Based on the true story about the famous murderers, 'Burke And Hare' follows the hapless exploits of these two men as they fall into the highly profitable business of providing cadavers for the medical fraternity in Nineteenth Century Edinburgh, then the centre of medical learning. The one thing they were short of was bodies. Written by
David Tennant was originally cast as William Hare, but had to drop out shortly before filming began, because NBC, for whom he had recently shot a pilot, declined to release him to shoot the film, for fear of scheduling problems if the pilot was picked up early. See more »
Two hangings are shown in the film, in the style of a "long drop" designed to break the neck and cause instant death. This style was first introduced in the 1870's by William Marwood as a more humane approach. Before then, and certainly in 1828-1829 when the film was set, the victim was simply suspended by a rope around the neck, and choked to death by suffocation. See more »
John Landis' Burke and Hare is more like a Victorian Laurel and Hardy
Burke and Hare is a fast-paced, fun filled riot and the title roles are inhabited brilliantly by Simon Pegg (as William Burke) and Andy Serkis (as William Hare). Harking back to the good old American Werewolf days, Burke and Hare joyfully plays with your expectations, creating characters you like and sympathise with and then making you squirm as they nonchalantly murder their way through Edinburgh. Andy Serkis proves that he is the most easily likable man in the world with his earnest, all or nothing approach to acting, and as he reasons that mankind's fate is sealed the moment they're born, you almost find yourself nodding along happily when he suggests "helping them along the way". Simon Pegg has the straighter role, though not by far, as he gleefully goes from love-struck puppy-eyed romantic to monstrously suffocating old ladies in the blink of an eye, his facial expressions, mostly of dim witted "innocence" perfectly contrast with Serkis (Burke's reaction to Hare's coinage of the term "burking" is hilarious). All in all the duo are a perfect pare, thick as thieves and as funny as, well, horrible murderers.
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