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Elephant Man, The - 20/12/2005 10:50:54 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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Post #: 1
- 14/6/2006 12:48:50 PM   
ukedge87

 

Posts: 502
Joined: 14/10/2005
I'm a huge fan of David Lynch, and this film does not disapoint. It deals with the very human story of Joseph or John Merrick (John Hurt), famously known as 'The Elephant', although after seeing this film I find it tough to refer to him as this, with its connotation of bestial imagery.

The film is a basic biopic of Merrick's life in a freak show where he is abused and ridiculed, and his entry into London Hospital where he is cared for by Dr. Fredderick Treves (Antohny Hopkins). However, he is still on display as the night guard brings people wanting to see the freak to view him, and the upper classes visit him out of curiosity and fashion.

It is a gut wrenching film, as you see Merrick's human qualitys submerged into the human desire to spectacle, and superficality. Hurt's performance is breath-taking, and as the character grows, so does the audience's care for him, although any glimmer of hope is clearly pushed back into reality by the fine 'no nonsense' based upon Treeves own works. It does not have a sunset finish.

On the downside, it does buckle to some cliches, feeling the need to include a short kidnap subplot (I'm not sure how much truth is in that), and some characters, such as the nurse or Queen Victoria's support feel slightly cliche'd.

This film teaches the viewer so much about acceptance of others, and the way we behave making it an important film to watch more than a chance to see a reendention of the deformed man. I would recomend that everyone watch this, as it does shift perspectives in one's life and challenges our everyday behavious.

Rating 9/10

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Post #: 2
- 14/6/2006 12:48:54 PM   
ukedge87

 

Posts: 502
Joined: 14/10/2005
I'm a huge fan of David Lynch, and this film does not disapoint. It deals with the very human story of Joseph or John Merrick (John Hurt), famously known as 'The Elephant', although after seeing this film I find it tough to refer to him as this, with its connotation of bestial imagery.

The film is a basic biopic of Merrick's life in a freak show where he is abused and ridiculed, and his entry into London Hospital where he is cared for by Dr. Fredderick Treves (Antohny Hopkins). However, he is still on display as the night guard brings people wanting to see the freak to view him, and the upper classes visit him out of curiosity and fashion.

It is a gut wrenching film, as you see Merrick's human qualitys submerged into the human desire to spectacle, and superficality. Hurt's performance is breath-taking, and as the character grows, so does the audience's care for him, although any glimmer of hope is clearly pushed back into reality by the fine 'no nonsense' based upon Treeves own works. It does not have a sunset finish.

On the downside, it does buckle to some cliches, feeling the need to include a short kidnap subplot (I'm not sure how much truth is in that), and some characters, such as the nurse or Queen Victoria's support feel slightly cliche'd.

This film teaches the viewer so much about acceptance of others, and the way we behave making it an important film to watch more than a chance to see a reendention of the deformed man. I would recomend that everyone watch this, as it does shift perspectives in one's life and challenges our everyday behavious.

Rating 9/10

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 3
Very touching - 2/7/2006 10:41:52 PM   
OMGWTFBBQ

 

Posts: 69
Joined: 4/6/2006
I sat down and thought i was going to hate this but i was pleasantly suprised with what i saw. I thought it was a great film with some powerful perfomances from Hurt and Hopkins plus excellent direction from Lynch. The film is very sad and it tells us about the elephant man who was born with a horrible disease which deformed his body and the people who tried to help him. By no means is the film sad and preachy all the way through because it has moments of happiness and compassion. Watchable for everyone this is truly a great film.

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Post #: 4
- 14/8/2006 3:31:23 PM   
huny_monster

 

Posts: 75
Joined: 14/5/2006
From: Falkirk, Scotland
I don't cry through alot of films, but god!!! This is so sad. It's so hard to hold in your tears. He is deformed, but he still remains kind and caring for others around him. Its terrible that no-one will accept him except from a few people. One of the best films ever made.

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Post #: 5
- 7/7/2007 11:29:49 AM   
willchadwick

 

Posts: 311
Joined: 13/3/2007
This is David Lynch's most human films to date, an amazing piece of cinema, that does tug atthe heart strings and opens the flood gates in the final scene when John Merrick lays down on his bed as it is his time to die.

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Post #: 6
- 21/10/2007 4:50:44 PM   
bobbyperu

 

Posts: 498
Joined: 21/10/2007
heartbreaking - one of lynch's finest

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Post #: 7
- 21/10/2007 4:50:45 PM   
bobbyperu

 

Posts: 498
Joined: 21/10/2007
heartbreaking - one of lynch's finest

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Post #: 8
Beautiful Inside - 25/9/2008 5:12:43 PM   
Hamsterwalt

 

Posts: 132
Joined: 10/9/2008
Cuts Deep

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Post #: 9
Beautiful Inside - 25/9/2008 5:27:07 PM   
Hamsterwalt

 

Posts: 132
Joined: 10/9/2008
Cuts Deep

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Post #: 10
ssshhhank you... - 12/5/2009 9:21:03 AM   
MyPOV

 

Posts: 35
Joined: 11/9/2006
...I've never had a pen before. This is a great film, and I particularly liked the Victorian grimness of it all. Hopkins gives a great performance and Gielgud is also ace. Its sounds awful, but I do find the E Man's voice a little laughable.

