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The Elephant Man (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
DVD's ordered from the UK will not play on Canadian players. Buyer Beware.Published 14 months ago by Corinne
I collect all Anthony Hopkins movie and enjoyed this very much. Arrived by mail fast and I am happy ! ! ! !Published on April 17 2013 by Connie
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 on Feb. 5 2013 by Faith
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 on Feb. 1 2013 by Rémi Jolibois
Film extrêmement troublant se rapprochant de la réalité car l'homme qu'on appelle 'l'homme éléphant' a réellement existé. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2013 by Colette Racette
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 morePublished on July 2 2004 by I. Lamont