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Elephant Man, The
Thorn EMI

Elephant Man, The - video artwork

Sleeve Sypnosis:
The Elephant Man is as bizarre a story as anything Charles Dickens imagined. What is more, it is true. John (also called Joseph) Merrick was the worst 'freak' case known to Victorian medicine. A hideous disease had distorted his face and body from birth into a physical parody of a pachyderm, and he remained a prize 'specimen' in a travelling side-show until a young surgeon called Treves salvaged him from the circus tent and coaxed out of the swollen husk a strangely sweet and unembittered personality. It is this 'transformation' that makes the film, produced by Mel Brooks' into an experience that far transcends any of the risks its material contains of being 'merely' a horror movie. Alter an unnerving build-up to the revelation of Merrick's deformity, through other people's reactions to it, director David Lynch begins to play on the notes of humanity inside the actor cast as Merrick. He is John Hurt - and he gives an unbelievably touching performance against considerable physical odds. For Hurt's own expressive features are almost sunk without trace in a 14-piece foam-rubber replica of Merrick's bulbous head. Although as imprisoned as anyone inside a Rio carnival mask, he uses lips and body to project an inner world of heart-wrenching sanity. With Anthony Hopkins, as Treves, he engages in a duet in which the man with the power of speech bounces his words off the other's disabled exterior until both are in responsive harmony. A finely attuned cast support Hopkins and Hurt; John Gielgud, Anne Bancroft, Wendy Hiller among them. And photographer Freddie Francis's black-and-white camerawork, distancing us from the Technicolour present, registers a Victorian era of industrial pollution and human exploitation in which a case like Merrick's seems almost a mutation caused by the release of sacrilegious elements that turned men into machines and set machines against men. It is, in every sense of the word, a luminous him.


Director: David Lynch


Cast: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon, Helen Ryan, John Standing, Dexter Fletcher, Leslie Dunlop, Phoebe Nicholls, Pat Gorman, Claire Davenport, Orla Pederson, Patsy Smart, Frederick Treves, Stromboli, Richard Hunter

Year: 1980

Genre: Drama

Elephant Man, The


Cat No:
TVA 9003012
Distributor
* N/A or Unknown

1980
Small Box - Rental Tape

VHSBetamax


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