THE ELEPHANT MAN
Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren & David Lynch
"The Elephant Man, A Study in Human Dignity"
FADE IN: ABSTRACT DREAM
CLOSE-UP of a gold framed miniature portrait of JOHN MERRICK'S
MOTHER (tune or melody over her picture, heartbeat), which
DISSOLVES TO CLOSE-UP of real Mother smiling A shadow comes
over her face. CLOSE-UP of elephant ears, trunks, faces
Dark, heavy feet stomping elephant trumpet, rearing up.
Powerful hit and the Mother falls. Darker. Trunk slides over
Mother's face and breasts and stomach, leaving a moist trail.
MOTHERíS POV of elephant's mouth, eyes, skin. Mother's face
twists and freezes in a blurred snap roll.
BLACK again. Knock, knock sound. Curtain opens to horrified
CUT TO BLACK AND SILENCE
FADE IN TO steam shooting out of a huge old half-rusted
calliope. The music is very loud and raucous. Moving up and
back we see the black awning entrance to the freak tent,
where FREDERICK TREVES, Resident Surgeon and Lecturer on
anatomy at the London Hospital, is standing with his back to
us observing the posters of the freaks.
Coming along a muddy walkway at the side of the tent is
Treves' wife, ANNE, and their two DAUGHTERS. The shrill over-
whelming music seems to engulf her.
She looks discomfited, vulnerable, and protective of her
daughters. The girls, oblivious to any fear, are finishing
their chocolate sweets.
CLOSE-UP of Treves looking at a poster.
Treves turns and looks down to a chocolate-covered face. He
smiles at the children and Anne.
Anne sees the dirty faces and begins cleaning one of them.
The other daughter looks into the freak tent.
Poppa... may we go in there?
Alright... Your turn.
She turns the girl away from the freak tent and begins
cleaning her face.
Her kerchief pulls and distorts the little daughter's face.
Suddenly the girl sees a ring of elephants in the distance.
Oh,look M-ummy! Elephants!
Oh, elephants! We'll go see them.
You won't be long?
I'll join you shortly.
She takes the children off toward the elephants.
Treves watches them go for a moment, then turns and we go
with him into the dark freak tent. He pauses to pay admission
at a small booth, then disappears within.
DARKNESS. We hear what could be the trumpeting of an elephant.
Treves parts the black canvas and enters the main part of
the tent. Off to his left he sees a man wrapped in a black
cape, holding a conch shell aloft and blowing powerfully
into it. The tent is dimly lit with flickering oil lamps.
People mill about through the weaving corridors. To Treves'
right, he sees a sign reading, "The Deadly Fruit of the
Original Sin," over a small, very dark corridor.
Treves enters the passage and disappears into the shadows.
The corridor has a series of flaps and turns to disorient
Treves carefully pushes his way through and arrives at the
In a roped-off space stands a small stage set at eve-level,
with curtains on three sides. On the stage is a bell jar
filled with grey-murky fluid lit from behind with casts an
eerie glow in the chamber. Suspended in the fluid is the
life-sized body of a baby-doll with the attached head of a
large snake. At the join of head and body is a blob of
unidentifiable organic matter. It is obviously phony, but
the effect is still very disquieting. At the bottom of the
jar, in the muck, sits an apple with two large bites out of
it. Behind the jar is a painting on the order of a religious
triptych, portraying Adam on one side, Eve on the other, and
the tree flowering over the jar.
Treves' impassive face is bathed in the watery glow. He
studies the strange object with a critical eye. In the passage
we hear movement, and an OLDER GENTLEMAN enters. He seems
visibly impressed with "The Deadly Fruit of the Original
A wicked birth...
After a moment, Treves quietly leaves the inner chamber.
As he pushes his way through the corridor, the noise grows
and becomes a cacophony of strange sounds. He exits and hears
a booming roar and the rush of air as a series of twelve
candles, mounted in a row on a ten-foot stand, are blown out
by "THE INCREDIBLE WIND-MAN." His BARKER steps up and talks
to the people.
Ladies and Gentlemen, his lungs are
larger than this mammoth blacksmith's
bellows. So great is his power of
exhalation, rivaling even that of
the Great North Wind, that he will
now challenge two grown men to attempt
to hold the bellows shut as he applies
the mighty blast of his herculean
breath! Are there any volunteers?
A few people raise their hands. The Barker scans the crowd
and then points over the heads of the volunteers to TWO MEN
toward the back.
Ah! I see two likely lads! Come
forward! Come forward! Pit your
strength against the Mighty Wind-
During the above, The Incredible Wind-Man removes his cape,
revealing his great barrel chest and pot-belly supported by
spindly, white, hairless legs.
As the Barker sets the "Volunteers," the Wind-Man walks about
the small platform, huffing and puffing and blowing on the
The "Volunteers" set, the Wind-Man steps up to the end of
the bellows, takes an enormous breath, and twirls his black
handlebar moustache as a signal to the Barker.
Gentlemen... Are you ready?
Yes we are... Right... etc.
Ladies and Gentlemen!... Let the
The Wind-Man clamps his mouth to the bellows, and with great
show begins to exhale, savagely stamping his feet. The Two
Lads struggle obviously, and then pretend to be forced apart.
The Barker triumphantly lifts the Wind-Man's hand. The Wind-
Man ceases to blow, removes his lips from the bellows and
the Two Lads instantly collapse together on the floor.
Ladies and Gentlemen!... "THE
The crowd cheers, while the Wind-Man puts the conch shell to
his lips and proudly stamps his feet, circling about the Two
Amidst this applause, Treves smiles indulgently. He moves
on, looking for something genuine.
TWO BOBBIES move through the crowd, intent upon a certain
destination. Treves conveys a casual interest in them.
Treves moves on to A BEARDED LADY who combs her beard, busily
chewing tobacco and spitting into a spittoon.
Treves continues to work his way through the crowd. Up ahead
he sees the Bobbies.
Make way! Make way!
They round a corner.
Oh yes they are, they're yours
We hear the laughter of a crowd.
Treves moves closer to see a FAT LADY seated in a chair on
the next platform.
On each knee she holds a DWARF. They are dressed as babies.
A SKELETON MAN stands beside her.
I refuse to believe it! I will not
accept it! Those babies are simply
too ugly, they cannot be mine!
The crowd laughs uproariously.
I don't want them! Get rid of them!
I don't want to see them!
Darling, don't be difficult! Let's
take our sweet lovely children on an
We'll take these miserable whelps on
an outing, alright! We'll take them
to the zoo... WHERE THEY WILL STAY!
From the direction the Bobbies have gone, we hear several
(pausing at the screams)
Children save yourselves! Prevail
upon your Pappa!
The two Dwarves get down from her knees and approach the
Skeleton Man. They kneel and tug at his thin legs.
Poppa! Poppa! Poppa, please!
At this point, a FATHER holding his YOUNG SON in his arms
passes by Treves.
The Young Boy clutches his Father's neck in fear, hiding his
(out loud, to no one
This is too much! They should not
allow it! They should not allow it!
Treves, very curious now, along with several others, make
their way around the corner.
Before him, Treves sees an agitated crowd staring at something
that from his point of view he cannot see. Brushing past him
is a WOMAN pulling a small, confused and frightened LITTLE
GIRL. Getting closer to the commotion, he sees four BOBBIES
standing with a well-dressed alderman, arguing with the OWNER
of this particular exhibit.
A distraught, almost hysterical WOMAN is ineffectually
striking the Owner with her fists about his head and
shoulders, crying weakly and incoherently.
Treves is just about to see whatever it is that is causing
the alarm, when one of the Bobbies says:
No! That's right out! Drop the
As the curtain drops, Treves just glimpses baggy trouser
cuffs and two horribly deformed, root-like feet. The
distraught Woman has been pulled away from the Owner and is
sobbing on a Bobby's shoulder.
You can't do that! I've got my rights!
I have the authority to close you
down, and I'm doing just that!
In the crowd, Treves notices a YOUNG BOY staring open-mouthed,
blankly at the curtain. Treves pushes through the glut of
people to join the Boy and get a better view. The curtain is
actually a large canvas.
On it is a life-sized portrait, crudely painted, of a creature
that could only be possible in a nightmare. It is the figure
of a man turning into an elephant. The transformation,
however, is not complete; there is still more of the man
than beast. Palm trees in the background suggest the jungle
habitat in which this Perverted object might have once roamed.
Filled with curiosity, Treves moves toward the curtain.
This exhibit degrades all who see
it, as well as the poor creature
He's a freak! How else can he live?
Freaks are one thing. No one objects
to freaks, but this is entirely
different. This is monstrous, and
ought not to be allowed. These
officers will see to it that you are
on your way as soon as possible.
The alderman turns and leaves the tent.
He shakes his head in disgust.
Now at the canvas, Treves tries to lift the edge to get a
peek inside the wagon, but the meaty hand of the Owner clamps
down on his wrist.
Have a care, guv'nor.
The two men look at each other for a solid moment.
Treves backs away and returns his gaze to the painted canvas.
FADE TO BLACK:
OPERATING ROOM - THE LONDON HOSPITAL
We see a bellows pumping air into the open grate of a cast
iron stove. We hear moaning in the background. The coals
flare to a fierce glow. From the mouth of the stove protrude
the handles of several cauterizing irons, their heads imbedded
in the coals. Up above the irons, Treves stands by a waist-
high operating table covered with black leather. His face is
illuminated by an oil lantern held by a nurse.
The room is fairly dark owing to the oppressive overcast sky
seen through two windows. There is also a large sink, a
cupboard containing dressings, gags, manacles, emetics and
other unattractive things, and two hard chairs.
TWO STUDENTS and two other DOCTORS, MR. FOX and MR. HILL,
are present. The two Students are pulling with constant
pressure on a rope tied to the patient's leg. Treves and Mr.
Fox are working on a chest wound caused by a machine accident.
There are gear-wheel marks getting progressively deeper as
they near a great open gash. Mr. Hill places a cotton mask
over the patient's nose and mouth and applies drops of
chloroform. The patient struggles, but soon his moans subside
and he is unconscious.
How long has this man been here?
Three quarters of an hour.
Mmmm. Hodges, Pierce come closer.
Mr. Hill, take hold of the rope
please. It's a machine accident. I
expect you'll be seeing a good deal
The two medical Students come forward. They stare uneasily
at the gaping wound, which bubbles each time the man takes
an agonized breath.
Treves and Fox quickly and expertly tend the wound as Hodges
and Pierce look on.
Abominable things these machines.
One can't reason with them.
What a mess.
Treves now notices that the student's faces have gone a trifle
What got you into medicine, Hodges?
My father, sir. He's built quite a
successful practice. I hope to take
it over one day.
Is that your case as well, Pierce?
Yes sir. Though of course I do have
a great desire to help my fellowman.
Treves smiles at them knowingly.
Of course you do realize that medicine
has changed quite a bit since your
father's time. In those days we didn't
even wash our coats. In fact, the
sign of a truly accomplished surgeon--
was his black operating coat, so
stiff with dried blood and pus that
it could stand up by itself in the
corner. I've still got mine
upstairs... You don't mind blood, do
HODGES & PIERCE
Oh no, sir. (etc.)
Good, that's one thing we've always
A hospital MESSENGER BOY, dressed in a blue uniform and a
can is making his way down the hall. He stops and looks into
an operating room much like the one we have just seen.
Inside, the room is empty. The Boy closes the door and
continues on to another operating room. The Doctors move
with great urgency around the operating table. Blood is
draining down into a white porcelain bowl. A Woman can be
heard moaning. The Boy looks carefully, but finally closes
the door and continues on his way.
TREVES' OPERATING ROOM
There is a hissing sound and steam from the cauterizing of
the wound comes up obscuring part of Treves' face. The patient
is being held down firmly by the other men.
