The Score: 10 out of 10
David Lynch first learned and employed several innovative film techniques during the production of Eraserhead (1977) that he would later master in his second feature film The Elephant Man (1980). David Lynch took Hollywood by storm on the release of this film, receiving some of the strongest critical acclaim of his career and enjoying more success at the box office than he would with any of his other films. The Elephant Man is widely considered Lynch's most accessible film for mainstream audiences, and is considered a good starting point for most viewers interested in his work.
|Freddie Jones as the Despicable Hustler Who Uses Merrick as a Freak Show Spectacle|
|Anthony Hopkins's Subtle and Beautifully Nuanced Performance as the Compassionate Dr. Treves|
Contrasts Sharply with His Later Unforgettably Over-the-Top Role as the Malevolent Dr. Lecter
FILMING A TRUE STORY
When Not Performing in Freak Shows, Merrick Covers His Face in a Burlap Sack
to Avoid Scaring Bystanders and Unintentionally Provoking Shrieks of Horror
|"Audiences don't want disfigurement, they want disaster pictures!"|
–Fake Quote from a Late 70's Studio Executive
The Elephant Man Revealed
|"This isn't nearly as funny as Blazing Saddles!"|
–A Potentially Incensed Audience Member
|John Merrick Presented at a Conference of Medical Doctors|
Visually Suggesting a More "Refined" Freak Show
THE ELEPHANT MAN
|Dr. Treves Finds Merrick at a Carnival Freak Show|
Many Viewers Assume The Elephant Man was Made in the 40's
Dr. Treves Views John Merrick for the First Time
|John Hurt Winning the BAFTA (British Oscar) for Best Actor in the Role of John Merrick|
|We Can Assume Sir John Gielgud is Glad Not to Act Under Several Inches of Make-Up Effects|
|Anne Bancroft Plays an Egalitarian Actress Who Visits Merrick and Shows Him Rare Compassion|
|A Dickensian Orphan Helped Look After Merrick Before Dr. Treves|
Begins to Intervene in Merrick's Treatment and Care
The Elephant Man (1980) is available on Netflix Streaming Video, DVD, and is included in David Lynch's Lime Green Set. The UK released the film on Blu-Ray, which is exceptionally beautiful and is the source of most of this article's high definition images. Even if you have seen the movie in the past and you did not respond well to it on your first viewing, then The Elephant Man is well worth watching again when you are in the mood for a somber classic.
The Elephant Man (1980) Trailer
Dune (1984) Theatrical Trailer
Dune (1984) is available with a near-pristine high definition presentation on Blu-Ray and although a version of this movie can be found on Netflix Instant Watching, at this time the video transfer is horrible, presented in an unacceptable 1.33:1 aspect ratio instead of the film's native 2.35:1. Pan and Scan is a relic of VHS transfers and is completely unacceptable for a David Lynch film. Do NOT watch Dune via Netflix Streaming Video until they fix this error. The extended edition of the film is only available on a standard definition DVD, but is still beautifully rendered and well worth watching for all the reasons we will explain in next week's article.
Dune is undeniably stunning visually, and the Blu-Ray finally does proper justice to one of the most lush productions in Hollywood history. For whatever faults you could attribute to the film, Dune remains an amazing accomplishment and next week we will make the case for its promotion from cult to mainstream hit.
Dune (1984) Fan Edit Trailer
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