Freddie Francis was appalled to learn that producer Mel Brooks originally intended to use none of Dylan Thomas's original screenplay, but wanted simply another horror movie about Burke and Hare. Francis insisted on going back to the Thomas script as far as possible, although certain revisions were made by Ronald Harwood. See more »
Doctor Thomas Rock:
I don't need any friends, I prefer enemies. They're better company and their feelings towards you are always genuine.
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As others have noted, this should have been an excellent Hammer-style film, and it seems to me that that's how most of the actors were instructed to play it... but the screenplay is so leaden, poorly paced, and filled with a lot of dull soliloquies (poor Timothy Dalton is saddled with most of them) that it's all too overblown and self-important. This is an uncharacteristically weak performance from Dalton, although he quietly nails the climactic scene where Dr. Rock finally realizes what he's done. The only actor who comes off really well is Patrick Stewart who is a most welcome sight. Freddie Francis may have been a great cinematographer, but he was a lousy director.
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