The door opens and Treves looks up. The Boy pops his head
Excuse me, Mr. Treves, sir.
I found it.
(studying the Boy
Did you see it?
The Boy shakes his head slowly, "No."
I'll be with you in a moment ...
The Boy closes the door.
I say Freddie, what are you about?
Oh nothing... nothing of any great
AERIAL SHOT from third floor of the London Hospital looking
down on the hospital square.
Below, Treves is walking briskly across the square, through
a gate and into the slums beyond.
The aerial shot is actually FOX'S POV, and now we see Fox
filled with curiosity, watching the figure from a window.
Looking down from above and to the side of him, we follow
Treves walking through a cobblestone street still wet from a
recent rain, covered with horse manure and filth of all sorts.
The air is smoky from meat burning fires.
Rounding a corner, we see and approach the painted canvas
sign of "The Elephant Man" covering the front of a small,
dingy shop. The door of the shop is windowless and padlocked.
Treves walks into the picture, studies the whole scene for a
moment, goes to the shop door and finds that it is padlocked.
Treves tries to look under an edge of the canvas. To his
left he sees a SMALL BOY watching him intently.
Do you know where the proprietor is?
He holds a coin out. The Boy nods, snatches the coin and
then disappears around the corner.
Treves turns back to the canvas.
A noisy pub, long and narrow. Benches run the length of the
back wall, with small tables up against them. Men are
clustered around the bar, talking in groups.
We see the Boy standing at one of the tables talking to the
Owner, greedily consuming his lunch as he listens. The Boy
OUTSIDE THE PUB
The Boy comes out the door, quickly followed by the Owner
hurriedly putting on his coat, fumbling with a riding crop,
the last of his sandwich stuffed in his mouth.
AT THE CORNER
The Boy and the Owner are carefully looking around the corner
at Treves still in front of the portrait.
He's not a peeler...
No, I don't think so.
No... I don't think so.
They walk into the street.
IN FRONT OF THE SHOP
The Owner and the Boy walk up to Treves.
Are you the proprietor?
And who might you be, sir?
Just one of the curious. I'd like to
I don't think so. No sir, we're
Treves pulls a purse from his coat, extracts a coin and holds
I'd pay handsomely for a private
showing. Are you the proprietor?
Handsomely?... Who sent you?
Never mind. I'm the owner.
He snatches the money.
INSIDE THE SHOP
Total darkness. We hear the sound of the padlock being
removed. The door opens and light streams in. The canvas
covering the windows at the front of the shop obscures all
other light. The Owner enters, followed by Treves and the
Boy. From his expression, as well as Treves', we can tell
there must be an awful stench in the room. No one says a
word. The Boy closes the door, while the owner lights a small
gas light. We can now see the shop. It it empty, grey with
dust, cold and dank. Some old tins and a few shriveled
potatoes occupy a shelf. The far end of the shop is blocked
off by a curtain suspended from a cord by a few rings.
The Owner approaches it.
Here we are sir.
(ticking it off by
Life is full of surprises. Ladies
and gentlemen, consider the fate of
this creature's poor mother. In the
fourth month of her maternal
condition, she was struck down by a
Struck down, if you take my meaning,
on an uncharted African isle. The
result is plain to see ladies and
gentlemen... THE TERRIBLE ELEPHANT
The rings rattle back, and the curtain is omen. We see a
bent figure crouching on a stool, covered by a brown blanket.
In front of it on a tripod is a large brick, heated from
below by a bunsen burner. From the blanket protrudes a
perfectly normal left arm and hand warming itself over the
It does not move when the curtain is drawn.
Treves steps closer. The Owner, watching his every move,
turns-and smiles at him. He bangs his riding crop on the
wall and yells to the crouched figure, as if speaking to a
The Boy, excited by his own fear, mimics the Owner.
The figure comes forward and lets the blanket fall to the
ground and we see the ELEPHANT MAN himself.
Treves, his eyes wide with horror and wonder, his mouth frozen
open, steps backward in an instinctive movement of self
The Owner laughs.
The Elephant Man is naked to the waist, his feet are bare
and he wears a pair of worn trousers from a fat man's dress
suit. He is a little below average height, and looks shorter
from the bowing of his back. His head is enormous and
misshapen, as big around as a man's waist. From his brow
projects a huge boney mass, almost obscuring his right eye.
His nose is a nose of flesh, recognizable only from its
From the upper jaw projects another mass of bone protruding
from the mouth like a stump, turning the upper lip inside
out, making a slobbering aperture.
It almost gives the impression of a rudimentary trunk or
tusk. On top of his head is a handful of lank, black hair.
At the back of it hangs a bag of spongy skin, resembling
cauliflower. These loathsome growths cover his back and hang
down to the middle of his thighs. The right arm is enormous
and shapeless, the hand like a knot of tuberous roots. His
left arm is not only normal, but delicately shaped, with
fine skin and a hand that any woman might envy. From his
chest hangs another bag of flesh, like the dewlap of a lizard.
His legs are also grossly deformed, his feet great stumps.
Behind him, as painted in the portrait, are two crudely
constructed palm trees.
The Owner harshly raps again.
The Elephant Man begins to turn. The boy filled with malicious
glee at seeing the monster obey, screams.
Turn around! Turn around!
The Elephant Man completes his turn and comes to rest.
We see a CLOSE-UP of the Elephant Man looking at Treves. His
face is utterly devoid, and incapable, of expression.
We see the Elephant Man's eyes. He closes them.
OUTSIDE THE SHOP
The Owner is locking up.
Treves, facing the street, drinks in the fresh air. He is
trying to forget his shock, put everything into focus.
He looks at the garish portrait again.
Treves produces his purse.
The Owner, smelling money, turns.
Treves hands him several coins.
So you'll bring him to me, tomorrow,
10:00 a.m.? Mr...?
Bytes. Mr. Bytes. He'll be there.
I'll send a cab. Here is my card.
Treves hands the Owner a card. The Owner, greasy and dirty,
shakes Treves' hand and squeezes his arm.
Now we got a deal... We understand
each other... guv. We understand
each other completely.
The Owner gives Treves the evil look of a conspirator.
Treves walks off, disoriented.
The Owner reads the card and smiles at Treves walking away
down the street.
DISSOLVE TO OUTSIDE THE SHOP
A CABMAN is knocking on the door of the shop, staring at the
portrait. The door opens, revealing a figure in a floor-length
black cloak. On his head is an extremely large hat, cut to
the lines of a yachting cap. A grey-flannel curtain hangs
from the bottom of the cap all the way around, hiding his
There is a horizontal slit in front for the eyes. On the
figure's feet are large, bag-like slippers. The only part of
the body seen at all is the left arm and hand, which protrudes
from the cloak, holding a crude walking stick.
The figure seems to loathe being in the open. We can just
barely see in the darkness within the Owner standing to one
side of the door, obviously enjoying the surprise on the
Cabman's face. The Owner steps abruptly into his view.
Don't just stand there. Help him up.
The Cabman, does so, while a small, curious crowd forms. The
Owner gives the Cabman the card. The Cabman jumps up onto
the seat and off they go.
THE RECEIVING ROOM - LONDON HOSPITAL
The receiving room is a bare hall, painted stone color. It
has rows of benches and a long desk where entries are made,
and certificates and other papers are issued. It is a cold,
Not at all, sir. My... pleasure.
Treves turns and sees the Matron, staring.
I'll be in my rooms, Mothershead.
I'm not to be disturbed.
She nods silently. Treves looks at the figure for a moment.
Come with me, please.
He starts to go out of the room. The hooded figure just stands
We see the whole room, the people now silent. They all stare
at the figure.
No one makes a move.
You heard the doctor... Go on.
Treves turns to look at the hooded figure who stands there a
moment, then slowly shuffles after him. Mrs. Mothershead and
the people in the room watch him go. When he is out of sight,
they all begin to talk excitedly.
Mothershead stands fixed and watches too, ignoring the noisy
The door opens and Treves leads the hooded figure to a chair
in front of his desk and helps him to sit down, furtively
trying to look into the eye-slit of the mask. In the small
room the smell of the Elephant Man is overwhelming.
Treves goes to the window and opens it. He nervously tries
to compose himself, then turns to the hooded figure.
My name is Frederick Treves... I am
a surgeon here at the London Hospital,
and I lecture in anatomy at the
Medical College... I would very much
like to examine you. Would that be
The figure in the chair is still. Treves is at a loss. His
sense of discomfort is growing. He looks at the floor for a
moment, then locks his eyes on the figure's left arm.
Ah... yes. Um, first I would like to
ask you a few questions, would that
be all right?
The figure does nothing. Treves sits down at his desk and
picks up a pencil.
Good. Now, let's see. Your Owner...
um, the man who... who looks after
you tells me that you are English
and your name is John Merrick. Is
The figure does nothing.
Do you know where you were born?
Where you come from?
The figure does nothing.
I tell you what, I'll ask you a
question, and you shake your head
like this for "no" and nod like this
for "yes", alright? Do you understand?
The figure following Treves' movements nods very slowly,
"yes". Treves sighs with relief.
Are you in any pain?
The figure begins to babble incoherently. Treves, alarmed,
Um, no. Just nod your head like this
for "yes" and shake it like this for
"no". Now, are you in any pain?
Again the figure, following Treves movements, shakes his
Are your parents still alive?
The figure does nothing. Treves is quite nervous.
Do you understand? Are they dead?
Your father... your mother?
The figure begins to moan. There are two sharp raps at the
door. The hooded figure flinches.
The door opens and Fox pokes his head into the room.
Freddie, what you doing for... I say
do open a window in here or...
He notices the hooded figure.
Oh, I'm dreadfully sorry, I had no
idea that... I say!
Treves quickly rises and pushes Fox out into the hallway,
following him and closing the door.
IN THE HALLWAY
Treves and Fox are standing outside the door to Treves'
Good Lord, Freddie! What have you
got in there?
You'll know presently. At the meeting
of the society. But until then, I
beg of you Fox, keep it to yourself.
Certainly, if you insist. You must
have quite a find there.
I don't know what I've got.
Nothing of any importance, eh?
Treves turns to go back in, then stops.
I'll tell you this much, Fox, it's
beyond anything you or I have ever
dealt with. Keep it to yourself,
He goes back in, shutting the door.
Treves turns the key in the door. He turns to the chair the
figure had been occupying, but he is not there.
The figure is hiding in the corner, crouched behind a black
frock operating coat, so stiff with dried blood and pus it
stands up by itself.
Treves looks quickly around the room and finally sees him.
He looks at the figure for a moment.
Come sit down.
The frightened figure just crouches there looking at him.
Treves goes to him, pulls him up and over to the chair.
The figure sits. Treves pauses uncertainly.
I think I'll examine you now. I'll
save the questions for later... Will
you take off your hat now, please?
The figure does nothing. Treves moves to him.
Don't be frightened, I simply want
to look at you. Do you understand?
The figure leans back fearfully. From behind him we see just
the top of his wide hooded head.
Treves, standing before him, lifts the hood up and back.
(more to himself)
That's right, don't be frightened.
Don't be frightened.
SMALL ROOM - LONDON HOSPITAL
We see two cameras set up, their OPERATORS next to them
staring at something we cannot see. Treves stands beside
them concentrating on the same sight.
All three are speechless.
Treves suddenly remembers himself.
Are you ready?
The Cameramen mumble, "Yes", and gratefully disappear beneath
the black cloths of their cameras.
They trigger the flash powder. In the blinding flashes we
briefly see the silhouette of a tremendously bulky figure,
starting at the light.
DISSOLVE TO LECTURE HALL - PATHOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON
As we pull back and down in a slow spiral we see the light
is coming through high windows. We now see several rows of
distinguished doctors talking to each other in anticipation.
