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Sherlock’s Classics: Film Review – The Elephant Man (1980)

Article image for Sherlock’s Classics: Film Review – The Elephant Man (1980)

Stars: ****1/2 

John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft and Freddie Jones star in this tragic true story of John Merrick, a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while working and living in degrading conditions as a side-show freak.

After being rescued by a Victorian surgeon is revealed behind the monstrous facade to be a person of high intelligence, compassion and extreme sensitivity.

Highly respectful of the subject matter, producer Mel Brooks went to unprecedented lengths to distance himself from the film by removing his name from any credits, due to his association with comedy, the only indication being is his Brooksfilms company title.

Brooks hired a then relatively unknown David Lynch to direct, and the result is a beautifully constructed and powerfully executed cinematic experience on every level, all told with great care and attention to production and costume design and period detail.

The stellar cast all shine in their respective roles in this extraordinary story, and a special mention must also go to the stunning black & white cinematography by the great Freddie Francis and spellbinding music score John Morris.

Nominated for eight Academy awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for John Hurt, Best Director for David Lynch, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Original Music Score ‘The Elephant Man’ is a poignant, atmospheric, sometimes shocking, surrealistic, sensitive and ultimately touching, haunting and emotionally charged experience!