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The Elephant Man (Widescreen)

Anthony Hopkins , John Hurt , David Lynch    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 36.06
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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.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Lynch's Finest Moment Nov. 14 2009
By Richard S. Warner TOP 50 REVIEWER
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".

The film is shot in black and white which is a stroke of genius.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for those with a heart and soul June 28 2004
The Elephant Man is a film of incredible passion and power. For those who think "power" in the movies involves supernatural abilities or mastery of martial arts or destructive weapons - The Elephant Man is perhaps not for you.
David Lynch's film is shot in black and white which gives a Victorian feel to the era depicted, but also gives a startling chiarascuro visual to many scenes.
Much of the information about the life of Mr. Merrick was obtained from accounts written by Dr. Treves, who became so celebrated that he was chosen to be Royal Physician, so it is perhaps not surprising that Treves comes off well in this film. The central performances are by John Hurt as Merrick and Anthony Hopkins as Treves, and they are both absolutely stunning. I have viewed the film a half-dozen times, and there are moments that I am moved every single time.
The Elephant Man suffers from terrible physical deformities that are only gradually shown to the audience. But we discover that his mental faculties are not hindered at all, and the scene in which this discovery is made is absolutely astonishing.
The late John Gielgud does excellent work as the hospital administrator, Mr. Carr Gomm. In the scene after it is revealed that the Elephant Man has normal intelligence Carr Gomm takes Treves aside.
"Can you IMAGINE what sort of life he has had?" (Merrick has spent his life up to that point as a side-show freak, beaten and jeered at.)
Treves looks absent-mindedly out the window before starting to reply "Yes, I think I ...."
Carr Gomm rebukes him sharply. "No you can't!" He softens his voice. "No one can.
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2.0 out of 5 stars the oscar movie March 5 2004
There is a reason that this movie recieved so many Oscar nominations; it's a movie meant for the occasion. The Elephant Man is better shot, better acted and all round better made then the majority of Oscar nominated movies but ultimately it's sentimental and doesn't meet out its own potential. I was very excited to rent this movie because the more and more I see by David Lynch the more impressed I am. Both Blue Velvet and the Straight Story (just to name two) absolutely wowed me with their vision and totally original feel. I'm convinced that Lynch is one of the most notable and important living American directors. The Elephant Man looks and sounds great, but the handling of the material is just average. In a lesser movie, this wouldn't be as infuriating but in a movie with such amazing visual atmosphere you kind of expect a depth of emotion. I thought that this movie wore its morals as a cub scout badge. There was so much more potential in the material. I wanted murkiness and ambivalence. Why do we react so violently and hatefully to ugliness? Did the doctor really care about his patient or was he just another ringmaster? And most importantly, what of class? The Elephant Man's happiness seems to be entirely dependent on his acceptance into high society. The people shown reacting ignorantly to the Elephant Man are all poor and dirty. Quite a simplistic attitude if you ask me. If you are looking for a tear jerker, rent this movie, you could do worse. If you are looking for Lynch with balls, Blue Velvet is your best decision.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
I collect all Anthony Hopkins movie and enjoyed this very much. Arrived by mail fast and I am happy ! ! ! !
Published 18 months ago by Connie
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD
If you live in North America, DO NOT buy DVD's from England, they do not work. I had no problems with buying, shipping, or recieving, now I'm stuck with a DVD I can't use.
Published 20 months ago by Faith
2.0 out of 5 stars Elephant man
The product details said that the film has the french track but it was not true. There is no french version on it and I wanted it, because I am french !!
Published 20 months ago by Rémi Jolibois
4.0 out of 5 stars The elephant man
Film extrêmement troublant se rapprochant de la réalité car l'homme qu'on appelle 'l'homme éléphant' a réellement existé. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Colette Racette
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and meaningful
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2012 by Steven Aldersley
5.0 out of 5 stars Holds Up Well Over 30 Years Later
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2011 by Kasey G
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD interviews welcome addition to film classic
I saw the original in 1980, and the DVD in 2004. The DVD really is a nice package. Not only do you have this great film in crystal clear quality, but the interview package at the... Read more
Published on July 2 2004 by I. Lamont
5.0 out of 5 stars But all the crying voices, they can turn it around
Let me start off by saying, umm... meh. I thought I had something, but I don't. I went into viewing this film with semi-high expectations. Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Trevor Bather
5.0 out of 5 stars the elephant man
"the elephant man" is one of the most moving, sad, & best films i have ever seen. it tells the story of john merrick. Read more
Published on March 2 2004
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