As we continue to spiral down we see Treves before them at a
podium. Behind him are two ASSISTANTS standing beside a
curtained stall. Treves raps a pointer stick on the podium
to bring the meeting to order. We move behind the stall as
the Assistants part the curtains and we see the silhouette
of the Elephant Man. The doctors talk among themselves
He is English, he is twenty-one years
of age and his name is John Merrick.
Gentlemen, in the course of my
profession I have come upon lamentable
deformities of the face due to injury
or disease, as well as mutilations
and contortions of the body, depending
upon like causes; but, at no time
have I met with such a dreaded or
perverted version of a human being
as this man. I wish to draw your
attention to the insidious conditions
affecting this patient. Note, if you
will, the extreme enlargement of the
skull... and upper limb, which is
totally useless. The alarming
curvature of the spine... Turn him,
please... the looseness of the skin,
and the varying fibrous tumors that
cover 90% of the body.
Treves' voice fades as we DISSOLVE TO the Doctors, who at
first were rigid and flustered, and now bent forward,
concentrating, obviously consumed with interest.
Spiraling down again we see Treves finishing his lecture.
...And there is every indication
that these afflictions have been in
existence, and have progressed
rapidly, since birth. The Patient
also suffers from chronic bronchitis.
As an interesting side-note, in spite
of the afore-mentioned anomalies,
the patient's genitals remain entirely
intact and unaffected.
Treves nods to the Assistants and they go to the Elephant
Man. We see them in shadow untying the loose knot of the
CLOSE-UP of the shadow of the head of the Elephant Man. It
goes up for a breath.
So then, gentlemen, owing to this
series of deformities: The congenital
exostoses of the skull; extensive
papillomatous growths and large
pendulous masses in connection with
the skin; the great enlargement of
the right upper limb, involving all
the bones; the massive distortion of
the head and the extensive areas
covered by papillomatous growth, the
patient has been called, "The Elephant
The Elephant Man (hereafter the E.M.) wearing his cloak, is
seated by the desk. Treves stands behind him, measuring his
head with calipers. He removes the calipers and notes the
span, then sets them on the desk. He places the hood over
the E.M.'s head. Treves sits at his desk and makes some final
notes. He becomes more absorbed in his notes than in the
E.M. The E.M. makes an unintelligible sound.
The E.M. is silent. Treves, only now realizing that the E.M.
has said something, looks up at him.
The E.M. is silent. Treves passes it off as a sigh and turns
back to his work.
It's been a long day for everyone.
He closes his notebook and rises. He remembers something.
Oh, yes, you'll need a cab...
(to the E.M.)
He exits. The E.M. is alone. He rises and shuffles slowly
about, investigating the room. He goes to the desk and begins
touching things, including the calipers. He notices the card
Treves gave to the Owner tucked in the back pages. He pauses
for a moment and then takes the card. His hand disappears
into the cloak, and he moves back into the corner behind the
stiff, black operating coat.
Come with me.
The E.M. takes up his stick and follows Treves out.
UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - THE LONDON HOSPITAL
We see Treves and Fox alone at a window. They are looking
down on the hospital square Treves had previously crossed
and see the E.M., lit by gaslight and moving to a waiting
You never mentioned his mental state.
He's imbecile, no doubt from birth.
He speaks, but... it's all gibberish.
No, the man's a homeless idiot...
I pray God he's an idiot.
The E.M., as he is getting into the cab, stops, turns and
looks to the upper stories of the hospital. Treves and Fox
are joined by three laughing colleagues who clap Treves on
Quite a coup, Freddie. You'll look
splendid in the journal.
Where ever did you find that creature?
From the upper story we watch the cab drive away.
THE THIRD (V.O.)
It's a pity.
I pity the poor cab driver, myself.
From outside the window we see Treves surrounded by his
ENTRY HALL - TREVES' HOME
We see a door. It opens and Treves walks in. He shuts the
door, locks it, goes to a coat rack on the wall and hangs up
his overcoat and hat. He notices his reflection in a mirror
and examines himself wearily. Anne's smiling reflection
appears beside his.
Did it go well, darling?
Yes, very well, I think. Are the
girls in bed?
Yes, and they send their kisses.
Would you like your sherry now?
No, I think a whiskey.
We move past Anne's reflection to a CU of Treves.
WHITECHAPEL - NIGHT
We now see a bunsen burner roar of flame reflected in Bytes'
eyes. Pulling back we see Bytes, quite drunk, sitting, cooking
sausages over the hot brick.
He takes another drink from his gin bottle. Up comes a wet
belch and he takes another drink.
The E.M. is crouched against the wall with a bowl of potatoes
and a cup of water in front of him. With his good hand, he
is picking tiny pieces of potato and feeding himself. The
eating is fairly loud and animal-like. The drinking is even
The Boy is across the room asleep, wrapped in ragged little
The E.M. takes a drink of water, making a loud smacking,
Bytes looks up from his cooking with a smoldering look, just
waiting for him to make the sound again. He does and Bytes
takes his crop and violently jabs him.
Belt up, you misbegotten garbage.
(mumbling to himself)
How can I eat with that?
Bytes takes a mouthful of gin and mockingly slurps it
mimicking the E.M.'s sound.
How can I eat with THAT?
The E.M. picks and eats some more and then drinks again very
Because of his fear the water catches in his throat and he
spits and coughs out onto the floor, gasping and wheezing
Bytes is up and whacks him with his riding crop.
Out of my sight!
The E.M. struggles to get up, carrying his food.
(not satisfied with
He jabs the E.M. again, spilling his potatoes and water onto
You clumsy sod!
He pushes the E.M. again, then slips on the potatoes and
falls heavily to the floor, crying out in shock. Then rage
hits him. The E.M. backs up.
The Boy wakes up in fear. Bytes moves quickly toward the
E.M. raising his crop. The E.M. stumbles and falls backward
onto the floor. His head goes back and he begins gasping for
air. Bytes yanks him up and hits him in the face with his
riding crop. The force of the blow knocks a glob of spit
into the air from the E.M.'s mouth. The E.M. gasps and wheezes
horribly as Bytes hits him again and again.
From across the room.
Bytes goes right on with the beating.
This won't do, my lad. This just
RECEIVING ROOM - LONDON HOSPITAL
We see the eyes of the Boy. As we pull back from them, they
widen with recognition.
WIDE SHOT of the Receiving Room. Treves has entered and the
Boy walks quickly up to him.
Our man is sick. Come right away.
What is it?
(he breathes heavily
in and out to
demonstrate the E.M.'s
I'll get my bag.
INSIDE THE SHOP
We hear the sound of wheezing coming from the E.M. who is
sitting propped up against the stage, wrapped in a blanket.
His head bent forward toward his knees. Bytes is going to
the door as it opens and the Boy leads Treves in.
Treves immediately goes to the E.M.
What did you do to him? He's been
like this all night!
What do you mean?
He was fine when he left here, and
now look at him.
I intend to.
Treves pulls the blanket away from the E.M. exposing several
bruises and bloody cuts. Treves freezes at the sight and
slowly turns to look at Bytes.
He must have taken quite a fall.
He looks up at the riding crop in the hand of Bytes, then to
the strangely nervous and silent Boy.
He's a clumsy git. Never watches
where he is going.
Why is he sitting up like this? He
That's the way he sleeps. If he lays
down, he'll die.
(he points to his
neck and leans his
Head's too heavy.
Treves turns his attention to the E.M. He lifts his head
higher and examines the E.M.'s eyes. The E.M., who had been
oblivious up until this point, looks into Treves' eyes and
recognizes him. With his good hand, he reaches up and touches
Treves' arm almost as if appealing to him. Treves' eyes lock
This man belongs in hospital.
Can't you fix him up here? ...He's
my livelihood. Listen.
You listen, you're not going to have
much of a livelihood if this man
dies. He's got the rale, he's very
weak, and I don't know how much damage
has been done by his "fall". Now
stop wasting time and fetch a cab.
Bytes considers and then snaps his fingers at the Boy who
runs out. He then breaks into an ingratiating grin and leans
down over Treves who busily examines the wheezing E.M.
I really appreciate this, guv. You
know, there's lot of things that I
can do for you. I move in the proper
circles, for this type of thing...
(motioning toward the
In fact, anything at all, if you
take my meaning.
Treves, uncomfortable, rises. Bytes grips his hand and with
the other gathers the material of his sleeve in a slow
I like doing business with you. You
and I understand each other,
completely. I know I can trust you.
(gazing at him levelly)
Everything will be seen to.
MORNING - AERIAL SHOT LOOKING DOWN ON HOSPITAL SQUARE
Through a window we see Treves and the E.M. walking through
a back gate and across the square. MR. CARR GOMM, Hospital
Chairman, turns and moves away from the window.
NURSE NORA IRELAND is pushing a cart filled of empty breakfast
trays down the hall. She glances into the stairwell and sees
Treves and the E.M. coming through the door. She continues
on, startled by the sight of the mysterious hooded figure.
At the end of the hall, she goes into the kitchen.
Treves and the E.M. are laboriously climbing a flight of
stairs. The E.M. is puffing and wheezing with the effort.
Treves supports him under his right arm.
Nora enters with the cart and waits for it to be restocked.
She leans out the door for another look, but the hall is
empty. A Nurse ladles mush into bowls.
There is a lot of activity in the kitchen. Nora takes the
cart stacked with full trays and pushes it out the door and
down the hallway.
Treves and the E.M. cross the hallway and head up a narrow
stairway towards the attic. There is a sign reading
Carr Gomm is leaning out the door to his office, unseen by
Treves. He closes the door.
GENERAL WARD - LONDON HOSPITAL - MORNING
It is a long, high ceilinged room with large windows along
one wall. Beds run the length of both sides of the room. It
is a woman's ward and nurses are serving the patients
breakfast. Nora enters and nurses take trays from her cart.
Nora's mind is on what she has just seen. We see Mothershead
come in the door behind her.
Nora! Mind your duties... if you
don't concentrate dear, you'll only
make more work for the rest of us.
Now, get about your business.
(pauses, seeing Nora's
...and do get your collar straight,
(fumbling with her
I'm so sorry, Mrs. Mothershead.
Do get on with it, Nora.
Mothershead walks on, as Nora now very flustered, picks up a
CU of a bottle of dark fluid and a bottle of light fluid.
Treves mixes the two in a glass. We are in a small oddly
shaped room off the attic ward.
There is one tiny barred window located high up on the far
wall. There is also a bed, two hard chairs and a table. The
E.M. is sitting on the bed in shadow and his disguise is now
hanging from a peg on the wall beside him. He is still
wheezing and appears to be very weak. Treves serves the
mixture to the E.M., who sputters and gags on it, but manages
to get it down. Treves goes to the table and puts the two
bottles in his bag. He goes to the door and turns to the
I don't know if you will understand
this, but you will never go back to
that man again. You're safe now. No
one will ever harm you. Do you
The two men just look at each other.
KITCHEN - LONDON HOSPITAL
Treves enters the kitchen and nicks up a bowl. A NURSE ladles
some porridge for him.
Breakfasting with the patients this
morning, Mr. Treves?
It's for a patient.
Treves exits and the nurses admiringly watch him go.
FIRST FLOOR LANDING AND HALLWAY
Treves climbs the stairs onto the landing. Down the hall,
Mr. Carr Gomm is walking toward his office. Treves tries not
to be seen, but to no avail.
Mr. Treves, come over here a moment,
Treves hesitates, trying to hide the bowl, but gives up and
goes down the hall to meet Carr Gomm.
Good morning, Treves.
Good morning, sir.
(seeing the bowl)
You've acquired a taste for this?
It's quite nutritious, sir.
