A story of the grave robbers Burke and Hare and Dr. Robert Knox dealing with the issue between advancing scientific and medical knowledge with the institutionalized restriction of supplying surgeons with 'fresh' bodies for research.
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This began life as an original screenplay by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose story was set in Edinburgh in the early 19th century. The screenplay was not filmed in Thomas's lifetime but was published after his death. Nicholas Ray expressed interest in filming it in the mid-60s, but with changes - he wanted to relocate the story to Vienna, another city famous as a medical center. James Mason turned down the lead on learning that Thomas's screenplay would not be used. At another time, Maximilian Schell and Susannah York were named as leading actors. However, Ray never began the film and abandoned the project. "The Doctor and the Devils" (the last word is in the plural) was eventually filmed, with the Edinburgh setting, in 1985.