The Elephant Man and Phantom of The Opera

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Former freak in a circus, disfigured physically is the elephant man the whole film revolves around this person who is rescued by Mr. Treves.

Wealthy surgeon rescues John Merrick from his abusive owner, looks after Merrick and embraces him as a friend.

Chairman of the hospital board, gives in to Treves after discovering that Merrick is not an “idiot”

Well-respected actor Mrs. Kendell finds favor in getting to know Merrick and treats him with dignity and respect.

It would take cold hearted for a person not to be affected by the movie The Elephant Man by David Lynch. Based on a true story of a deformed human trying to make himself fit into the normal, this film is a heart moving biography, which brings up many issues of how society treats people who are different and the equality differences we see in the film

Set in London 1884 a Victorian surgeon by the name of Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues for unknown reasons a disfigured (head twice the size of a normal human being, twisted spine and a useless right arm), mistreated carnival freak show, John Merrick (John Hurt). He uses John Merrick as a sideshow prop for a lecture concerning the London pathological society. After being returned to his abusive owner Bytes (Freddie Jones) Treves is called back to a seriously injured and beaten Merrick. Forcing Bytes to give up Merrick for further treatment at the London hospital, Merrick is transferred to the isolation ward where he is kept for recovery and observed further to his conditions

After discovering that not only John Merrick is able to speak, but is able to read and write and express emotions, Treves is able to convince Mr. Gomme (John Gielgud) that John Merrick requires care and observation. During his time at the hospital Merrick befriends Treves and his wife (Hannah Gordon) whom both grow a deep attachment to the new patient as well as famous actress Mrs. Kendell who grows a strong curiosity and also becomes attached to the feared John Merrick.

The Phantom


Madam Giry.


Raised up in a freak show knows nothing about Love and a normal life, haunts the Paris opera house. Falls in love with Christine.

From young the phantom taught her how to sing. She falls in love with her childhood friend and is torn between the two.

Rescues the phantom from the freak show, is respected by the phantom but lives in constant fear.

Christine’s childhood friend falls in love with her, and becomes a sworn enemy of the phantom.

In the other Phantom of the Opera written and directed by Andrew Lloyd Webber takes a somewhat different approach to the Elephant Man. Being raised up in a freak show just like the John Merrick, the phantom (Gerald Butler), as he is known as is abused by his owner and is then rescued by a young girl who takes pity on the disfigured boy and hides him in the catacombs of a famous Paris opera house.

The phantom now a confident strong disfigured man whom terrorizes the opera house falls in love with a young chorus girl Christine (Emily Rossum) who thinks of him as her music angel that her father sent from his death and who teaches her how to sing. When the theatre managers discover Christine’s unseen talent, her childhood friend Raoul (Patrick Wilson) re-kindles an old flame to which flares and re-starts a new relationship.

The phantom who is only paid any attention by her, feels betrayed and lost, starts to take matters into his own hands, which not only results in death and the further drifting away of Christine but the loss of the opera house and chaos. The situation is then resolved by Christine having to choose between the two men who both love her, and is loved by her, despite his horrible disfigurement.

The Elephant Man and Phantom of The Opera both deal with social injustices in society and how the directors and authors express this surely make both films a comparable and interesting. Both films in a way deal with love, while Phantom of the Opera (Phantom) deals with affectionate, passionate love and Elephant Man deals with the love of friends both films convey that without some sort of love, the life of a person in general is nothing but darkness and sorrow. Simply it is not worth living.

The Phantom of the Opera which was produced in 2004 targets an audience of a younger approach then the Elephant Man, because it contains much more modern conventions (Costumes, Colour, modern ideas) even though both films in context deal with horror elements, the Elephant Man which was produced in 1980 involves deeper issues concerning the industrial revolution and how the time differences between the two films affects peoples viewpoints.

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the phantom as musical approach to the film, which gave the characters more talent and emotions, which therefore made the audience in a way feel sympathetic and moved by the Phantoms plights and how he reacts towards them. Meanwhile we see that David Lynch had ideas deeper then just the first sight we see in the film which makes the audience think deeper in the textures and colours. e.g.

White among dark backgrounds and the film purposely filmed in black and white even though Colour was the film making preferable.

Despite the films being in colour or not in colour, there is never black and white, but issues that the audience have to dig deeper and view further to uncover what’s the real meaning and context of the films and why were they produced and set in that particular way. The Elephant man despite its dullness of set a new interest in my mind that black and white films are not all that bad and they do in some way have a meaning.

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