Don't be mad. This muck can kill
Carr Gomm calls a Nurse from a nearby ward over. It is Nora.
He takes the bowl from Treves and hands it to her.
Take this up, to to the man in the
isolation ward when you have a moment,
Don't be frightened. He won't hurt
He gestures toward his office door. As he and Treves enter
the office, Nora looks apprehensively up the isolation ward
MR. CARR GOMM'S OFFICE
It is a small, elegantly furnished room with a large window.
The two men sit, Carr Gomm behind his desk and Treves in a
A hospital is no place for secrecy,
Mr. Treves. Doctors spiriting hooded
figures about are liable to cause
comment. Why wasn't this patient
properly admitted, and why is he in
isolation? Is he contagious?
No sir, he's got bronchitis and he's
been badly beaten.
Why isn't he in the General Ward,
Well sir, he's quite seriously
deformed, and I fear the other
patients would find him... rather
Deformed? Is that it. Then am I to
assume that he is ultimately
What are your plans then, Treves...
You are aware that the London does
not accept incurables. The rules are
quite clear on that point.
Yes, I'm well aware of that. But
this case is quite exceptional.
Oh, is he a friend of yours?
No, more of an acquaintance.
ISOLATION WARD (A) AND STAIRWAY (B) CARR GOMM'S OFFICE (C)
(A) The E.M. is asleep in his sleeping posture on the bed.
(B) Nora, with the bowl, is climbing the stairs to the attic
ward. She pauses in sight of the door and looks apprehensively
at it. She begins to hum to give herself courage, and
continues up the stairs.
(A) The E.M. awakens, hears the footsteps, and now the
humming, which grows in volume. He becomes fearful and reaches
for his cloak. The humming stops. He freezes and listens.
(C) Treves and Carr Gomm seated as before.
I certainly sympathize with your
problem, Treves... Why don't you try
the British Home, or the Royal
Hospital for perhaps they would have
a place for him.
Yes sir, I'll look into that.
Would you like to meet him sir?
(B) Nora stands outside the door, listening. She is barely
(A) The E.M., still listening, slowly lets his hand drop
away from the cloak.
(B) Nora opens the door.
(A) The E.M. grabs for the cloak as the door swings open
flooding him with light. We see him for the first time in
his entirety. CU of Nora screaming and dropping the tray. CU
of the caught E.M.
(C) The shrill scream is heard from upstairs.
Excuse me, sir.
Treves rushes out. Carr Gomm just sits for a moment, thinking.
The Elephant Man?
ISOLATION WARD LANDING
Treves, rushing up the stairs, reaches the landing. Nora is
at the railing, crying. The door is open, the breakfast tray
littering the floor. The E.M. is on the bed trying to squeeze
into the corner. Treves quickly closes the door and tries to
I'm sorry, my dear, I should have
warned you. I'm so terribly sorry,
please forgive me. There, you're
alright now. Go downstairs and please
ask Mrs. Mothershead to come up.
Tell her to knock on the door and
wait for me. Alright?
Yes Sir. I'm sorry, Sir.
Drying her eyes, she goes downstairs.
Closing the door, Treves steps over the spilt breakfast and
goes to the E.M.
I'm very sorry about that. Are you
The E.M. makes a garbled sound.
Treves, alone with the E.M., once more finds himself becoming
Ah good. Well then... oh yes, we'll
have to get you some more food. I'm
sure you must be simply famished.
The E.M. is silent.
Of course you are. Now then, I think
you'll be quite comfortable up here
for awhile. I'll see to it you have
everything you need, and, uh... yes.
Treves puts out a comforting hand to the E.M. who flinches
back. The two men just look at each other.
Several Nurses are taking bath things off a cart. At the
other end of the room, Mothershead is talking to a patient.
Nora enters and walks over to Mothershead. They talk, and
Mothershead exits. Nora joins the other nurses.
Did you see him?
What's wrong with him?
We see Nora's face. She is silent.
ISOLATION WARD LANDING
Mothershead knocks on the door. Treves opens it, comes out
onto the landing and closes the door.
Ah, Mothershead. How are you feeling
Good. Excellent. Now then, Mrs.
Mothershead, I want you to come into
this room with me. Inside there is a
man with a rather... unfortunate
Yes... Well, I want you to clear up
a little mess, a breakfast tray was
spilt. And bring up another breakfast.
When you've done that, you and I
shall give the man a bath. But,
Mothershead, I'm counting on your
many years of experience to get you
through this, Above all, do not
scream, do not cry out, or in any
way show this man that you are
frightened of him...
Sir, you don't have to worry about
me. I'm not the sort to cry out.
Shall we go in?
Yes... Yes, let's go in.
Treves opens the door.
Mothershead goes right to the mess.
(to the E.M., hereafter
I would like you to meet Mrs.
Mothershead - Mrs. Mothershead, Mr.
Merrick looks up to Mothershead, then averts his eyes. He
looks back at her and sees she has no difficulty being in
How do you do?
ISOLATION WARD LANDING
At the door of Merrick's attic room stand two buckets of
very dirty water. We hear footsteps coming up stairs and see
a young porter carrying two buckets of clean, steaming water.
He puts them down, knocks on the door, and takes the dirty
water downstairs. The door opens, Mrs. Mothershead picks up
the steaming buckets and takes them inside, shutting the
Merrick's seated in a tin bathtub trying to hide his
nakedness. Mrs. Mothershead pours the water in. She scrubs
his back with obvious distaste, but does her job. Months of
filth and accumulated excrescence are turning the bath water
a murky black. As Mothershead scrubs, Merrick slowly leans
forward in the bath, closing his eyes, apparently oblivious
to his surroundings.
Treves sits beside him.
The disease is shocking.
Merrick's eyes flicker.
I wonder how far it can go before
Merrick flinches and pulls away.
Sit still. Don't wiggle about like a
pup. I won't stand for any
Treves leans forward and looks at Merrick. Merrick grows
still, his eyes closed, apparently in a reverie.
It's pretty certain that if he had
the disease as a child, he was
abandoned. But in that case, he'd
have to have had care. The very fact
that he's alive bears that out...
(cut to Treves)
Merrick is listening.
Yes! The workhouse!
At this word, Merrick begins to babble wildly. Obviously
alarmed, he thrashes about in the tub, spilling water onto
the floor. Treves, alarmed now himself, attempts to calm
Merrick, who, still babbling, tries to rise from the tub.
Mothershead clamps a hand on Merrick's left arm. At her touch,
he is instantly subdued, at least physically. He sinks back
into the tub and begins to weep. Treves and Mothershead are
astounded by the tears rolling down Merrick's cheeks. They
stand motionless looking down at the agonized, naked elephant
FOLLOWING BUCKETS OF DIRTY WATER DOWN A HALLWAY BACK ENTRANCE -
The young PORTER is exiting with great difficulty through a
large iron door carrying the two buckets. He sets one of the
buckets down, takes the other and splashes it out into the
alley. Some thick sludge dribbles from the empty bucket.
Unseen by him, the NIGHT PORTER is standing just to the side
and he now comes forward. The young Porter seems nervous in
The Night Porter looks at his spattered shoes, then up to
the Young Porter.
What's all this, then?
Mr. Treves is scrubbing his Elephant
Yeah... I hear it's a real horror.
Even made Mothershead scream.
Friend of the night, eh? The Elephant
Man. I think I'll have me a look at
Suddenly the Night Porter kicks the other bucket of filthy
water violently, sending it splashing all over the young
Now, you need the scrubbing, ducks!
He lets his cigarette drop to the ground, then stamps and
grinds it with his brass-heeled boot, all the while smiling.
Then he turns on his heel and leaves.
Dark clouds rolling through an evening sky.
Through the high barred window, we see the dark sky. The
E.M. is on his bed in his sleeping posture. A dim gaslight
burns in the room.
CLOSE-UP of his head on the points of his knees. His breathing
is more regular now.
A GENERAL WARD
Lights are being turned off.
Lights go off.
Large iron door is closed.
Half the lights go off.
Nurses leave for their quarters - half the lights go off.
SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY
We hear the slow metallic footfalls of the Night Porter's
boots. He appears and walks into a darkened women's ward.
The women are all asleep. Some coughing fitfully, others
moaning quietly. The Night Porter walks down the aisle between
the beds. We see several of the sleeping women as he passes
them. Finally, he comes to a young beautiful woman, her eyes
wide open, watching him with intense fear. On either side of
her are two very ancient women, snoring deeply. The young
woman has her arms tied, suspended in traction above her.
The Night Porter moves to her, his shadow engulfing her.
She starts to move, rattling the apparatus above her. The
Porter puts a finger to his lips.
Hush, love, I told you before one
word from me, they'll toss you back
on the street, and then those pretty
little arms of yours will never grow
straight. Now close your eyes.
She turns her head away, closing her eyes. He moves in.
CLOSE-UP of a gas light in a hallway. The leaping flame makes
a low roar.
CUT TO ANOTHER HALLWAY
Somewhere a door is opened and the squeak sounds vaguely
like the trumpeting of an elephant. We hear again the metallic
footfalls of the Night Porter's boots, and he appears. He
goes to the narrow stairway marked, "Isolation".
He stops and casually looks about. He takes a swig of his
gin, then starts up the stairs.
Merrick as before the light is very dim. We hear the echoing
footfalls of the Night Porter coming up the stairs. Merrick's
head immediately comes up from his knees. As it does, a small
object falls from where his head rested.
He picks it up and puts it in a pocket of his cloak. it is
the portrait of the beautiful woman, which he saw in his
Suddenly the door swings open and the Night Porter, bottle
in hand, is standing there. He walks into the room and sees
Merrick's shape on the bed.
Here he is, the old fiend of the
night, the terror of the London.
Let's have a look at you. Let's see
what makes 'em scream...
He turns up the light and sees Merrick clearly. The Night
Porter jumps back, awe struck.
Merrick is trembling. The Night Porter, hardly able to believe
his eyes, moves slowly toward Merrick. He is afraid but as
he reaches the bed, Merrick flinches back. The Night Porter
grins, his fear gone now. He is in control.
So this is the Elephant Man. I ain't
never seen nothing like you before.
What the bleedin' hell happened to
Merrick cowers as far away from the Night Porter as possible.
Oh... dumb, eh?
He takes a big swallow of the gin and smiles.
Good. I likes people what can keep
He offers Merrick his bottle with a swift, almost jabbing
motion. Merrick pulls away from him.
Like a drink? Go on... Go on have
some. No? You should try being more
He tentatively presses the bottom of the bottle up against
the hanging growth on Merrick's chest. Encouraged, he touches
him with his fingers. Merrick makes a small whimpering sound.
You and I are going to be good
friends, we are. And, I've got lots
of friends who I know would like to
meet you. And they will, mate...
He moves to the door and turns.
CLOSE-UP of Night Porter's face.
Welcome to the London.
He moves out the door and it closes. In the bed, Merrick
looks at the door with terror as the heavy footfalls of the
Night Porter recede down the stairs.
We see a horse's head in CU, snorting steam into the chill
morning air. The horse is harnessed to a milk wagon parked
in front of the London. Through the open back of the wagon
we see the MILKMAN, and past him Treves, walking towards us.
Here early again, eh Mr. Treves? If
you don't mind my saying so, sir,
with your early habits, you'd 'a
made a fine milkman.
Good morning, Charley. I'll keep
that in mind!
Treves walks up the path into the hospital.
Treves, carrying a bowl, crosses the upper hall and starts
to the narrow stairway to the Isolation Ward. Over his
shoulder we see him knock twice on the door. As the door
swings open, the camera pushes past him and we see the room.
The lamp is still burning, but Merrick is nowhere to be seen.
Treves enters, looking about for him.