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Post #: 11
I am very pleased to meet you too, John Merrick! :) - 20/7/2012 3:07:13 PM   
SebMModerns

 

Posts: 30
Joined: 28/6/2012
This film is definitely a film that I will want to re-watch! I borrowed the DVD from my Aunt and from watching the new Aardman's film with the pirates, I was told that there was a joke about The Elephant Man, this film "The Elephant Man" is a serious film about a real life man who had a deformed face and body and the film shows how the outcast John Merrick himself is introduced into society as a proper human being instead of a freak. The film has no flaws, but it will drag children out of the room very easily. I was told that there was a film called "Penelope" about a girl with a snout for a nose which delivers the same message about "It's not what's on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts!" but from only watching the trailer of it and not seeing the movie, and for it being an "Either Love Or Hate!" movie, I have nothing much to say about it. My Rating For "The Elephant Man" Is A 4/5! :)

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Post #: 12
A great movie - 18/3/2013 11:43:57 AM   
Mr Gittes

 

Posts: 574
Joined: 3/2/2013
A heartbreaking story given extra weight by powerful performances and gothic fairytale visuals from David Lynch, this is a true classic.

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Post #: 13
The Elephant Man - 21/5/2013 8:45:46 PM   
Biggus


Posts: 7639
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: Not Local
The ingredients which coalesced to form The Elephant Man weren’t exactly what you’d call conventional. Director David Lynch had just one feature film under his belt (the surreal and hallucinatory art-house debut Eraserhead) and producer Mel Brooks’ most arguably famous contribution to cinema at this point involved a group of cowboys breaking wind copiously around a campfire. Coupled with the fact that the film was set in Victorian London with a central character who was a hideously disfigured and repulsed all who encountered him, The Elephant Man hardly screamed “Box Office”. The subsequent success of the film can only be summed up in one word. A word not traditionally associated with Lynch: humanity.

Humanity from the film’s financial backers, no doubt initially skeptical at the project they would be investing in. Humanity from the hugely receptive audience who can be sadly all too fussy when it comes to black and white films in the modern era. But most of all the humanity expressed by lead actor John Hurt who carries the film on his contorted frame and still manages to elicit sympathy and compassion despite being hidden under layer upon layer of performance-limiting makeup.

With prosthetic makeup still in its infancy in the late 1970s, it was quite a gamble to successfully pull off something so elaborate. The first application subjected Hurt to approximately 12.5 hours in the makeup chair but thankfully the process lessened considerably as production progressed. Hurt relied very much on mime techniques to convey the character’s emotional state and when it came to speech, he chose to imbue John Merrick with a distinct upper class accent to compliment the voice and society to which Hurt believed the character always yearned to be part of. The performance is one of a perpetually wounded outcast, desperate for acceptance, longing to express himself and finally being given the chance whilst always attempting to retain his pride. We the audience also feel the fear experienced by the freak show punters in the film. Fear then gives way to pity, pity gives way to compassion and it’s all down to Hurt.

From the film’s opening scenes it is clear that we’re in Lynch territory. The ominous imagery which welcomes us sees Lynch mythologising the central character but this soon gives ways to his most accessible film but considering the film deals with sideshow freaks and the underbelly of late 19th century England, the remainder of the film requires no obvious Lynch archetypes to identify its director. The recreation of Victorian London is both startling and haunting. Lynch insisted on shooting in black and white otherwise he threatened to jump ship and as a result the film is unthinkable in any other format. Through this recreation we see the dawn of mechanised production and the prospect of leaving humanity behind, devices which serve to give Merrick’s plight a sense of relevance and urgency.

There is immaculate casting throughout the film. Anthony Hopkins is as superb as ever as kindly doctor Frederick Treves who takes Merrick under his wing. The scene where he sees Merrick for the first time with his own eyes warrants an Oscar on its own. John Gieldgud provides authority and humour as Carr-Gomm, the governor of the hospital who is initially skeptical of Treves’ motives but ultimately is won over by his own compassion. Freddie Jones is suitably loathsome as Merrick’s ‘owner’ Bytes and delivers an unhinged and desperate performance as a drunk who takes his own insecurities out on his prized possession.

The film is renowned for leaving few dry eyes in the house and come the closing scene, following Merrick’s euphoric visit to the theatre, when Barber’s Adagio for Strings begins its mournful refrain, only a heart of stone can prevent tears from welling. Everything falls away. Gone is the pity felt following Merrick’s introduction. Gone is the pleading for his acceptance. Gone is the anger toward Bytes. The weight lifts, the screen darkens and all that remains is humanity.

