Drama “ The Person - an elephant “. About freaks and people?Drama “ The Person - an elephant “ - it is the sixth independent movie of David Lynch as the director if to consider by quantity, but considering that the first four pictures were short, then, in fact, it is its second full feature film after the tape “ The Head - the " eraser; (Eraserhead, 1977).
I if to consider IMDb rating as a starting point, the most considerable movie of Lynch for today borrowing in the " list; 250 Best movies “ the honourable 118th place (at the time of writing of this article).
Also in this list, however, already in the third hundred, there is other masterpiece of the master - “ Malkholland Drive “ (Mulholland Dr., 2001). And it is possible if “ Px Twin “ could participate in a rating, these remarkable series would take a high position too.
Lynch`s picture is based on real events, and all key characters, in particular, John Merrik (The person - an elephant) and the doctor Frederik Trivs, existed actually. As the base for the movie, actually, memoirs of doctor Trivs in which it described the relations with John Merrik also served. However, for the unknown reason, in these records the doctor changed a name of the patient, naming him John whereas real Joseph Cari Merrik was born in England in 1862 and died in Royal hospital of London at the age of 27 years. At the time of death doctors could not diagnose his disease. Only much later, already at the beginning of 21 - go centuries, by means of the analysis of DNA, scientists found out that “ the person - an elephant “ suffered from two rare and incurable diseases at once - a neurofibromatosis and Proteus`s syndrome.
The plot of the movie tells about the last months Merrik`s lives, since that moment as the Victorian surgeon Frederik Trivs (Anthony Hopkins) finds it on one of the London spontaneous shows of freaks. Having persuaded for the immodest sum him “ owner “ Baytsa, Trivs performs inspection of the person - an elephant and even organizes a seminar for the colleagues. Display takes place for the doctor successfully, he sends unfortunate experimental back, but is soon forced to take away it again after Bayts in drunk waste cruelly beats the “ property “. The doctor manages to attach Merrik with the consent of the director of hospital (John Gilgud) in separate chamber. During communication with the patient Trivs to the surprise finds out that he not only is able to speak coherently, but also has primary education.
Merrik`s life in hospital, though strikingly differs from its existence on the street under cruel protection of Bayts, still leaves much to be desired. Yes, it is surrounded with some care which it was, obviously, deprived the most part of the conscious life. However there are always people, such as the night inspector of hospital which will try to earn from his painful appearance. And Merrik, despite obvious recognition in society, still remains for the majority of people around only “ freak “ freak, exhibit.
Visitors changed, now it is not servants, not lumpens, but wealthy and noble ladies and gentlemen, but whether the essence exchanged? These people do not point a finger at it because to them education and situation in society do not allow to act this way. But whether it is possible to believe in sincerity of their acts and words? Perhaps they were just bored by habitual entertainments, and acquaintance with “ The Person - an elephant “ - it is a new way to diversify leisure? Even doctor Trivs asks himself a question: “ Whether I made a good deed, having placed this unfortunate person from one cage, in another, gold, but too a dungeon? “
Lynch`s picture, despite a little unusual for the viewer 80 - x years it is black - a white format and rather monotonous style of the narration, had commercial success, and collecting by 5 times exceeded the budget. In 1981 the movie was noted eight nominations on Oscar, but as a result the tape did not receive anything. Other history also is connected with this fact. The matter is that in those days the regular award for a make-up was not, and only the special Oscar for achievements in this area was handed. When nominees were declared and in the list of special awards it did not appear “ The Person - an elephant “ several members of film academy wrote the letter of a protest, demanding to hand an award to Lynch`s movie. The award was not given, unfortunately, but, nevertheless, emergence of the Annual nomination for the best make-up became result of this precedent.
One of producers of a picture of the young director became then already well-known Brooks Swept. He insisted on that the director`s chair was occupied by David Lynch, and also got permission to shootings of a picture in is black - white option. Brooks from credits cleaned the name intentionally that the potential viewer did not associate a tragic parable of Lynch with satirical movies of the comedy dramatist.
To main characters of the film, Anthony Hopkins and John Hyort, participation in a picture was given in different degree. Hyort, certainly, was an affected party because his face was hidden under several kilograms of a make-up, only drawing which took seven hours daily. He somehow joked that authors of the movie made everything to avert it from an actor`s profession.
And here Anthony Hopkins in spite of the fact that itself considered the role of the empathizing doctor Trivs “ boring and monotonous “ it has to be grateful to destiny. Because as a result this image became a peculiar springboard for its undoubted actor`s success in the well-known thriller “ Silence of lambs “. At least, the director Johnathan Demmi hinted that he took Hopkins for a role of the psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, having looked “ The Person - an elephant “.