Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Flesh and the Fiends

I see a new version of the Burke and Hare story titled, er, BURKE AND HARE is just out and according to the reviews its a moviemaking by numbers retelling by John Landis with those funny guys Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis - I think we can give that a miss, one can just imagine it. The version to see though - if it is still available - is the 1959 chiller THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS directed by expert John Gilling. It was part of that new series of chillers like those Hammer new versions of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and the like. It chilled me a lot at the time being all of 13! It's in widescreen black and white and plays the story of the 19th century Edinburgh grave-robbers seriously showing the squalor of the time. Donald Pleasance (its probably his best role) and George Rose are ideal as the ruffians who supply the eminent surgeon Dr Knox (an ideally cast Peter Cushing) with a supply of newly-buried corpses for dissecting at his college. This is exploitative macabre melodrama, more than a horror film; more gruesome and horrific than other films of the terror genre.

Burke and Hare soon of course run out of bodies and decide to supply their own, killing people and selling them on to the doctor who turns a blind eye as he needs a regular supply of cadavers. His daughter June Laverick of course does not suspect .... but when local tavern girl Billie Whitelaw who has been befriended by one of the medical students, turns up as the latest body then things start to unravel for our couple, who have entered folklore. It's a brilliant cast scary movie and must be infinitely better than any comedy remake. It probably provided the template for the new one! PS: It IS available: - I have just ordered a copy!
Coming up: a lot of new movies for review and comment:

The giallo LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN with Bolkan, Sorel and Baker
The recent THE SEA WALL with Isabelle Huppert
Chabrol's LE CEREMONIE and 2 boxsets!
Costa-Gavras's THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER with Signoret, Montand and all star cast
Tom Hollander in LAWLESS HEARTTilda Swinton's I AM LOVE
Ozon's TIME TO LEAVE + boxset
Glenda (Jackson) as SARAH (Bernhardt)
2 Gerard Butlers: THE UGLY TRUTH / 300
Kim Novak as JEANNE EAGELS ('57) and Jeanne Eagels in the 1929 THE LETTER
Michael Craig and Billie Whitelaw in PAYROLL, 1961
Antonioni's LE AMICHE ('55)
Malle's LE FEU FOLLET ('63)
Belinda Lee as MESSALINAand some more Romy Schneider, Anouk Aimee, Monica Vitti films.
and some Hollywood classics I need to see/re-see: LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, THE PALM BEACH STORY, and titles with Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan, Irene Dunne, Norma Shearer and Carole Lombard.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to your postings on all these! I enjoy your website very much, especially your star profiles!