There's movement in the corner beside the bed. Merrick rises
slightly from the shadow. The light from the lamp hits his
....Good morning... John. I've brought
Treves is unsettled by the sight of Merrick cowering down on
Merrick begins to babble. Treves enters the room, placing
the bowl on the table and going to Merrick.
What are you doing down there? Come
up John, come up on the bed. The
cold floor is bad for you. I won't
hurt you, come on now...
He helps Merrick up onto the bed and goes back to the table
for the bowl.
You must eat. We must keep your
He has turned back to the bed, but Merrick has slipped to
the floor again, still trying to hide himself in the corner.
...What on earth is the matter with
He puts the bowl down again and goes back to Merrick, who
seems very upset at leaving his hiding place.
Now please, John, you must do as I
say. Come up from there.
He starts to help Merrick up, but Merrick just presses himself
farther back in the corner, still babbling. There are two
raps at the door. Treves goes to it and lets Mothershead in.
Good morning, Mr. Treves. It'll be
his bath-time soon. Has he eaten?
Not quite yet, Mrs. Mothershead.
There seems to be some difficulty
They both look at the bed. Merrick has almost disappeared
Won't come out, eh?
No, he's very upset about something.
Just being obstinate, sir. I'll handle
She goes to Merrick and takes hold of his left wrist.
Alright, my son, none of this fuss.
Come up from there, this instant.
She starts to force him up from the floor. Merrick is moaning
now, still trying to get away.
No! Don't pull at him like that. We
don't want to frighten him more than
he already is.
By this time Mothershead has almost got him back on the bed.
Honestly, sir, you must be very firm
with this sort. Otherwise they'd lay
about on the floor gibbering all day
long. All he understands is a good
They help Merrick settle back on the pillow. Merrick is still
making desperate, unintelligible sounds.
He's had his share of "smacks",
Mothershead. I expect that's what
drives him under the bed. We must
use patience and understanding with
Perhaps you've got the time for that,
Mr. Treves, I certainly don't. I've
got an entire hospital to look after,
and you have your real patients.
Don't waste your time with him sir,
it's like talking to a wall. I don't
mean to be harsh, but truthfully
what can you do for him? I'll be
back later for his bath. And Mr.
Carr Gomm would like to see you when
you have a moment. Good day sir.
She exits. Treves shuts the door behind her and turns back
to the bed.
What good am I to you...?
He goes to the bed and sits down in front of Merrick, angered
by his own seeming uselessness in the situation.
...What is my purpose? ...It's so
important that I understand you. I
want to help you, I want to be your
(directly to Merrick)
but I can't help you unless you help
me, unless I know what you are
feeling. I believe there's something
back there, there's something you
want to say, but I've got to
understand you. Do you understand
Merrick hesitates, then starts babbling again.
No! You are going to talk to me! We
are going to show them! We're going
to show them that you're not a wall.
We are going to talk! Do you
understand? Nod your head if you
Slowly Merrick nods yes.
You do understand me! You understand.
Now you're going to say it. I've got
to hear how you say things. Now,
very slowly, say "yes."
Treves carefully mouths the word.
Merrick is still hesitant, from years of fear, but his eyes
betray a growing excitement. Slowly, he tries to talk, his
voice a tremulous whisper.
Yyyy... Yyye... yyyess.
Throughout their dialogue, Merrick is still very garbled,
but he no longer babbles. He makes a great effort to speak
slowly, to form words the way Treves forms them, to be
That's much better. I could understand
Very good! Oh yes! Now listen. I'm
going to say some things to you and
I want you to repeat them... um... I
want you to say them back to me. Do
you understand? I'm going to say
some things to you and I want you to
say them back to me. Do you
Excellent! Now, say... "Hello"
My name is...
My... name is...
Well, that's alright. I understand
you. Now, say the whole thing again,
Hello... my name is... John Merrick.
DISSOLVE TO HALLWAY
Mrs. Mothershead comes out of the kitchen with a supper tray
and walks down the hall, passing the open ward door. We see
nurses serving patients their supper. Nora comes out of the
ward with a tray which she holds tightly against her. A bowl
of soup is spilling on her apron. She catches up with
Mothershead. They speak as they walk.
Oh, Mrs. Mothershead, please forgive
my behavior yesterday. I'm sorry if
you're having to do extra work on my
account. It was just seeing it...
Patients here are not "its". They
are either "he's" or "she's", but
that's alright, Ireland. This one's
going to be more work for all of us.
Good God girl! Mind your broth.
Mothershead continues on. Nora guiltily watches her go.
Treves and Merrick are absorbed in their work. A knock comes
at the door.
Why, my dear Mrs. Mothershead, how
good of you to join us. Mr. Merrick,
will you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is John Merrick.
Good Lord, Mr. Treves!
We've made tremendous strides today,
Mothershead. He listens and repeats
with great attention, and this
certainly isn't easy for him.
Parrots can do as much, Mr. Treves.
It's all very nice, but I don't see
the point. You know they won't let
him stay here.
(lowering his voice)
I'm sure that if Mr. Merrick made a
good impression on the hospital
committee they'd see that he's the
exception to their rule. Now I'm not
expecting miracles. I'm not saying
he'll be able to read or write, but
I do think that I can get him to
speak for himself. I'm going to
arrange things with Carr Gomm right
That was very good, John, very good.
That's all for today. We shall do
some more tomorrow. Mothershead?
Mrs. Mothershead sets the tray down beside Merrick.
I'll see you soon.
He and Mothershead exit. Merrick watches the door close. He
sighs quietly, looks about, and sees the Bible on the bedside
table. He picks it up and, gently runs his fingers over the
RECEIVING ROOM - THE LONDON
There is total pandemonium in the receiving room. The room
is filled with screaming men, women and children. Two drunken
women have been fighting with broken bottles and are now
covered with blood and cuts. The women are still hysterical,
one minute they're sobbing, then in an instant screaming and
intent upon fighting again. The crowd keeps them apart. Two
Bobbies stand in the background making no move to intercede.
To the side we see Bytes watching everything. It is still
too violent a scene for the Nurses to come to the women's
aide and they stand up in the front of the room waiting.
Bytes makes his way along the side of the crowd waiting for
a chance to get behind the Nurses and on into the hospital.
Now the women begin sobbing again and things quiet some. The
Nurses come forward into the crowd. Bytes moves over closer
to the hallways. When the Nurses have all gone into the crowd
he seizes the chance and disappears into the hospital.
Bytes appears and walks down hospital hallway looking about.
CARR GOMM'S OFFICE
The door opens and Treves enters.
Treves sits in the armchair. Carr Gomm is sitting at his
Have you contacted the British Home
and the Royal Hospital?
Ah, no sir. I had planned to see
them in the morning.
Good! How is the patient?
He's doing very well. In fact that's
why I came to see you. I think that
if I were to present Mr. Merrick to
the hospital committee, then they
would have a chance to see for
themselves not only the extraordinary
nature of the disease, but of the
man as well. If the committee had a
chance to speak with him, hear him
say a few words for himself, I'm
sure they would see him as a patient,
rather than as a violation of the
A few words? I thought he was
Well sir, perhaps I should explain...
I really don't think that's necessary
Treves. I'm quite sure the committee
will be able to make an equitable
decision on the merits of the case,
such as they are.
I don't agree. No one can make a
reasonable decision about this man's
future without at least meeting him.
No doctor would presume to diagnose
a patient he had never met.
No, Treves, it's out of the question.
Now if it was up to me, I'd say
"Certainly, let's meet the fellow,
by all means," I'm sorry, I simply
can't speak for the other members of
Then will you meet him, as a
representative of the committee.
Mr. Treves, it's out of the question.
I want to hear as soon as possible
what the other hospitals can do. I'm
HALLWAY - STAIRCASE - THE LONDON
We see Treves leave Carr Gomm's office and walk toward us to
As Treves begins down the stairs, he sees Bytes on the next
landing coming up.
Bytes spots him and goes toward him.
I want my man back.
Just a moment, how did you get in
Never mind that, I want my man!
He's still very sick. Please come
downstairs with me. I'll explain the
DON'T... Don't muck me about. You've
had plenty of time to fix him up,
and he's leaving with me, NOW. Do
you understand me? Now, Mr. Treves.
We had a bargain!
You misunderstood. This man suffered
a severe fall, if you take my meaning.
He's my patient now and I must do
Pull the other one, why don't you!
We made a deal!
I know what you've done to him and
he's never going back to that.
He's a freak! That's how they live.
We're partners, him and I, business
partners. You're willfully deprivin'
me of my livlihood!
All you do is profit from another
You think you're better 'n me? YOU
wanted the freak to show all your
doctor chums and make a name for
yourself, you guv. So I gave him to
you. On trust, in the name of science!
And now I want him back.
You don't own this man!
I want him back!
So you can beat him? So you can starve
him? A dog in the street would fare
better with you!
I've got my rights, damn you, and
I'm going to the authorities!
Well, go to the authorities...
Now we see Carr Gomm standing above them, at the top of the
By all means do so. In fact, I'll
fetch them myself. I'm quite sure
they'd be very interested in your
story, as well as ours.
Livid, Bytes looks from Carr Gomm to Treves, at a loss for
Now I think we really do understand
He backs slowly down to the landing eyeing Treves and Carr
Gomm. At the landing he casually turns and disappears down
more stairs. Treves turns and gazes at Carr Gomm.
Singularly unpleasant chap... uh...
I don't suppose there would be any
harm in my meeting your... patient,
Thank you very much Sir. Shall we
say in a few days then?
Shall we say two o'clock tomorrow
(slightly taken aback)
Wh... whatever is most convenient
for you, sir.
Two o'clock then... you know Treves...
It seems this acquaintance of yours
has become rather more than just an
They part company. We follow Treves down the stairs.
Then we follow Carr Gomm to his office door. He stops short.
(mumbling out loud)
Elephant Man? I don't want to meet
an Elephant Man.
HALLWAYS - THE LONDON (NIGHT)
Again, the hospital is closing down for the night. Lights go
off in each hallway. The staff is vacating the hospital. As
the last light goes off, we hear the great iron door slam
TREVES' HOUSE - BEDROOM (NIGHT)
Anne is at her dressing table, brushing out her hair. She is
in a very flattering dressing gown, ready to turn in. We see
her reflected in the mirror as well as Treves who is in his
robe in the background seated at his side of their bed, deep
in thought. Anne looks at Treves and smiles affectionately.
Getting no response she renews her efforts.
Freddie?... Freddie, don't look so
I shouldn't be. We made great progress
today. I taught him to repeat a few
basic phrases. He did rather well,
too, but I had to lead him every
step of the way. Though frankly, at
times I was unsure of who was leading
What do you mean?
Well, I wasn't sure whether he was
parroting me because that's all he
was capable of, or whether he sensed
that that's all I wanted to hear,
and he was trying to please me.
But I thought you said that he was
He is. I mean, I've always thought
he was. I think he must be. Is he
simple? Or is that just something
I've wished upon him to make things
simpler for myself?
Anne puts down the brush and rises.
Frederick, why are you so interested
in this particular case?
I don't know. I can't explain it. If
this is an intelligent man, trapped
in the body of a monster, then I'm
under a moral obligation to help
free that mind, free that spirit as
best I can, to help him live as full
and content a life as possible. But!
If he's an imbecile, who's body I
can't treat and who's mind I can't
touch, well, then my obligation is
discharged. They can put him where
they will; he won't be bothered, I
won't be bothered, and everyone's
conscience can remain free and
untroubled. And that is my dilemma...
what is in his mind?
Anne, sympathizing with his concerns goes to him and puts
her arms around him.
Perhaps you're just polishing a stone,
endowing this Elephant Man with
qualities he doesn't possess?
And what qualities are those?
Intelligence or stupidity?
I'm sure I don't know, Freddie.
