The Elephant Man


The Elephant Man Review

Understated and masterful in its use of costumes, makeup, and low-budget camerawork, David Lynch's portrait of John "The Elephant Man" Merrick stands as one of the best biographies on film. From his discovery by Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) in a carnival freakshow, to his rehabilitation in the hospital and acceptance into London society, to his ultimate demise by suffocating, John Hurt's vibrant portrayal of Merrick is an emotional tour de force that sheds much light on the man now best known for occupying Michael Jackson's mantel. Lynch may very well be the only director who could have done the subject justice, and despite a few forced scenes with Merrick meet-n-greeting various English socialites, the film stands as one of the highlights of his career.

The newly-released DVD offers up two documentaries in addition to the crystally-presented film. First is a short bit profiling the makeup effects designed by Christopher Tucker; second is a how-the-film-came-to-be short, which is actually quite a curious tale, involving a babysitter's screenwriting boyfriend and the oddball conflagration of David Lynch with Mel Brooks (whose company produced the movie). Curiously, little else is added about Merrick himself.

The Elephant Man

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th October 1980

Box Office Worldwide: $26M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Paramount

Production compaines: Brooksfilms

Reviews 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: as John Merrick, as Dr. Frederick Treves, as Mrs. Kendal, as Carr Gomm, as Mothershead, as Bytes, as Night Porter, as Dr. Fox, as Merrick's Mother, as Plumed Dwarf, Hannah Gordon as Mrs. Treves, Helen Ryan as Princess Alex, as Fox, as Bytes' Boy, Lesley Dunlop as Nora, Pat Gorman as Fairground Bobby, Claire Davenport as Fat Lady, Orla Pederson as Skeleton Man, Patsy Smart as Patsy Smart, as Lady Waddington, as Man In Pub