February 21, 2017


Burke and Hare – 1971 | 91 mins | Horror | Colour


Plot Synopsis

Burke and Hare

This is a misfired version of the story of legendary 19th-century grave-robbers Burke and Hare. Although Harry Andrews contributes a solid performance, his efforts are undone by the one-dimensional characterizations of Burke and Hare, who are played mostly for laughs as a pair of moronic womanisers by Derren Nesbitt and Glynn Edwards. Director Vernon Sewell’s historical reinterpretation fluctuates between horror melodrama and lewd sexploitation in an attempt to distract viewers from the innate cheapness of his production.

Set in early 19th century Edinburgh, two scoundrels, Burke (Nesbitt) and Hare (Edwards), discovering the profitability of taking the bodies of dead lodgers from the local poorhouse and selling them to medical pioneer Dr. Knox (Andrews) at the College of Surgeons. When the stream of cadavers begins to dry up, Burke and Hare subsequently move on to murder to maintain a steady supply of corpses. When they murder a club-footed street beggar that Dr. Knox had seen alive earlier in the day – the Doctor’s suspicions are aroused but he fails to inform two inquisitive police officers.

Production Team

Vernon Sewell: Director
Scott MacGregor: Art Direction
Desmond Dickinson: Cinematography
John Colville: Film Editing
Tony Sforzini: Makeup Department
Barbara Sutton: Makeup Department
Roger Webb: Original Music
Guido Coen: Producer
Ernle Bradford: Script
Barry Copland: Sound Department


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

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