She releases Treves and lies down. Treves realizes that
perhaps he has been unkind.
I'm sorry... I don't know either. I
just don't know.
Well, these things take time.
I've only got until two o'clock
tomorrow afternoon, when Carr Gomm
meets him. Somehow, between now and
then I've got to make John Merrick
at least seem like an intelligent
man... Why am I fooling myself?
Nothing short of John delivering the
Sermon on the Mount is going to sway
Anne sits back up and gently places her hand over Treves'
mouth. As she does so she leans forward and turns out the
Merrick is propped up in bed. Suddenly the door bursts open.
The Night Porter, an arm around a drunken giggling tart,
stands in the doorway. As soon as the Charwoman sees Merrick,
she screams as does Merrick, and she wriggles free, making
for the stairs. The Night Porter watches her go and then
turns to Merrick laughing noisily. He then pulls the door
shut with a bang.
Merrick, very frightened, crawls down into his hiding place.
We see Anne alone in bed, asleep. Treves is finished dressing
and leaves the room. The sound of the door closing awakens
Anne. She looks around for Treves. A clock reads 5:30.
Merrick's disguise hangs on the wall.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
want, he maketh me to lie down in
green pastures; He leadeth me beside
still waters. He restoreth my soul:
He Guideth me in the paths of
Righteousness for his namesake.
WE NOW SEE TREVES AND MERRICK
Very good, very good. Now, when your
visitor comes today I want you to
say it exactly the way you said it
just now. I will introduce him to
you and you will say the words you've
learned. If you have any trouble
with any of the words, I'll help
you. I'm sure you'll be just fine.
If you do as well for him as you've
done for me these last two days,
then I'm sure our visitor will be
very pleased. Now, let's go through
the whole thing again, shall we? I
will say "May I introduce you to Mr.
Carr Gomm." And you will say...
Hello, my name is John Merrick. I am
very pleased to meet you!
Treves and Carr Gomm are speaking together as they walk along.
It's only a physical problem. He has
trouble with certain sounds because
of the constrictive deformity of the
mouth. But he can talk, and has a
great eagerness to make contact with
people who will let him. So if you
have any difficulty understanding
what he is saying, just tell me and
I'll make it clear.
Speaking is one thing, Treves, but
can the man comprehend?
Treves cannot easily answer this question.
...As I said, it's only a physical
problem... but I do feel that Mr.
Merrick is very flattered that you're
taking the time and trouble to meet
him, and he's most anxious to make a
good impression, so he might seem
He needn't. I have no desire to cause
him any discomfort. Did you make
those inquiries we spoke about?
Yes, I spoke to both the British
Home and Royal Hospital for
Incurables. I'm afraid that they
weren't very encouraging, but they
said they'd bring it up at their
next committee meeting, so we should
have their answers shortly.
Fine, fine. You know, your dedication
to this patient is an inspiring thing,
Treves. But you must remember that
this is a hospital, and there are
many patients here. Patients who can
be made well, and you owe them your
first consideration. Just don't become
so obsessed, old man, that you begin
to neglect them.
Carr Gomm starts up the stairs. Treves remains behind,
watching him for a moment, then follows.
Merrick is standing beside his disguise on its hook. He
nervously smooths the cloak down, repositions the Bible on
the bedside table and smooths the cloak again. He looks at
the door, expecting it to open. It doesn't. His hands smooths
the cloak over and over again. Voices can be heard outside
There are two raps at the door. Merrick flinches, clutching
the cloak. The raps are repeated. He pulls himself together
and walks to the middle of the room. He takes a deep breath
and closes his eyes.
The door opens and Treves and Carr Gomm enter. Carr Gomm's
eyes are rivited on Merrick, but he contains his shock.
Merrick is breathing unevenly, his eyes still closed. Treves
goes to him and touches his shoulder. Merrick opens his eyes
and looks up at Treves. Treves turns to Carr Gomm, as does
Merrick. Carr Gomm lowers his eyes.
John, may I introduce you to Sir
Hello... my name is John Merrick. I
am very pleased to meet you.
Carr Gomm, still shaken, instinctively offers his hand.
I'm very... pleased to meet you.
Before Carr Gomm can withdraw his hand, Merrick grasps it
with his left hand.
There is an uncomfortable silence. Merrick releases it. Carr
Gomn, nervously clears his throat.
How are you feeling today?
I feel much better. Thank you for
asking. And you?
I'm feeling very fit, thank you. How
is your bronchitis?
I feel much better. Thank you.
Are you comfortable here?
Everyone has been very kind. I am
Mr. Merrick likes the food here.
Don't you John?
Oh yes! It is much better than what
I am used to.
(after a pause)
And what was that, John?
There is another agonizing silence.
(to Carr Gomm)
...Yes potatoes... but...
But the variety of food here is very
pleasing... I commend you.
(after a pause)
I understand that you were beaten?
Merrick is at a loss. This is not part of the expected
Oh no, everyone has been very kind.
No, I meant in your former situation.
Merrick doesn't seem to understand.
I'm feeling much better now...
Carr Gomm stares levelly at Treves for a moment, then asks
Tell me, how do you like Mr. Treves?
As a teacher?
...I... everyone has been very kind
Of course. How long did you and Mr.
Treves prepare for this interview?
Merrick looks at Treves for guidance, but Treves cannot look
him in the eye.
...everyone has been very kind.
Yes, of course... Well, it's been a
pleasure meeting you, Mr. Merrick.
Thank you, John. You did very well.
Treves and Carr Gomm go out the door onto the landing. Merrick
sees his chance escaping him and tries to recapture their
(his voice is gaining
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
want. He maketh me to lie down in
(he continues through
the following dialogue)
Treves and Carr Gomm are alone on the landing, speaking
It was a nice try, Treves, but the
man is so obviously mouthing your
Yes, I'm very sorry to have wasted
your time, sir. I just felt that I
had to do anything I could to protect
I'm sorry too. He simply doesn't
belong here. He's be much happier
somewhere else, where he could be
constantly looked after. Believe me,
Frederick, it's better that it worked
out this way. Good day.
Merrick has come to the end of what Treves taught him to
say. He makes one last, desperate attempt to be heard.
Treves, disheartened, stands on the landing as Carr Gomm
starts down the stairs.
(now full voice)
Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy
rod and Thy staff, they comfort me...
Treves is staring, open-mouthed, back into the room. Carr
Gomm looks up at him.
What is it, Treves?
Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of mine enemies, Thou
anointest my head with oil...
I didn't teach him that part!
Treves rushes back into the room, followed by Carr Gomm.
My cup runneth over. Surely goodness
and loving kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life, and I shall
dwell in the house of the Lord
There is a long silence as all three men stare at each other.
How did you, know the rest? I never
taught you the rest of it.
I don't understand.
Tell me, John, how did you know the
rest of the 23rd Psalm?
I... I used to read the Bible every
day. I know it very well. The Bible,
and the Book of Common Prayer. The
23rd Psalm is very beautiful.
A few minutes later. We hear voices inside the room.
It was a great pleasure to meet you,
I am very pleased to meet you.
I hope we can talk together again
sometime. Good day.
The door opens and Carr Gomm and Treves come out.
I'll be right back.
He closes the door.
I want to see you in my office as
soon as you're through up here. We've
a good deal to discuss.
He starts down the stairs.
Of course, sir. Thank you, thank you
Carr Gomm stops on the stairs.
Treves. Well done.
Not me, sir. Mr. Merrick. He succeeded
in spite of my shortsightedness.
Merrick is on the bed, propped up by pillows. The door opens.
Treves comes in, shuts the door and leans against it. They
look at each other for a moment.
Why did you let me go on like that,
teaching you what you already knew?
Why didn't you tell me you could
You did not ask me.
I never thought to ask. How can you
ever forgive me?
Oh, no do not say that. You have
been so kind to me. I was afraid to
say too much. People always want me
to be quiet. You wanted me to speak,
but I was afraid. Forgive me.
We do have a lot to talk about, don't
CARR GOMM'S OFFICE
Carr Gomm is seated at the window, looking out silently.
There is a knock at the door and Treves enters. He quietly
closes the door and walks to the window. Carr Gomm never
Can you imagine what his life has
Yes, I think I can.
No you can't. You can't begin to
know, no one can.
Carr Gomm suddenly stands and faces Treves.
You are quite right, Treves, this is
an exceptional case. And I quite
agree that the committee should see
I could easily arrange...
No, not that way. Broadneck and the
others don't like to deal with
patients directly. It makes them
queasy... Do you have any photographs
of Mr. Merrick?
Excellent. We shall present them,
along with the other particulars of
the case to the committee. I want
them to see, exactly, how horribly
his body has been affected. You and
I shall vouch for his inner qualities.
Do you think they'll go along with
Of course they will. They're
Merrick is in bed, very tired. It's been an exhausting day.
Suddenly the door opens and Mothershead comes into the room.
Merrick looks up at her very apprehensively. She walks over
to the bed, picks up the Bible from the table, opens it and
hands it to Merrick.
Merrick looks down at the Bible.
Thou heardest my voice; hide not
thine ear at my breathing, At my
Mothershead backs slowly to the door, deeply disturbed. She
stares at Merrick for a moment.
Credit where credit is due. You'll
have the paper every morning at
She quickly turns and exits. Merrick looks down at the Bible.
It is open to "Lamentations".
HALLWAY - THE LONDON (NIGHT)
As before the lights are going off in one hallway after
another. The hallways are empty, dark and silent. We hear
the great iron door close with a bang.
ISOLATION WARD (NIGHT)
Merrick is in his bed as always. He holds the portrait of
the beautiful woman, gazing at it longingly. He hears a door
close far away in the silence of the hospital.
Suddenly we hear the heavy footfalls of the Night Porter's
boots. As they get louder and louder we move slowly closer
to Merrick's face.
The sound is very close now, and Merrick's eyes are visibly
Finally, the door bursts open and the Night Porter is standing
there. He stares malevolently at Merrick for a long moment
and then walks to him menacingly.
I hear you have some trouble
He grabs Merrick fiercely by the hair and jerks his head
back. Merrick immediately starts to wheeze and gasp.
Head's too heavy, eh?
He pulls Merrick all the way down onto the bed, so that he
is prone, struggling for breath.
And I heard a nasty rumor about you;
I heard you can talk but you can't,
can you... can you... can you?...
The Night Porter is as first surprised, and then pleased at
the desperate sound.
No... No you can't! One word about
me out of that stinking cakehole...
Just ONE word, and you'll have no
trouble at sleepin'... no trouble at
all. You understand me? Do you!!
Satisfied, the Night Porter rights Merrick who is just able
to catch his breath. The Night Porter smiles and pats Merrick
on the shoulder.
There now, that's better, i'n' it?
Treves and Carr Gomm are on their way to the committee
meeting, confident of their position. Treves is holding a
folder, and Carr Gomm is looking at the photographs of
As far as I can see, the only obstacle
might be Broadneck. He has enormous
influence over the others, very old
school, not an easy man to impress.
In any case, if worse does come to
worse, we still have the British and
Royal Homes to fall back on, don't
Treves is silent. They stop.
No, we don't. Their committees have
informed me that they're unwilling
to take Mr. Merrick, even if they
were supplied with funds. They don't
Well, it's up to us then, isn't it?
They continue walking.
Don't worry Treves, we'll make them
see it our way.
He looks at the pictures.
They've eyes, haven't they?
They go through a door marked "Committee Room".
COMMITTEE ROOM - THE LONDON HOSPITAL
We see a pair of hands. One of the photographs of Merrick is
passed to them.
They hold it for a moment, then lay it down flat on the table.
One of the hands covers the photograph with a piece of paper.
