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The Elephant Man (Widescreen)

88 customer reviews

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Elephant Man
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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller
  • Directors: David Lynch
  • Writers: David Lynch, Ashley Montagu, Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, Frederick Treves
  • Producers: Jonathan Sanger, Mel Brooks
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • Release Date: May 9 2003
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CX9S

Product Description

Product Description

The Elephant Man

You could only see his eyes behind the layers of makeup, but those expressive orbs earned John Hurt a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of John Merrick, the grotesquely deformed Victorian-era man better known as The Elephant Man. Inarticulate and abused, Merrick is the virtual slave of a carnival barker (Freddie Jones) until dedicated London doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins in a powerfully understated performance) rescues him from the life and offers him an existence with dignity. Anne Bancroft costars as the actress whose visit to Merrick makes him a social curiosity, with John Gielgud and Wendy Hiller as dubious hospital staffers won over by Merrick. David Lynch earned his only Oscar nominations as director and cowriter of this somber drama, which he shot in a rich black-and-white palette, a sometimes stark, sometimes dreamy visual style that at times recalls the offbeat expressionism of his first film, Eraserhead. It remains a perfect marriage between traditional Hollywood historical drama and Lynch's unique cinematic eye, a compassionate human tale delivered in a gothic vein. The film earned eight Oscar nominations in all, and though it left the Oscar race empty-handed, its dramatic power and handsome yet haunting imagery remain just as strong today. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Warner TOP 100 REVIEWER on Nov. 14 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
David Lynch was, for the most part, an unknown when Hollywood, specifically Mel Brooks ( of all people !!! ), took him on to direct "The Elephant Man". He had only one feature film under his belt at the time, the incredibly dark, disturbing and hypnotically dreamlike "Eraserhead". Not exactly a precedent for taking on a film of such deeply moving and upsetting emotional tenor, but Brooks had complete faith in him. That faith was paid off in spades.

"The Elephant Man", since deleted by Paramount ( !!! ), is, in my opinion one of the best films of all time. The cast is incredible. John Hurt gives his greatest performance to date and he is completely unrecognizable as John ( Joseph ) Merrick. Anthony Hopkins' Frederic Treves is a study in reserve and restraint with tumultuous emotions and conflicts boiling under the surface. Freddie Jones as the slimy, despicable Mr. Bytes conjurs up both a hatred of his callous, opportunistic exploitation of another man's suffering and something akin to pity for the "losing his grip" desparation he portrays. Sir John Gielgud is Sir John Gielgud, all class, refinement and authority. And Dame Wendy Hiller transforms from a seemingly heartless, officious dragon lady into a woman of true compassion and strength. Finally a special mention of Anne Bancroft's turn as Dame Madge Kendall is absolutely necessary. For it's in the scene where she brings John Merrick the collected works of William Shakespeare and they randomly pick a scene from "Romeo and Juliet" to read from where we have the most heart-rending emotional moment in the entire film. I defy anyone not to be VERY deeply moved, even to tears, when she tells Mr. Merrick " ... you're Romeo".
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
First, I have to say I bought this title through a UK marketplace seller and what I got was not as pictured on amazon where I'm placing this review. The 'book' shown is not separate from the digipak case, but attached to the inner left side opposite the disc. This is Region A & B release.

The picture and sound, DTS HD MA 5.1, are definitely better than on the original Paramount DVD.

The special features on this Studio Canal Blu-ray release are also different from the DVD release, so you might want to keep the DVD.

One of the main features that is lacking on this Studio Canal Blu-ray is the Theatrical Trailer found on the DVD. As I've written in many of my reviews on Blu-ray releases, " I'm film fan that strongly believes if a Theatrical Trailer is available it should be on any of the film's digital releases because it is a part of the movie's history."

I don't feel like I have to go into the story of this movie as it is in many other reviews. I will say that it is one of my favourite films shot in beautiful black & white.
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By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 29 2012
Format: Blu-ray
The Elephant Man (1980)
Drama, Biography, 124 minutes
Directed by David Lynch
Starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt and John Gielgud

Here's a film that I was completely wrong about when I first saw it. I was about 20 at the time and was probably watching it to see how grotesque the main character appeared. Now, some 30 years later, David Lynch has become one of my favorite directors and I am able to appreciate movies on a different level.

The Elephant Man is not a typical David Lynch film. You can clearly see his style all over it (such as his fascination with machinery), but the story is not as complex and difficult as later efforts; this is grounded in reality. John Merrick (Hurt) existed in Victorian England, although he was really called Joseph Merrick. A cast of his head exists and is on display in a museum with his curved spine. It took up to six hours in makeup to transform Hurt into Merrick, but the result was as authentic as possible.

Shot in black and white on a low budget in around 14 weeks, the film was made thanks to the backing of Mel Brooks. He hadn't heard of David Lynch, but backed him after seeing a screening of Eraserhead.

The most surprising thing about The Elephant Man is how human the character is. Although his outward appearance frightened many people, he is portrayed as a gentle and eloquent man. Imagine being displayed in carnivals as a freak for the first 20 years of your life. He is punished if he doesn't "perform" and is treated like an annoying animal. Would you be afraid to speak or show your intelligence in such a situation? I know I would.

Merrick is discovered by Frederick Treves (Hopkins), who is a surgeon in a London hospital.
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By KaseyG TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 9 2011
Format: DVD
I first saw this film back in 1981 at the theater when I was 12. It frightened and saddened me though I cannot say I was really traumatized by it. However, it must have made some sort of emotional impact before I have always been terrified of viewing this film in the 20-plus years that have past since then. The most disturbing aspect to me was the inhumane treatment John Merrick received. Just today I got up my courage and bought the DVD at the music store. I sat, white knuckles and all-expecting the worst. Well, I got through it. For one thing, it didn't seem as ominous this go-round. (Funny how your perceptions change as an adult). The fact that this was a period piece works to the film's benefit in that it hasn't dated at all. I am glad the producers and director agreed to use black-and-white film because it adds to the authenticity. What surprised me most was how much I had actually forgotten: the scene in the monkey cage, the fact that Anne Bancroft appeared, and more. What did always stick in my memory was what I refer to as the "raid" scene. (When the sleazy Night Porter brings his "customers" from the pub to Merrick's room, carrying John around, forcing the cheap tarts to kiss him, and then holding a mirror up to his face to purposely shock him.) Upon viewing The Elephant Man as an adult, my favorite scenes are now the most beautiful yet the saddest ones: when John meets Treeves' wife and says he never meant to be a disappointment to his mother, and the final scene as Merrick carefully takes the pillows off the bed and places them on the table. This film should be mandatory study for all North American high school students. Though even then, I am sure there would be more than a few jaded teens who would find some sort of comedy in it. Those kind are the real freaks.
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