Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Black & White - Movie Meme #2
As Wendy has already written about my first choice (Tod Browning's 'Freaks') I will have to go with my second choice - The Elephant Man (seems to be a theme emerging here!)
The Elephant Man is the beautifully told story of the fascinating and tragic character, Joseph Merrick. Suffering from severe deformities, Merrick is made to exhibit himself in a Victorian Freak Show before being 'rescued' by a London surgeon, Treves.
Anthony Hopkins plays the part of the surgeon to perfection as his relationship with Merrick develops and he comes to realise that beneath the disfigured exterior beats the heart of a gentile, articulate soul.
Although the dark, sordid environment of the Freak Show is in stark contrast to the bright, medical world in which Merrick finds himself, fundamentally, he is still a curiosity, exhibited now to an entirely different audience but still stripped of dignity.
As the story progresses, Merrick does find a heartwarming sense of belonging.
There are some incredibly touching moments. When Treves presents Merrick with a grooming set, we see the side of the man that cares about his appearance and desperately craves acceptance and love.
There are also some harrowing portrayals of the inhuman treatment Merrick had to endure.
I tend to forget that it is John Hurt who plays the part of The Elephant Man. The make up used to create the physical disfiguration is totally transforming and his voice is disguised by the impediments to his speech that further strengthen the illusion of the facial deformity. It is a totally convincing performance.
The fact that The Elephant Man was filmed in Black and White adds a beautifully atmospheric quality that is so easy to lose yourself in.
On a completely different note, I have a bit of a thing for Dexter Fletcher and this is yet another film where he has a minor role.