Best: The Elephant Man (1980)
“I am not an animal!” John Hurt disappears under the skin of the so-called ‘Elephant Man’, real name is John Merrick. Suffering under the weight of debilitating disfigurements, Merrick can’t even sleep lying down properly for fear of suffocating himself.
Shot in sumptuous black and white, the fact that Hurt can emote – and how! – through all that is a testament to the actor himself.
What has always amazed me about life and perfection is the irony of it all? Here we have the millennium. We have reached the moon and held hands with constellations in the skies with spacecraft. Danced with angels. We have seen the fall of the Berlin wall. We have felt aircraft going through our bodies and souls when the Twin Towers were ruptured with such a primal blasphemy. We never lived where the culture of nihilistic rituals fed men to lions. A carnivalesque horror is the chic ,soup du jour. Oh how the heart of the audience. whom loved to watch gladiators, and beheadings still lurks, but not so terribly far away yet deep in the heart of darkness of those you might least expect. The disfigured psyche. Perfect skin and dandy looks had the sweet surface of Oscar Wilde’s “Picture of Dorian Grey’s” character but beneath was the most lurid disfigurements which were his soul thru sadistic indifference which led him deeper and deeper into savagery. The irony of the merchant of souls.
Meanwhile the truly magnificent character John Merrick aka The Elephant man’s heart was composing hymns and creating fantastical architecture of the likes of a Florentine “Il Duomo” basilica or a mind mesmerizing kaleidoscopic of designs. The humble prince. How precious is the interior world. Is it filled with wondrous-ness of illuminations. Chopin and Immanuel Kant. The art of the Sublime. Meanwhile Dickensian ghoulish money grubbers are selling tickets to parade the misfortunes of remarkable man fighting for each breath and perchance to dream one night sublime. Mocking and parading the Elephant man and selling tickets the expense of wholesale loss of character. The sheer defilement of innocence. Meanwhile no one stepped up to be a Mensch, a human being?
“I am not an animal” says the elephant man! Who is the animal so base and treading in gelatinous slime of sloth? How ironic is the farce. The picture of Dorian Grey melts into toxic unmentionable shame. He is the sly creature, the wolf and fox in the henhouse. Yet who can truly judge another? The mind defiled can be the heart and mind supreme with one wave of an angels hand.
I have always loved the man whom is beautiful inside, the architect of beauty within.