The Body Snatcher
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Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were given top billing in the Val Lewton-produced The Body Snatcher, but the film's protagonist is played by Henry Daniell. A brilliant 18th century London surgeon, Daniell can only make his humanitarian medical advances by experimenting on cadavers, which is strictly illegal. Karloff plays a Uriah Heep-type cabman who is secretly a grave robber, providing corpses for Daniell's research. The low-born Karloff enjoys blackmailing the aristocratic Daniell into silence; the two actors' cat-and-mouse scenes are among the film's highlights. Eventually,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Settings are inexpensive but sufficient for the needs. Production values, in general, however, aid materially in making this picture a winner."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"One of the lesser products of Val Lewton's years as the head of RKO's horror-film unit."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"there's a fascination with the ultimate futility of ever being something beyond opportunistic and solipsistic."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"This is the most elegant and leisurely of the Val Lewton horror films, up until the whopper of an ending."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The film accelerates to great effect towards the end."
‑ , Time Out
"A strong, well above-average effort in almost every way, there's no evidence at all that Lewton's first brush with money and success dulled his instincts."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Too stuck on being literate to be a great movie ... ."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It is certainly far more accomplished and evocative than some critics have suggested."
‑ , Film4
"Even though this film is taken from a modest stage play of a few seasons back, its humors are as stale and mechanical as those of the oldest such farce."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Researchers and healers are closer to the subjects on the autopsy slab than to their living patients in this acerbic chimera of shadow and sacrifice"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"The first and best of the three Val Lewton-Boris Karloff collaborations for RKO."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Wildly overrated, but elegantly produced horror film"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for The Body Snatcher on Rotten Tomatoes