_____________________________

"They offered me a hundred grand. You wanna know something? When I found out I'd get my hands on you, I said I'd do it for nothing."

http://fletchsworldoffilm.wordpress.com/

(in reply to Mr Gittes)
Post #: 14
RE: The Elephant Man - 22/5/2013 1:50:44 PM   
Vitamin F

 

Posts: 613
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Norn Ireland, so it is

quote:

ORIGINAL: Biggus

There is immaculate casting throughout the film. Anthony Hopkins is as superb as ever as kindly doctor Frederick Treves who takes Merrick under his wing. The scene where he sees Merrick for the first time with his own eyes warrants an Oscar on its own. John Gieldgud provides authority and humour as Carr-Gomm, the governor of the hospital who is initially skeptical of Treves’ motives but ultimately is won over by his own compassion. Freddie Jones is suitably loathsome as Merrick’s ‘owner’ Bytes and delivers an unhinged and desperate performance as a drunk who takes his own insecurities out on his prized possession.



A magnificent film, and this scene is probably still the most moving thing I've ever watched. I'm not exactly prone to welling up over films but this comes really close to breaking me any time I see it, it's handled so perfectly by director and both actors.

(in reply to Biggus)
Post #: 15
RE: The Elephant Man - 23/5/2013 4:55:50 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8608
Joined: 13/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Biggus

The ingredients which coalesced to form The Elephant Man weren’t exactly what you’d call conventional. Director David Lynch had just one feature film under his belt (the surreal and hallucinatory art-house debut Eraserhead) and producer Mel Brooks’ most arguably famous contribution to cinema at this point involved a group of cowboys breaking wind copiously around a campfire. Coupled with the fact that the film was set in Victorian London with a central character who was a hideously disfigured and repulsed all who encountered him, The Elephant Man hardly screamed “Box Office”. The subsequent success of the film can only be summed up in one word. A word not traditionally associated with Lynch: humanity.

Humanity from the film’s financial backers, no doubt initially skeptical at the project they would be investing in. Humanity from the hugely receptive audience who can be sadly all too fussy when it comes to black and white films in the modern era. But most of all the humanity expressed by lead actor John Hurt who carries the film on his contorted frame and still manages to elicit sympathy and compassion despite being hidden under layer upon layer of performance-limiting makeup.

With prosthetic makeup still in its infancy in the late 1970s, it was quite a gamble to successfully pull off something so elaborate. The first application subjected Hurt to approximately 12.5 hours in the makeup chair but thankfully the process lessened considerably as production progressed. Hurt relied very much on mime techniques to convey the character’s emotional state and when it came to speech, he chose to imbue John Merrick with a distinct upper class accent to compliment the voice and society to which Hurt believed the character always yearned to be part of. The performance is one of a perpetually wounded outcast, desperate for acceptance, longing to express himself and finally being given the chance whilst always attempting to retain his pride. We the audience also feel the fear experienced by the freak show punters in the film. Fear then gives way to pity, pity gives way to compassion and it’s all down to Hurt.

From the film’s opening scenes it is clear that we’re in Lynch territory. The ominous imagery which welcomes us sees Lynch mythologising the central character but this soon gives ways to his most accessible film but considering the film deals with sideshow freaks and the underbelly of late 19th century England, the remainder of the film requires no obvious Lynch archetypes to identify its director. The recreation of Victorian London is both startling and haunting. Lynch insisted on shooting in black and white otherwise he threatened to jump ship and as a result the film is unthinkable in any other format. Through this recreation we see the dawn of mechanised production and the prospect of leaving humanity behind, devices which serve to give Merrick’s plight a sense of relevance and urgency.

There is immaculate casting throughout the film. Anthony Hopkins is as superb as ever as kindly doctor Frederick Treves who takes Merrick under his wing. The scene where he sees Merrick for the first time with his own eyes warrants an Oscar on its own. John Gieldgud provides authority and humour as Carr-Gomm, the governor of the hospital who is initially skeptical of Treves’ motives but ultimately is won over by his own compassion. Freddie Jones is suitably loathsome as Merrick’s ‘owner’ Bytes and delivers an unhinged and desperate performance as a drunk who takes his own insecurities out on his prized possession.

The film is renowned for leaving few dry eyes in the house and come the closing scene, following Merrick’s euphoric visit to the theatre, when Barber’s Adagio for Strings begins its mournful refrain, only a heart of stone can prevent tears from welling. Everything falls away. Gone is the pity felt following Merrick’s introduction. Gone is the pleading for his acceptance. Gone is the anger toward Bytes. The weight lifts, the screen darkens and all that remains is humanity.

Never knew he produced it, but am just going over to my shelf now to check the DVD and...can't see Smith's name on it? Unless you mean that Lynch produced BS now that would be even more weirder

Yes great film, have to go along with what everyone else has said. There is a screening of this coming up in Brighton and hopefully will be around to see it as have not seen it on the big screen before.

(in reply to Biggus)
Post #: 16
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