Customer Reviews


79 Reviews
5 star:
 (72)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Blu Ray
It's easy to forget what a one-off work of genius this movie is. Think about it - a young David Lynch fresh off Eraserhead and bubbling with talent and creativity. A cast of the UKs finest actors - pre ham Anthony Hopkins, Johns Hurt and Geilgud, a wonderful turn by Freddie Jones. All shot by arguably the best cinematographer ever from these shores, Freddie Francis. Did I...
Published on 5 May 2011 by Now Zoltan

versus
10 of 104 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Joseph Merrick
This film could not have been further from the truth. Joseph Merrick was not depicted in any way true. He was a very wealthy man who made money from his deformities. He did indeed go into the workhouse but this was by choice as he was not intimidated about his deformity in there. He went abroad and made money on the continent. He did cover himself from head to foot in a...
Published on 9 May 2006 by Frances


‹ Previous | 1 2 38 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Lynch's best, 25 July 2007
By 
A. Weaver "Thing Witch" (Somewhere in England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elephant Man [DVD] (DVD)
I am a big David Lynch fan and decided I just had to see this film. I stuck it at the top of my rental list and a few days later it arrived in that special packaging that puts a smile on my face every time. I watched it that night and it certainly did not disappoint. It lived up to every expectation and blasted most of them right out of the park.

`The Elephant Man' follows the life of Joseph Merrick, incorrectly named John in the film, and that of Frederick Treves who was his doctor and friend. While the film is filled with its fair share of inaccuracies and errors it is no less perfect for it. A lot of the fiction is there for a reason as it serves to make the film more entertaining and helps to provide more character depth. I really do urge you to watch the film, even if you are unsure because of the made up bits, because it is a superb and phenomenally beautiful film.

The film stars Anthony Hopkins as the doctor Frederick Treves and John Hurt as Joseph Merrick, the elephant man. They are both brilliant in their roles, everyone is, but it really is John Hurt who is the star here. I think there are probably a lot of ways you could mess up the character of Joseph Merrick but John Hurt just excels. He was nominated for an Oscar and as far as I'm concerned he should have won it. His portrayal of Joseph Merrick is one of the best character performances I've ever seen and I do consider myself to be a movie buff.

Not leaving out Lynch himself, the director brings us more of his trademark direction and invites once again to view his marvelous vision of the surreal. Though, `The Elephant Man' certainly never reaches the weirdness of `Mulholland Drive' it is no less a David Lynch film and masterpiece of cinema. Throughout the film his direction, as with the script and sets, is spot on. This film is a sum of all its parts and every part in the equation was an essential ingredient equaling near perfection.

While the whole film is wonderful, there is one part, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to break down into tears during this scene, at the end of the film that was pure visual poetry. With Samuel Barbers joyously sad and emotionally overwhelming Adagio for Strings playing in the background, we are treated to an almost too simple shot of Joseph Merrick just sitting on his bed starring at the viewer and it just killed me. I can say in all honesty and without any over exaggeration that it was one of the most beautiful things I ever saw in my whole like. Perfect. Just a perfect scene.

So, basically, just buy or rent this now. If you consider yourself even remotely interested in truly good films then you have no choice but to see it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this copy!, 8 Sep 2008
By 
N. C. Bateman (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I already had The Elephant Man, but I took a chance on this "special edition" (Optimum, August 2008) having an improved picture. Freddie Francis's silvery monochrome deserves the best possible transfer and I'm glad to say this is a real step up. As for the film - well, if it doesn't have you in tears at least twice, then you are not a human being - you are an animal!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and moving, 22 Mar 2010
By 
Simon D. Jones "mavmaramis" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Elephant Man was only the fourth film directed by David Lynch and before he hit the big time with Dune (1984) and Twin Peaks (1990-91). Prior to this film his major breakthrough was Eraserhead (1976) but he started with The Grandmother (1970) and The Amputee (1974).

Eraserhead was both disturbing and surreal and like The Elephan Man shot in black and white.

This movie would never have came about if not for Mel Brooks - he of Blazing Saddles and numerous other conedies - it is after all a Brooksfilms Production.

The stand out feature of this movie is the cinematography - done by the legendary Freddie Francis and filmed in authentic London locations that were bulldozed and obliterated a mere year after the film was made. It is atmospherically dark, capturing Victorian London in reasonable quality along with the hospital and costumes. To my mind some of the lighting inspiration from this film must have rubbed off on Ridley Scott whe he came to make Blade Runner (film noir).

The story is based on real events, that of John (Joseph) Merrick, although Lynch took slight liberties with the storytelling, deviating from historical facts regardng Merrick's actual life (he willingly placed himself in a workhouse and willingly used his deformities to earn a living).