...Due to the progressive nature of
the disease, I feel sure that the
patient does not have much longer to
We pan up from the hands to see BROADNECK, his face pinched
with disgust. He sniffs, and gazes coolly at Treves.
Forgive the redundancy, gentlemen,
but there is no other place for him.
Both the Royal Hospital and the
British Home have turned him down
even if sufficient funds for his
care were provided. The workhouse is
certainly out of the question. The
patient has an overwhelming fear of
returning to the horrors of his past.
His appearance is so disturbing that
all shrink from him. He cannot, in
justice to others, be put in the
general ward of the workhouse. The
police rightly prevent his being
exhibited, and he is mobbed in the
streets wherever he goes. What is to
be done with him?
I, for one, am sick and tired of
this competitive freak-hunting by
these overly ambitious young doctors,
trying to make names for themselves.
To parade then about in front of the
pathological society is one thing,
but to waste this committee's valuable
time with requests for shelter for
these abominations of nature is quite
Gentlemen, John Merrick is not an
animal, he is a man, fully aware of
his condition. An intelligent,
sensitive, literate man, with an
intimate knowledge of the Bible. His
horrible infirmities do not reduce
him to anything less than what he
is, a man; and it would be criminal
if we of the London Hospital, his
final refuge, the last place on earth
where this man can find peace, were
to cast him out.
Carr Gomm, from his chair on the committee, pounds his gavel.
Gentlemen, may I make a suggestion.
There are two small rooms off Bedstead
Square that are no longer in use and
would be admirably suited to Mr.
Merrick's needs. I also propose to
write a letter to The Times, appealing
to their readers for assistance.
Knowing the generosity of the British
public, I feel we would have little
trouble in raising the funds for his
maintenance. Indeed, this hospital's
rules do preclude the admission of
incurables, but if ever there was an
exception to the rule, it is this
patient. So therefore, I propose, if
Mr. Treves is finished, that we put
it to a vote. All those in favor of
keeping Mr. Merrick here?
Carr Gomm and another committee member raise their hands.
Broadneck is displeased.
(showing the picture
as far as I'm concerned this creature
has no business being in our hospital.
I think Mr. Carr Gomm's letter would
be an excellent idea,
(to Carr Gomm)
and when you appeal for funds, I
think you should appeal for a more
appropriate place for him as well. I
agree the British public is generous,
and I'm sure that somewhere the
creature will find a happy and
permanent home, but not here.
One of the committee members says "I quite agree". Carr Gomm
scowls a bit.
I see. All, then, that move we keep
Mr. Merrick here?
Carr Gomm raises his hand. None of the others do. Treves and
Carr Gomm exchange hopeless glances. Carr Gomm looks at the
man who had originally raised his hand. He looks away,
All those opposed?
Broadneck and the rest raise their hands.
Well then. In the meantime, of course,
he needn't be turned out. He may
stay in the rooms off Bedstead Square
until such time as more suitable
arrangements can be made, thus freeing
the Isolation Ward for more deserving
patients. Well then, Mr. Chairman,
if there is nothing further to
discuss, I move that we adjourn this
meeting and all go bout our normal
Carr Gomm cannot conceal his contempt.
I second the motion gentlemen. This
meeting is adjourned.
The others cough their agreement and hurriedly leave the
room. Treves walks over to the committee table and takes the
paper off the photograph. He stares sadly at Merrick's
Somehow I don't think they quite
THEATRE DRESSING ROOM
We see a very lovely WOMAN seated in a chair before a mirror.
She is reading aloud from The Times. Her hair is being brushed
by a YOUNG GIRL.
...terrible though his appearance
is, so terrible indeed that women
and nervous persons fly in terror
from the sight of him, and that he
is debarred from seeking to earn his
livelihood in any ordinary way, yet
he is superior in intelligence, can
read and write, is quiet, gentle,
not to say even refined in his mind.
She turns to the girl thoughtfully.
I'd very much like to meet that
gentleman. He sounds almost
DINING HALL - THE LONDON
The room is elegantly furnished and heavily carpeted. The
walls are panelled in richly gleaming walnut with finely
wrought brass lamps spaced regularly along their length. In
the center of the room is a long oak table with a fine linen
table cloth, around which sits a number of Doctors, among
Some of them are still eating. A waiter is clearing away a
few plates and several Doctors are helping themselves to
port wine kept in decanters in the center of the table and
to cigars in humidors. One of them is reading The Times. At
one end of the table sits Treves, picking at his food.
"...in life until he came under the
kind care of the nursing staff of
the London Hospital and the surgeon
who has befriended him..."
Good publicity for the Hospital, at
Treves comes off well too, eh Freddie?
It was pleasant of you to join us
this evening, Frederick.
Your Elephant Man dining out this
I understand the kitchen ran out of
hay this morning.
The group laughs.
Do continue reading, Mr. Stanley,
"...it is a case of singular
affliction brought about through no
fault of himself; he can but hope
for quiet and privacy during a life
which Mr. Treves assures me is not
likely to be long,"
There is a short pause.
The Elephant Man. Makes you sound
rather more like a zoo-keeper than a
The group again laughs. Treves clears his throat and rises.
Excuse me gentlemen. I seem to have
lost my appetite. Good evening.
Treves leaves the room.
I say, what's he on about?
He's getting a bit of a swelled head,
if you ask me.
Well, no one did ask you Atkins.
Frederick Treves is not only the
most skillful surgical operator here,
he's also a humanitarian of the
highest order. You sound like a pack
of whining school boys with your
Look here, Fox, I simply said.
Oh belt up!
A deep silence falls over the Doctors.
BEDSTEAD SQUARE ROOMS (NIGHT)
We see a small, very dusty, dirty room, filled with boxes
and bedsteads and other things stored over the years. The
one grimy window is locked shut.
The door opens and two middle-aged CHARWOMEN enter. They
look around at the room with distaste and drop their mops
There are cleaner rooms in the
She reaches into her apron pocket and pulls out a pint bottle
of gin. She takes a drink and passes it to her friend.
Who's all the fuss for, then?
(wiping her mouth)
Don't you know? It's for that strange
Mr. Treves' Elephant Man? I hear
he's got a trunk.
The 1st Woman takes the bottle and walks across the room.
She forces open the balky window and sits on the sill.
Blimey, now we're cleanin' up for
The 1st Woman, laughing, takes another healthy swig from the
bottle. We see past her through the window, the dark
silhouette of the main spire of St. Philip's Cathedral against
It fills the screen.
Merrick sitting on his bed, hunched over in concentration
reading an Illustrated London News. He is staring at a picture
of the Eddystone Lighthouse.
"A silent shaft of stone on a deserted
promontory, the lonely Eddystone is
a beacon of aid and comfort to
mariners of all nations."
He looks at the picture silently. There is a knock at the
door. Merrick says, "Come in". Treves enters, holding a book.
Good evening. How are you feeling?
Good evening. Very well, thank you.
Very well, thank you. I have something
for you, John. I'm sure you'll enjoy
it, it's very popular.
He holds the book out to him. It's an "Alice In Wonderland".
Thank you... so much... oh it's
He lovingly feels the leather binding and looks at Treves
with speechless gratitude.
Merrick carefully opens the book to a colored frontpiece,
the picture of Alice grown too large for a hallway, looking
imploringly at the dwarfed White Rabbit. The caption reads
"...curiouser and curiouser". He leafs through the pages
looking at the other illustrations as Treves, delighted with
the gift's effect, looks on.
I came to tell you that I'll be here
early tomorrow morning. We're moving
you to your permanent home. I'm sure
you'll be very happy there, John. So
get a good night's rest, there'll be
new people to meet tomorrow. Good
Treves smiles broadly and exits.
Treves' words have disturbed Merrick. He sinks into the
pillows, the book before him. We see the picture of the Mock
Turtle perched upon his rock, great tears rolling down his
cow-like face, as Alice and the Gryphon look on with intense
sympathy. Merrick looks up at his disguise hanging on the
THE PEACOCK PUB - WHITECHAPEL
The Night Porter enters and saunters over to the noisy crowd.
As they welcome him, he slaps down The Times on the bar
counter for all to see.
Here... listen to this. This is a
letter to THE London Times from the
guvnor of the hospital.
(starts to read)
There is now in a little room off
one of our attic wards a man named
John Merrick, so dreadful a sight
that he is unable even to come out
by daylight to the garden. He has
been called The Elephant Man on
account of his terrible deformity...
The Night Porter has the undivided attention of the people
in the pub.
...His appearance is so terrible
that woman and nervous persons fly
in terror at the sight of him.
...and guess who can get you tickets
to see him? Your own Sunny Jim!
YOUNG MAN IN CROWD
Let's go see him, then!
Keep your shirts on.
(shaking his finger
...When the time is right. Right now
he's in the attic but tomorrow they're
movin' him into Bedstead Square,
right into my lap... then... for the
right price you'll see something
you'll never see again in your life.
He lifts his glass to his lips. We move back to see Bytes'
boys who, having heard the Night Porter's words, slips
unnoticed from the pub.
HALLWAY - MOVING DAY
Merrick, in his disguise, and Treves, one arm around him,
are walking together. Merrick seems very uneasy.
A Nurse, on duty early or late getting off, passes them. She
stares at the hooded figure. They continue on in silence.
BEDSTEAD SQUARE ROOM
The room is now spotless. It is furnished with a bed and the
required pillows, a small table and chair by the window, now
curtained. Adjoining this room is a smaller one which contains
Merrick enters and looks around, confused. Treves stands in
Merrick turns to him.
This is your new home, John.
Merrick pulls off his hood. His eyes are bewildered.
This... is my new home?
Of course! What did you think?
Merrick's eyes glisten with held back tears. He lowers them.
How long will I stay here?
I promise you. You will never see
the inside of that horrible place
again. You will never, ever go back
to the workhouse... or that man.
It's a splendid room, don't you think?
Merrick inspects his new home. He seems pleased-by the
bathtub, by the table, by the window to the outside world.
Merrick pulls the curtain aside and opens the window. He
looks out and then up with a small intake of breath. Before
him, beyond the hospital fence, the spire of St. Phillips
Cathedral stands resplendently in the morning light.
When I'm next moved may I go to a
lighthouse?... or to a blind-asylum?
We see Carr Gomm walking to his office. He is met at the
door by an anxious Treves.
Has the response picked up?
Frankly, Treves, it's not what I'd
expected. A few small cheques. Well-
wishers. Don't worry, these things
undoubtedly take time.
But he's so afraid he's going to be
carted off. I've promised him that
Well... I'll let you know if there's
something in the afternoon post.
Carr Gomm goes back into his office and Treves walks off.
MERRICK'S ROOM (A WHILE LATER)
There is no one in the room. The bathroom door opens and
Nora and another nurse enter, carrying buckets which they
set down by the hall door. They straighten up and lean back
Mrs. Mothershead enters from the bathroom, speaking over her
shoulder to Merrick.
Well, I think I can safely hand the
duties over to you girls now. Mr.
Merrick will require a bath every
day... that way he won't pong quite
so much. Nora, you can instruct
Kathleen on the finer points of Mr.
Merrick's bath. You'll be on your
The girls try to keep bright faces.
Don't look so glum girls. Such
enthusiastic volunteers should be
Mothershead starts to exit.
Oh, and girls, under no circumstances
are there to be any mirrors brought
into this room.
He's... so ugly!
Ugly or not, you're going to help
Merrick quietly enters the room, dressed in a billowy white
shirt and baggy black pants. The two nurses try to smile,
but he cannot look at them.
Feeling better now, Mr. Merrick?
Kathleen's eyes go wide at the sound.
You look very nice in your new
Merrick looks down at himself.
Thank you very much.
Well, if there is nothing more, I
suppose we'll be leaving you now.
The girls leave, taking the buckets.
