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The Elephant Man - Special Edition [DVD]
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Brutalised in childhood for his appalling deformities, 'Elephant Man' John Merrick (John Hurt) has been treated as a human freak ever since. When he is discovered by London doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), Merrick is finally treated with the kindness and intelligence he deserves. Unfortunately, by awakening his true character the problems continue, for he can never lead a 'normal' life. David Lynch's atmospheric, fact-based film was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Director and Best Actor.
You could only see his eyes behind the layers of makeup in The Elephant Man but those expressive orbs earned John Hurt a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of John Merrick, the grotesquely deformed Victorian 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 and offers him an existence with dignity. Anne Bancroft co-stars 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 co-writer of this sombre 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 ceremony empty-handed, its dramatic power and handsome yet haunting imagery remain just as strong today. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
On the DVD: Being black and white, it's easier to judge the digital transfer in terms of shade and thankfully this print looks just fine. There's a little confusion over the sound, however, which is advertised as Stereo on the box but says Mono on the Audio Menu. It certainly seems to be a basic Dolby stereo but it's a shame Lynch hasn't given it the personal touch since he's obsessed with mixing his films' sound himself. From the nicely thought-out animated menus there's a gallery of 20 photos and a misguiding, dramatic theatrical trailer. The only other extra is a 64-page book of which only 10 pages relate directly to the film (the rest re-tell Lynch's career and the real Elephant Man's life). --Paul Tonks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This blu ray is a revelation - the glistening, steamy Victorian world is even more vivid. This is a must have for all movie lovers, and the packaging is great too.
I first saw this film as a floppy-haired schoolboy in the 1980's. It knocked me sideways back then, and on each subsequent viewing it has never failed to coax the tears from my eyes.
Briefly - It is the true tale of John Merrick, an astonishingly deformed man who was admitted to the Royal London Hospital in the 1880's. To say that he faced hardships is an understatement. He was fully exposed to the ugly prejudices of Victorian society. I will not reveal too many details, but his harsh treatment is presented here unflinchingly. If you have not seen this movie, experience it now and prepare for a heart-rending two hours that can be cherished again and again.
If you HAVE seen this movie, this special edition DVD is still well worth a purchase. It features a highly insightful documentary that presents life in Victorian London; the accuracy of the movie with regards to Merrick's life, and the book upon which this movie was based. Also featured on the disc is a great interview with John Hurt (who gave the performance of his career as Merrick). Finally, and most tantalisingly, there is a conversation with the enigmatic director David Lynch. Lynch discusses the development of the film in intricate detail, and his words are invaluable. It is rare that we get to see Lynch interviewed at all, being the elusive creature that he is...which makes this extra feature all the more vital!
So...a great DVD package all said and done. An absolutely stunning movie accompanied by wonderful extras. I bought this DVD when it was previously released in a basic format, but still I had no hesitation in snapping up this special edition. Some things are just too special to miss...
Older films can often be hit or miss on blu-ray, some like the omega man or close encounters can look fine others like evil dead 2 are not so good. Fortunately this one fits in the latter quality with hi-def bringing out all the details in the picture supurbly, ok some of the print grain also shows as this is the sharpest picture quality I have seen with the movie, the sound mix and general audio quality are also excellent. The extras on the disc, as with any lynch disc, are limited to interviews and on this a short documentary on the real elephant man but this is certainly better than previous bare bones releases and the packaging and book that come with it are excellent. I got this as an xmas present and was highly impressed and while it's certainly dearer than the standard dvd blu ray owning lynch fans and apreciaters of quality cinema could do a lot worse than treating themselves to this disc.
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THE ELEPHANT MAN
This week i was fortunate enough to see two of the brilliant works of David Lynch "The Straight Story" & "The Elephant Man"........ Read more