The debate regarding the condition suffered by Merrick has been extensive - initially described as "Elephantis" the film goes along with the Victorian Freakshow proprietor's explanation that "something" happened to his mother at 4 months preganant involving a remote island and elephats.
The proprietor here is played with tremendous effect by Freddie Jones who has the right balance between menace, subservience and anger - he considers himself Merrick's "owner".
The modern diagnosis is neurofibromatosis type I although Proteus syndrom was postulated 2003 DNA tests did not confirm this diagnosis.

Paramount didn't quite know how to market this film, John Hurt describes a showing where a Paramount exec turns to him and says "We're going to have a hard time marketing a monster movie" which is precisely what the film is not about.

We see Merrick mistreated and beated and "presented" as The Amazing Elephant Man by Jones. Enter Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) who at first sees him as a medical curiosity - it is Treves own book (or portions thereof) upon which the screenplay was based and a latter 1970s publication. At one point Treves wonders if he and Jone's character have becoe the same - parading Merrick as a sideshow except this time ih high society.

What we get from this film is to look past the deformities to a man who is initially frightened and frightening (women scream at the sight of him) but gradually he demonstrates he is not only intellectual but a deft model maker - the church he builds still exists although not the one shown in this film.

The film garnered 8 Oscar nominations but won none, not that it matters a jot as the film is wonderful in many respects. The makeup is convincing, the actors are great and the historical accuuracy is very good (we can forgive artistic licence). In most ways this is a very authentic and human story of a man who died aged just 27.

Sometimes I wonder whether modern man has progressed any from his Victorian counterpart when encountering someone with severe disabilities - are they shunned, ignored or treated as some kind of curious feak - I wish it were not so and maybe humanity should re-evaluate it's "gorp" mentality - as Merrick said "I am not an animal, I am a man"

A movie that is good for all the right reasons, wonderfully shot and acted - a work of craft that should be humbling not a spectacle. Watch it, appreciate it and remember that "we must be kind to one another because each voice enriches and enobles us and each voice lost diminishes us."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a priceless gem..., 16 May 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elephant Man [DVD] (DVD)
Definitely an exquisite piece of cinema, one of the most harrowing, engrossing and poignant movies in motion picture history. No gargantuan budgets, no Hollywood hotshots, no special effects, no violence, no sex, no long-legged chicks, even no colors!. This is PURE CINEMA where both elegance and substance are blended into a perfect mixture of intensity and integrity.

It is beautifully shot black & white on purpose. Although filming B&W was very expensive process at that time, it was a right choice by director David Lynch and producer Mell Brooks because it fitted perfectly with the eerie mood and sinister ambiance of the story.

Visually it drags the viewer into dark, grey, filthy, haunting and suffocating PHANTASMAGORIA of INDUSTRIAL WORLD where cruelty and self-interest overwhelm kindness and compassion. Soggy streets, foggy alleys, smoky steel mills, and crummy crowds are all the elements of Lynch's SYMBOLISM used to portray very sharply the psychological turmoil of John Merrick - a physically plagued & horribly abused soul with massive deformities throughout his body - while being constantly bombarded with inhumane indecencies. So, this is the story of that hapless and hopeless man's arduous journey to return in humanity and dignity in a world full of real freaks and two-footed beasts.

It's sad to say that aside from a trailer and photo gallery with fairly small images, the DVD is bare bones with no extras or commentary. More disappointingly, the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track on this disc contains a Dolby Surround audio track sourced directly from the optical audio of the film print itself, but OK it still manages to have its intended impact. On the other hand, the widescreen transfer is very good. I highly recommend R1 release with richer content in terms of interviews with cast, crew and make-up artist Christopher Tucker. It also features 5.1-channel sound support too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roar of the Inner Wild, 19 Sep 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The film gently portrays the travails of the outsider asking the questions around aesthetics; what is beauty but also bringing in notions of the roles of science, puriency and belief. It raises a number of questions, watching it again after 30 years this was not particularly apparent in the first sitting. Lynch has taken some shortcuts to tell the story from the original.

The mood is also set with long silences. In a Lynchian film there is minimal character talkover, long silences punctuate the call and response. In between the soundtrack hisses its steam. Lynchian atmosphere is a powerful filmic backdrop infusing the story and outcome.

The black and white film angst evokes David Lean's Great Expectations with its dark omnnipresent atmosphere. A world of shadow noir, meanwhile industrial machines pound a syncopated rhythm. London life contrasts with the stuffiness of academia; the semi drunken riotous life of the working class areas, the grizzled hard faces of men and women locked in penury. These are the people who want to gaze at the freak.

