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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.

Director:

Robert Fuest
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Price ... Dr. Anton Phibes
Joseph Cotten ... Dr. Vesalius
Virginia North ... Vulnavia
Terry-Thomas ... Dr. Longstreet
Sean Bury ... Lem Vesalius
Susan Travers ... Nurse Allen
David Hutcheson David Hutcheson ... Dr. Hedgepath
Edward Burnham ... Dr. Dunwoody
Alex Scott ... Dr. Hargreaves
Peter Gilmore ... Dr. Kitaj
Maurice Kaufmann ... Dr. Whitcombe
Peter Jeffrey ... Inspector Trout
Derek Godfrey Derek Godfrey ... Crow
Norman Jones ... Sgt. Tom Schenley
John Cater ... Superintendent Waverley
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Storyline

Doctors are being murdered in bizarre manners - bats, bees, a killer frog mask, etc. - which represent the nine Biblical plagues of Egypt. The crimes are orchestrated by an organ-playing, demented madman (from his home base, replete with a clockwork orchestra and help from a beautiful, mute assistant). Detectives are stumped until they find that all the slain doctors once assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of organist Dr. Phibes, killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife's death. He couldn't be the culprit, could he? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Probably the most terrifying film you will ever see! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

18 May 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Phibes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MGM-EMI See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer William Goldstein has said that Vulnavia was originally meant to be another clockwork device, complete with a wind-up key in her neck. Believing that Phibes needed a more mobile assistant, director Robert Fuest made her human, but retained the blank facial expression and mechanical movements. See more »

Goofs

A clockwork music box plays "Elmer's Tune," which was written in 1941. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Butler - Ross: Good morning, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The Vestron video release and the version shown on cable up until the mid-'90's also featured substituted music soundtracks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Horrible Dr. Bones (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Over the Rainbow
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Courtesy of The Big Three Music Co.
(Instrumental over the end titles)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tongue-in-cheek horror and lots of Art Deco...
31 August 1999 | by Charles-31See all my reviews

This film would have probably been horrible had they taken themselves seriously. Fortunately, they didn't and, consequently, created a fascinating and entertaining festival of murder, revenge, and Art Deco set design. Vincent Price is Phibes, a brilliant organist and acoustic expert who's wife dies during an operation. He seeks to avenge her death by killing all 9 members of the operating team in creative and extravagant ways. You know the murders will take place, but you're fascinated at how they are done. It's like watching a master at work and all of the murders are works of art. By the end of the movie you'll find yourself rooting for Phibes.

Price is at his best at Phibes. Phibes requires a machine to speak, so Price is effectively miming to the dialog, but he does it so well. The performance of Virginia North as the silent, yet deadly, Vulnavia is particularly interesting. She plays the murderer's sidekick and is always beautiful and mysterious.

One of the most wonderful elements of this film is the Art Deco set and costume design. Every scene just oozes with elegance.

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. No, it's not Gone With the Wind, but it's fun and fascinating just the same, sort of a candy movie. I highly recommend it.


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