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Burke & Hare
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Burke & Hare (1972) More at IMDbPro »

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Burke & Hare -- William Burke and William Hare were a pair of enterprising street thugs who provided anatomical specimens to the Edinburgh Medical College--often by robbing the graves of the recently dead (In HD).
Burke & Hare -- Trailer for Burk & Hare


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The pimps and the prostitutes and the body-snatchers. The brothels and dens of iniquity.
Two men go into business supplying medical colleges with cadavers by robbing graves. | Add synopsis »
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BURKE & HARE (Vernon Sewell, 1972) **1/2 See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Derren Nesbitt ... Burke

Harry Andrews ... Dr. Knox
Glynn Edwards ... Hare
Yootha Joyce ... Mrs. Hare

Françoise Pascal ... Marie
Yutte Stensgaard ... Janet
Robin Hawdon ... Lord Angus McPhee
Alan Tucker ... Arbuthnot
Dee Shenderey ... Mrs. Burke
Joan Carol ... Madame Thompson
Paul Greaves ... Ferguson
David Pugh ... Daft Jamie
James Hayter ... Dr. Selby
Thomas Heathcote ... Paterson
Duncan Lamont ... Dr. Saint
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Keith Anderson ... Client in Brothel
Roger Avon ... Second Guard
Stewart Bevan ... Bruce
Victor Brooks ... Butler
John J. Carney ... Guard MacKenzie
Susan Coates ... Polly
Noel Coleman ... Fire Chief (as Noël Coleman)
Brian Croucher ... Client in Brothel
Maudie Edwards ... Woman Passer-by
Caron Gardner ... Maggie
Charles Houston ... Barman
Alan Judd ... Mr. Murdoch
Paul Luty ... Cruncher
Reg Lye ... Old Joe
Roy Macready ... Merrilees
Lindsay Marsh ... Liz
Stanley McGeagh ... Sergeant MacTavish (as Stanley McCeagh)
John Moore ... Boy
Kerry Nesbitt ... Flora
Ken Parry ... Fat Man in Brothel
Christine Pilgrim ... Rosie
Frederick Piper ... Lodger
Joan Rhodes ... Hairy Mary
Bill Shine ... Landlord
Madoline Thomas ... Mary Doherty
Kenneth Thornett ... Councillor Gordon
Bob Todd ... Guard Campbell
Jerold Wells ... Landlord
Katya Wyeth ... Natalie (as Katya Wyath)
Caroline Yates ... Annie
Lewis Alexander ... Brothel Patron (uncredited)
Victor Harrington ... Onlooker (uncredited)
Walter Henry ... Market Trader (uncredited)
Aileen Lewis ... Maid (uncredited)
Jonathan Moore ... The Boy (uncredited)
Fred Wood ... Gent at market stall (in top hat) (uncredited)

Directed by
Vernon Sewell 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ernle Bradford 

Produced by
Guido Coen .... producer
Kenneth Shipman .... executive producer
Original Music by
Roger Webb 
Cinematography by
Desmond Dickinson 
Film Editing by
John Colville 
Art Direction by
Scott MacGregor 
Makeup Department
Tony Sforzini .... chief makeup artist
Barbara Sutton .... hair stylist
Ricky Rickaby .... make-up (uncredited)
Production Management
David Griffith .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ray Corbett .... assistant director
Michael Murray .... third assistant director
Art Department
Don Picton .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Barry Copland .... sound recordist (as Barry Copeland)
Special Effects by
Pat Moore .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Norman Jones .... camera operator
Terry Winfield .... focus puller
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Arthur Newman .... chief wardrobe master
Mary Gibson .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Music Department
The Scaffold .... music performers: title song
Other crew
Betty Harley .... continuity
Gerry Humphreys .... dubbing director
A.L. Palmer .... title background designer
Paddy Ryan .... fight sequence arranger
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Bodysnatchers" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
91 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Canada:AA (Ontario) | UK:X | UK:15 (DVD) | USA:R

Did You Know?

Final film of director Vernon Sewell.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When "Daft Jamie" is being shown at the medical school, in the close up of his foot, his toe's move.See more »
Movie Connections:
The Minstrel BoySee more »


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
BURKE & HARE (Vernon Sewell, 1972) **1/2, 27 January 2011
Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta

Fairly maligned but, in retrospect, reasonably enjoyable version of the notorious body-snatching double act – played here by Derren Nesbitt (a regular in director Sewell's work) and Glynn Edwards (surprisingly, for a title role, played by a prolific character actor rather than a star or even a familiar face); both men are now married and their spouses get wind of their nefarious activities before long. The end is also closer to the truth, with Hare turning State's Evidence (eventually dying blind and destitute), leaving Burke to hang alone, and Dr. Knox (a typically full-blooded Harry Andrews, with an eye-patch over his right eye and given to cracking dirty jokes for his colleagues' amusement!) – the eminent surgeon they sold the bodies to – being expelled from his profession but subsequently setting up a traveling medicine show! Oddly enough, the rivalry between Knox and the other surgeon-lecturers is all but inexistent here!

The style is agreeably redolent of Hammer Films (nicely book-ended by recreations of period illustrations dealing with the case), though like the brand-new John Landis rendition, the tone is bawdily comic rather than the sleazy seriousness adopted by two more British treatments of these events (unfolding in 1820s Edimburgh) by notable directors – John Gilling's THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS (1959) and Freddie Francis' THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS (1985), both of which I had reviewed soon after their first viewing. For the record, the screenplay is the handiwork of Ernle Bradford; his major claim to fame was penning the bestselling chronicle of The Great Siege of Malta of 1565 and, not only is a street in my hometown named after him, but he was to die on our shores in 1986!

The brothel scenes (ostensibly demonstrating Knox's students' leisure time, as well as provide convenient victims for the titular duo, but all-too-obviously mandated by the new-fangled permissiveness) feel rather like padding – incidentally, former Hammer starlet Yutte Stensgaard appears briefly as one such prostitute (which she unconvincingly plays drunk much of the time!). One unexpected asset, however, is a rollicking folk-tune sung by The Scaffold during the film's opening and closing titles.

I do not know if the copy I acquired is culled from the film's DVD edition (through Redemption) but it came accompanied by an interesting 12-minute 'lecture' featuring an unusual-looking (displaying tattoos and piercings galore!) female Professor who, amongst other things, parallels the real-life Dr. Knox's dabbling in body parts so that others may live with the literary figure of Baron Frankenstein attempting to re-animate composites of dead tissue (especially since both came by them illegally).

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