Meanwhile in the cloistered sterile worlds of the establishment, the bondage of manners entails strict criterias being demarcated on what constitutes humanity. The monster needs to demonstrate refinement in order to be accepted into the middlebrow fold. Eventually reciting the 23d psalm proves to be his redemption, a man of feeling rather than imbecility. Prior to this he is paraded as a medical totem and interrogated devoid of any notion of inner pride. Gradually the bond between doctor, nurses and patient metamorphises into another dynamic, the crux of the film. This humanising the human also forms the core.

The only way an outsider could earn a life in the 19thC was to join the circus, the carnival and create a surrogate brotherhood; a slice of life encased in Tod Browning's Freaks. Camaraderie germinates on many different soils and this provides another route for Merrick's salvation.

The notion of the beautiful mother trampled to death by African elephants, stitched together at the beginning of the film is a Dickensian schmaltx twist. Akin to where Oliver realises he has a rich uncle, whereas most are trapped in solitude with no hope of redemption, the connection to the gentry defines the individual. Less My Fair Lady than a nod to te genetic routes of civility.

One of the few films to deal with disfigurement in an era where plastic surgery creates a unified monotony, Elephant Man shows what is on the outside may be horrendous but it is the inside that counts. Most however remain to this day brutalised in institutions, or are aborted into the sewers.

Merrick managed to obtain and retain a sense of decorum despite the rain of torrents beating upon his body, coupled with the constant psychological taunting at his disfigurement. His salvation was to find an escape route out of the morass into a genteel civility. This proved to be a redemption. He could cross over from the world of the carnival outsider, back to the worlds of the socially included through his diction and erudition.

Elephant Man at two hours long raises numerous questions on what it means to be human. It offers some answers but is also coated with a sugar pill.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 2 May 2006
This review is from: The Elephant Man [DVD] (DVD)
One of the most powerful elements of this film is the constant thrum of the boiler room in the London Hospital that pervades throughout the film. A stunning John Hurt performance and wonderful direction, beautifully portrays Merrick's tragic existence. Hopkins's intensity adds to the milieu and the final scene is incredibly moving. Heart-breaking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and sad film..., 8 April 2011
By 
andy.b. (Elswick,Lancs) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elephant Man (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
...which really shines in this blu-ray version,picture quality and sound are vastly superior to dvd versions,extras are informative but short,and the notebook that comes with the film is informative and interesting to film buffs like myself.Well worth your money if you want to appreciate the film as Lynch intended you too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Elephant Man - a must see...., 24 April 2008
By 
Ann Denton "Cool Water Sounds" (Carmarthenshire, Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elephant Man [DVD] (DVD)
A truly special film. John (Joseph) Merrick is the severely deformed man, treated badly by a drunken, ignorant circus owner as one of life's freaks, and takes payment accordingly to line his own pockets at Merricks' expense. As the story unfolds, Merrick is finally taken in by the ever brilliant Anthony Hopkins who plays the sincere and humaine surgeon, Mr Treves, we see an articulate and delightful man appear as Merrick who begins a new life of civilisation in the care of the London Hospital. He develops and grows and is in every way, a gentleman. However, with his past treatment and the ignorance of the less well informed, never far behind him, his new life is short lived, and at the end of the film, knowing he can't lay down to sleep as he will suffocate, he does just that. A combination of tremendous acting, anger, disbelief, sympathy, fear and genuine sadness. An absolute winner, and thought provoking.......
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, aching but uplifting...glorious, 6 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Having been privileged to see the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, it was somewhat strange to see the film. Although not usually one for tears, I found it impossible to stop...I felt everthing ranging from anger, frustration and unhappiness to feeling inspired and fulfilled. No longer will I judge anybody simply from what they look like, and no longer will I moan about my bum looking big in a pair of jeans. This film, glorious in its portrayl of human society (both cruel and kind) should be shown to Nazis and racists and anybody else with prejudice. An excellent performance comes from Anthony Hopkins as the kindly doctor breaking the constraints and conventions of Victorian life. But a breathtaking performance is given by John Hurt, providing us with a gentle, understated portrayl of John Merrick. However, don't be fooled - understated it may be, but this is purposely done - and all the better for it. The impact is nothing short of heart-wrenching and I defy you not to sob your eyes out. If ever a film made you think and take stock of your life - well this is it. A classic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Runtime?, 25 Sep 2012
By 
D. High (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Why does the newer Special Edition DVD have a film runtime of 118 minutes, when the film & the original DVD run for 124 minutes? What has been cut out in the newer version ?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 38 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Elephant Man (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray]
£16.10
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews