are treated to nine of the most innovative, creative, outlandish deaths imaginable. The deaths loosely follow the Ten Plagues of the Old Testament, but each with a new twist. The film is an exercise in witty, stylish black comedy seldom seen today. Much of the credit MUST go to director Robert Fuest for his vision of something truly unique: a world in the 1920's with clockwork musicians, 20's music, and beautiful sets and costumes. Price gives one of his best performances in a role that barely utilizes his greatest attribute, his voice. Price relies heavily on movement and facial expressions, and does so wonderfully. The cast is superb with British stalwarts adorning the film all over. Terry-Thomas has a nice cameo as a Doctor Longstreet experiencing a blood donor's worst nightmare. Peter Jeffrey, a woefully under-appreciated actor, gives a fine comic performance as a policeman always on the spot a moment too late. Joseph Cotton does a credible job as the surgical leading physician. Aubrey Woods(wonderful..simply wonderful), Hugh Griffith, and John Cater also lend their talents to the supporting cast. Caroline Munro plays Price's dead wife as well. This film rejuvenated Price's career in the 70's. It is unique, poetic, haunting, and, for me the most important, very amusing. If you lack a sense of humour with regards to the world of the macabre, you might want to stay away from Phibes. It is a very dark, black comedy, yet one that is at its heart nothing more than a tragic love story of sorts.


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