A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
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John Merrick (whose real name was Joseph, as this is based on a true story) is an intelligent and friendly man, but he is hated by his Victorian-era English society because he is severely deformed. Once he is discovered by a doctor, however, he is saved from his life in a freak show and he is treated like the human being that he really is. Written by
The writers based this film on the memoirs of Dr. Frederick Treves as well as other true accounts, but avoided the play by Bernard Pomerance. The true name of the Elephant Man was not John Merrick as most believe, but Joseph Carey Merrick. Merrick was born in Leicester, England on August 5, 1862, and died in the Royal London Hospital on April 11, 1890, at the age of 27. When Dr. Treves wrote his memoir, he referred to him as John. His handwritten manuscript reveals that Treves knew that Merrick's name was Joseph, and deliberately crossed out Joseph and replaced it with John. Merrick's surviving correspondence shows he signed his name as Joseph, and contemporary newspaper articles about his case refer to him by his correct name. Why Treves changed his name to John is unknown, but this movie is partly responsible for that continuing misconception. See more »
When Frederick Treves is bring up the oatmeal to John Merrick and Carr Gomm startles him he puts the oatmeal behind his back as to hide it from him. In the next shot he has the oatmeal in front of him and puts it behind his back again while he is walking towards Carr Gomm. See more »
Get rid of them! I don't want to see them!
Darling, don't be difficult! Let's take our sweet lovely children on an outing.
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Closing disclaimer: This has been based upon the true life story of John Merrick, known as The Elephant Man, and not upon the Broadway play of the same title or any other fictional account. See more »
'I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!'
John Merrick (as portrayed in The Elephant Man)
'If Your Life Sucks, Watch this Movie' 'The Elephant Man,' directed by David Lynch and written by Sir Frederick Treves and Ashley Montagu, is a macabre story about Dr. Frederick 'Freddie' Treves (Anthony Hopkins) who shows compassion for a man with Proteous Syndrome John Merrick (John Hurt). The story is based on the true account of John Merrick's life as a side show freak in the nineteenth century. The viewer is taken on a journey of a man trying to regain some self-respect and the doctor who is helping him to do so.
If you are like me and in a bad space in your life, watch this movie. Although a depressing film there are brief moments of hope with the interaction of Merrick and Treves. But, mostly it is scene after scene of abuse, torture and the dark side of human nature. This is not a movie that a viewer is going to want to watch time and time again. Watching this movie is like being drug through a crime scene, most don't want to look but most can't help themselves. After viewing the film, I felt a lot better about my life, and right now I am unemployed, fat and alone.
That being said, the movie taken as a work of art was excellent. The black and white cinematography really added to the Victorian feel of the nineteenth century. The character development was superb and the acting of Hopkins and Hurt phenomenal. The makeup and costuming was dark as the film itself and the direction by Lynch, using his signature 'dream' scenes only added to the dimness of the entire film. I highly recommend this film once because it is beautifully directed and a great story. But, unless you are a masochist, once is enough.
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