The Elephant ManThe Elephant Man
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The Elephant Man

A surgeon rescues a disfigured man and discovers his kindness and intelligence.


Why watch this film?

Following the success in the underground circuit of his first film, the unusual and nightmarish "Eraserhead," David Lynch fell into Hollywood's radar where he got the chance to direct his second feature. Although much more traditional in narrative structure, "The Elephant Man" maintains Lynch's fascination with finding beauty in what others would say is horrifying or grotesque, among images of coldness and even decadence. The script, adapted by Lynch, Christopher De Vore and Eric Bergren, is inspired by two books (from 1923 and 1971) about the true story of Joseph Merrick (called John in the film), who suffered the most severe case of Proteus Syndrome recorded to date, interpreted with great sensitivity by the great John Hurt ("Alien: The Eighth Passenger"), which earned him an Oscar nomination for his performance. The film is also responsible for creating the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the Oscars, as the lack of recognition for the film's achievements in this area caused such indignation, that the Academy began to award the category the following year.



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Plot summary

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of kindness, intelligence and sophistication.

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