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The Elephant Man (1982) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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The Elephant Man -- A filmed version of the popular stage play about a hideously deformed 19th-century London man and how he managed to triumph over his disease.


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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Steve Lawson (adaptation)
Bernard Pomerance (play)
View company contact information for The Elephant Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 January 1982 (USA) See more »
A taped version of the stage play about a hideously deformed 19th-century London man and how he managed to triumph over his disease. | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
mirror, mirror who is society's ugliest of all? See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order)

Philip Anglim ... John Merrick

Kevin Conway ... Frederick Treves
Penny Fuller ... Mrs. Kendal
Richard Clarke ... Carr Gomm

Glenn Close ... Princess Alexandra
Jarlath Conroy ... Will

Rex Everhart ... Snork

Christopher Hewett ... Ross
William Hutt ... Bishop How
Charlotte Moore ... Miss Sandwich
Josephine Nichols ... Countess
David Rounds ... Lord John
Veronica Castang ... Pinhead
William Duff-Griffin ... Conductor

Joe Grifasi ... Pinhead Manager
Myvanwy Jenn ... Pinhead
John Neville-Andrews ... London Policeman
Jean-Pierre Stewart ... Belgian Policeman

Directed by
Jack Hofsiss 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Steve Lawson  adaptation
Bernard Pomerance  play

Produced by
Richmond Crinkley .... producer
Dorothy J. Globus .... associate producer
Martin Starger .... executive producer
Film Editing by
Max K. Curtis 
Gary Princz 
Production Design by
David Jenkins 
Set Decoration by
Fred Kolouch 
Costume Design by
Julie Weiss 
Makeup Department
Pat Burrows .... makeup artist
Jennifer Bower O'Halloran .... hair department head (as Jennifer Bower)
Art Department
David Ferguson .... assistant production designer
Sound Department
Doug Drew .... sound
Emil Neroda .... sound post-production
Camera and Electrical Department
Danny Franks .... lighting designer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
David Griffin .... assistant costume designer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"ABC Theatre of the Month: The Elephant Man" - USA (series title)
See more »
90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Philip Anglim was nominated for the 1979 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for "The Elephant Man" and recreated his role in this production.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Elephant Man (1980)See more »


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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
mirror, mirror who is society's ugliest of all?, 24 December 2003
Author: blueulcercult from New Hampshire

This taped adaption of Bernard Pomerance's Broadway play stays quite faithful in its translation to that usually treacherous paramour called the small screen (although it unfortunately loses some dialogue and scenes to fill the time slot). The themes of illusion versus reality, the hypocrisy of Victorian society (or ours?), self promotion veiled as charity, science versus faith are still here (if only in expurgated form) for the viewer to ruminate about. While little sentiment (and certainly no mawkish sentiment)presents itself to us it is all the more powerful for it's absence. While we certainly pity the hapless Merrick's plight we begin to pity his benefactor Treeves' plight even more.

Lynch's superb film version (unrelated to the Broadway play)focuses our attentions on Merrick's tortures to personal transformation. Pomerance's version focuses our attentions on Treeve's transformation from smug self assuredness to personally tortured. Treeves becomes as much a victim of the repressive and rigid social standards of his society as is Merrick. Although what's worse for Treeves is that he is one of those society's elite members with no one he can truly turn to for solace.

Throughout the teleplay ideas return and act like mirrors that reflect earlier scenes. But like a mirror in a funhouse they distort and subvert the original in the most startling of ways. The fact that Merrick's deformity is only sustained(although we see graphic slides of how he actually looked)by the viewer's act of imagination is never a pretentious theatrical gimmick but works as a kind of litmus test to show the difference between what we see (audience) and they see (characters).

The acting throughout is stellar. An interesting tid-bit: Christopher Hewett (a.k.a. Mr. Belvedere) plays Merrick's manager Ross, who despite his harsh treatment of Merrick, sees upper crust society's visits to Merrick as the polished up sideshow it is. Only this time it's free of charge. Penny Fuller, in a crucial supporting role as Madge Kendall, also shines as the initially superficial social butterfly who eventually becomes the only one to truly see Merrick as the complex adult he truly is. A touching and haunting television play that will pierce your heart and provoke your mind.

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