- Actors: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones
- Directors: David Lynch
- Writers: David Lynch, Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren
- Producers: Jonathan Sanger
- Format: PAL
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Studiocanal
- DVD Release Date: 4 Aug. 2008
- Run Time: 118 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 164 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0019GJ4BU
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,287 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Elephant Man
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Import PAL./Region 2 DVD. Out-of-print in the US. David Lynch brings his own dreamlike style to the heartbreaking yet somehow uplifting story of John Merrick (John Hurt), a hideously deformed individual dubbed the Elephant Man during his years in a circus freak show in Victorian England. After suffering for years at the hands of his circus "master," the eloquent, soft spoken Merrick is "rescued" by compassionate surgeon Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), who allows him to live at the hospital where he works. Merrick becomes a social celebrity when he meets a popular stage performer (Anne Bancroft), but he must continue to fight for his dignity with those who still choose to view him as a freak. Meanwhile, Treves begins to question whether his supposed act of humanity has been just as exploitative as Merrick's former caretaker's. Lynch's follow-up to his 1978 cult classic ERASERHEAD is a striking blend of art and entertainment, which earned the film eight Academy Award nominations in 1980. Freddie Francis's breathtaking black-and-white cinematography combines with John Morris's score to re-create Victorian England with a deeply haunting beauty. It is the compassionate performances of Hurt and Hopkins that lift THE ELEPHANT MAN to a more emotional level, however, bringing an inspired sadness to Lynch's striking vision.
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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.
But the print is very good and what struck me most is the soundtrack it really stands out on bluray. Picture is grate with light and shade revealing hidden things that I hadn't ever noticed before
However, the film never tries too hard to do this; to teach the audience about understanding and acceptance, for that would be hypocritical in itself. You are shown through excellent editing, scripting and acting from John Hurt that David Lynch understands the human psyche regarding the strange abnormalities of life and how it affects everyone else around. There are many ways this is done, but none more obviously and powerfully than the fated conclusion. The end of the story could be seen as somewhat of a downer, as you're reminded of the frailty of The Elephant Man and all that surrounds him, but this is crucial because it demonstrates not only the pride of this brave man, even to his last breath, but also that life within such pride comes to an inevitable end, and that one shouldn't worry too much about it. I think it's making the point that if we are to go out then we should go out with a bang and with a song in our hearts. And to me, that is not such a negative thing; to me, it's pride at its most prevailing and powerful.
David Lynch is a fantastic director, as he is able to capture various different themes and voices by utilizing light, sound, angles, and pacing. This means that we are not only offered a tale of pride and loving support overcoming adversity, but also a fine example of film-making. The black and white is entirely befitting and does not strain the eyes or feel forced -- not once did I feel disconnected from the universe or that something was added for shock value or needless artistic merit. The settings and backdrops were full of details and, at times, over-the-top beauty and grime. This helped the audience understand the contrasts of the supportive staff at the hospital and the manipulative group of slackers at the taverns and the circus's. But again, Lynch never forces anything down your throat. The morality of it is certainly not left up to your own self, but John Hurt's acting as John Merrick shows how someone belittled. hurt and totally disfigured and destined for death can still love, still show understanding, and still show some class. That is incredibly inspiring.
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