Merrick, alone, walks about the room getting the feel of his
There is a knock at the door and Treves enters.
You look splendid, John.
Thank you very much.
When one is invited to tea, one must
look one's best.
ENTRY HALL AND SITTING ROOM - TREVES' HOME
The door opens. Merrick, disguised, enters, followed by Treves
who closes it and hangs up Merrick's mask on the coat rack.
The mirror has been removed, leaving a faint outline on the
Merrick is enchanted by the house. Treves takes him by the
arm and leads him into the sitting room. Anne appears at the
top of the stairs.
Make yourself comfortable, John.
Treves comes back to the foot of the stairs and smiles up at
Come and meet our quest, my love.
Anne manages a smile, comes down the stairs and together
they go into the sitting room.
Merrick is examining everything in the room. Nothing in this
almost magical world escapes his attention. The furniture,
the personal mementoes, particularly the pictures on the
fireplace. He turns around when he hears them enter, lowering
John Merrick, I'd like you to meet
my wife, Anne Treves.
Anne is startled, but conceals it very well.
I'm very pleased to meet you, Mr.
Anne extends her hand. John takes her hand and looks up very
slowly meeting her eyes. Anne smiles.
Then, Merrick bursts into tears. Anne is at a loss as to
what to do. Merrick takes his hand from hers and covers his
eyes, weeping pitiously. Treves puts his hand on Merrick's
John... what's the matter? John...
why are you upset?
I'm not used to such kindness. From
a beautiful woman.
Treves and Anne exchange worried looks.
Would you like a nice cup of tea,
Yes... thank you.
Yes, a cup of tea would go nicely.
Anne goes now to get the tea.
John... would you like to see the
rest of the house?
Merrick cannot answer through his sobs.
Come with me, John. I'll show it to
Anne is composing herself by busily fixing the tea and cakes.
She stops for a moment, takes a breath, and then resumes her
Treves and Merrick coming down the stairs. Merrick is calm
now. They go into the sitting room, where Anne is just setting
the tea tray out. Treves ushers Merrick to a highbacked sofa
and sits him down. Merrick is very shy of Anne.
Treves and Anne sit on the other side of the table.
Mr. Merrick, sugar?
Yes please, two.
One or two?
Anne serves the tea.
John loves the house.
Oh yes. You have so many nice things,
and so much room.
Yes, we do have a lot of room. But
you should see the place on weekends,
when I see patients here. Sometimes
there are so many, we have to set
them down wherever we can. In fact,
Mrs. Treves sometimes says that the
only room she can call her own is
Treves and Anne laugh good-naturedly. Merrick's face, as
always, is quite blank.
Well, it's a lovely bedroom. What do
you call that thing above the bed?
That's a canopy, John.
How is your tea, John?
It's very good. I'm enjoying my visit
with you very much. It's so very
kind of you to have me as a guest in
your home. I'm sorry I made a
spectacle of myself.
Not at all, John.
I love the way you've arranged your
pictures on the mantlepiece. Is that
the way it's done in most houses?
Who are they of?
Oh, our relatives... the children.
The children! May I see?
Treves goes to the fireplace and takes down a few pictures.
He hands a picture of the girls to Merrick.
(as if looking at an
The Children. Where are your children
Oh, they're gone for the day... with
(the word gives him
Friends. Ah yes, friends! How nice.
And here is one of Frederick's mother.
And here are my mother and father.
They have noble faces.
(a cord is struck)
I've always thought that myself.
Merrick sets the picture down carefully.
(ever so timidly)
Would you... would you like to see
He reaches into his cloak and brings out the small portrait
of the beautiful woman. Treves is absolutely amazed. Merrick
gently hands the picture to Anne.
Oh... why Mr. Merrick she's beautiful.
She has the face of an angel... She
was an angel. She was so kind... so
kind to me. It's not her fault, for
in the fourth month of her maternal
condition she was knocked down by an
elephant. I'm sure I must have been
a great disappointment to her.
Oh no, Mr. Merrick. No. No son as
loving as you are could ever be a
If only I could find her. If only
she could see me now, here, with
such lovely kind friends. You, Mrs.
Treves, and you, Mr. Treves. Then
maybe she would love me as I am.
I've tried to hard to be good.
At this, Anne is so extremely touched that she begins to
cry. She tries to hold it in, but to no avail. She reaches a
hand out to Merrick and he takes it. He tries to comfort
But Anne goes on, as Treves, in wonder, watches her and
Merrick locked together in the communication of intense
REAR ENTRANCE - THE LONDON
Merrick, in the dimly lit rear hall, is huddled over a trash
can tucked underneath a stairway. He pulls out a discarded
drug box. He holds it closely to his chest and goes into his
Merrick goes to his table and puts the box down. He hangs up
his disguise, then goes back to the window and pulls the
curtains aside. Moonlight bathes the table, illuminating the
portrait of his Mother. John seats himself and sets the box
in front of him. He reaches for a pencil, and then begins to
draw windows on the front of the box.
OUTSIDE MERRICK'S ROOM (MORNING)
Nora is coming down the hall with a breakfast tray. She stops
at Merrick's door and raises a hand to knock.
Merrick, as before, is hunched over the table, pencil in
hand. The sides of the box are covered with carefully drawn
windows and archways.
There is a knock at the door and Merrick, startled, looks
up. Nora enters and puts the tray on the table. She glances
at the box.
Good morning, Mr. Merrick.
She turns and walks to the cabinet for linen and bath
supplies. She opens it and takes out a clean towel and a
blanket. She pauses, and turns to look back at the table.
Merrick is concentrated on his work. Nora, curious now, walks
to the table.
Merrick, conscious of her presence, leans back in his chair
and looks up at her.
What is this that you're doing?
Merrick is silent.
(pointing at the box)
What is it?
Merrick points through the window.
What? Oh! I see! It's St. Phillips.
Oh, of course. Why... why that's
very good, I mean you've gotten the
windows and arches just right.
But it's so good, I mean... it's so
Thank you... very much.
Where did you get this box?
Merrick points out toward the hallway.
The hallway? Oh, the wastecan!
I meant no harm, it was the only
place where I could find cardboard.
I thought it has been thrown away.
It's alright, it was thrown away. No
one wants it. It's just that it's a
little dirty, that's all.
She sets the towel and blanket down as she leans closer to
inspect the box.
She points to a circle drawn on top.
The main spire.
The... oh, the spire! How silly of
me, it's as plain as day... Mr.
Merrick, where did you learn to do
...I learned a long time ago.
Nora looks at the box.
Oh, but how will you finish it? You
haven't any more cardboard.
Merrick, at a loss, shrugs his shoulders. The movement makes
Nora aware of his body, and he is the Elephant Man once again.
I'll have to find some more.
Yes... well, good day, Mr. Merrick.
She quickly exits. Merrick watches her go and then turns
back to his work.
He sees the towel and the blanket. He turns quickly to call
after Nora, but stops himself. Merrick takes up the towel
and blanket, walks into the bathroom, and carefully drapes
the towel over the back of the bath.
Merrick is at his table working on his cathedral. There is a
knock at the door.
Good morning, John.
John, there's someone here who would
like to meet you. Would that be
Merrick is a trifle apprehensive, but he agrees. Treves ushers
MRS. KENDAL through the door. At the sight of her, Merrick's
eyes go wide.
John, I'd like you to meet one of
the brightest lights of the British
stage, Mrs. Kendal. Mrs. Kendal,
Good day, Mr. Merrick.
I've brought you some things. I hope
you'll like, Mr. Merrick. I hope you
don't think it too forward.
I knew you'd understand. Here.
She-hands Merrick a nicely framed picture of herself. Merrick
is speechless, overjoyed by the gift.
I want you to know that I don't go
about giving my pictures to just
Oh, no. I would never think it! It's
so beautiful. You are so... I'll
give it a place of honor, here, next
to my mother.
He places it, with great care, next to his mother's portrait.
She's very pretty, your mother.
Treves smiles at them.
Merrick is a trifle nervous but Mrs. Kendal smiles at him
and he relaxes a little.
Mr. Treves says that you are in the
theatre. Do you live there?
Oh no, Mr. Merrick. I just work there.
Well, even to work there would be
wonderful. Is it beautiful?
You've never been?
Well you must go. It is one of the
most beautiful places on earth. Of
course, I'm rather partial.
Tell me about it, please!
It's very difficult to put into a
nutshell, but I should say the theater
is the shrine of the imagination,
where one may suspend disbelief and
travel anywhere in the world, to any
time you desire. You may look over
the shoulders of kings, unobserved,
battle with ruthless tyrants, and
marry the beautiful princess, all in
the space of a few hours. Onstage
you may be whoever you wish to be,
do anything you please, and always,
always live happily ever after. The
theatre is all the brightest and
best things of the world, Mr. Merrick.
It is lights and music, gaiety and
joy. It's... well, it's romance.
(the magic word)
That's one thing the theatre has in
great store. which reminds me. I
have something else for you...
She produces a beautiful leather-bound volume of Shakespeare's
works. Merrick takes it with reverence and begins to leaf
Have you read it?
No, but I certainly shall.
Merrick finds a place and begins to read.
Romeo and Juliet. I know of this...
"If I profane with my unworthiest
hand, This holy shrine, the gentle
fine is this: My lips, two blushing
pilgrims, ready stand, To smooth
that rough touch with a tender kiss."
Merrick, embarrassed by these last words, starts to close
Mrs. Kendal knows Juliet's lines by heart. She looks at
Merrick for a moment, then replies tenderly.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand
too much, Which mannerly devotion
shows in this; For saints have hands
that pilgrims hands do touch, And
palm to palm is holy palmer's kiss.
Merrick pauses, looking at Kendal, then continues.
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use
O, then, dear saint, let lips do
what hands do. They pray, grant thou,
lest faith turn to despair.
They both look at each other for a long, silent moment. Treves
is touched and amazed.
Why, Mr. Merrick, you're not an
Elephant Man at all...
Oh no... no... you're a Romeo.
THE PEACOCK - WHITECHAPEL
People are happily drinking and singing and laughing. Bytes
and the boy are keeping a watchful eye on the Night Porter,
who is making a deal with a couple of men at a table. They
hand over a few coins and follow the Night Porter out of the
pub. Bytes finishes his beer and thumps the glass down on
the bar. He wipes his mouth with his sleeve and he and the
boy casually follow the other three men out.
Bytes and the boy stand by the pub door, watching the men
cross the street and go to the back gate of the hospital
which the Night Porter unlocks, and leaves unlocked, but
closed, behind them. They walk into Bedstead Square, laughing
Bytes crosses the street and goes to the gate. He walks along
the iron fence and watches the Night Porter and his
"customers". He stops and waits to see where they go.
The Night Porter stands the two men before a window and
motions for them to wait. He goes through a door into the
hospital. After a few moments the window opens wide, and
there, neatly framed and silhouetted, stand Merrick and the
Night Porter, gripping Merrick's neck. The two men outside
start back in shock, but stand mesmerized by what they see.
We hear the laughter of the Night Porter echo across the
Bytes smiles broadly and says softly to himself.
So, there you are, my boy, my
A SITTING ROOM
We see a small circle of women having tea and gossip. One of
their daughters, off to the side, is reading a newspaper
Mummy, listen to this!
Hush, Jennifer, can't you see Mummy's
But it's about Mrs. Kendal, mummy!
The actress you go on so much about!
She has got the women's attention.
"Mrs. Kendal, always at the forefront
of fashion and form, was seen leaving
The London the other afternoon. No,
dear readers, the most facile actress
of our day has not been taken ill,
but rather said she was 'visiting a
friend'. And who was the lucky
recipient of this attention? Quick
enquiries proved it to be none other
than Mr. John Merrick, The Elephant
Man, with whom our readers are
undoubtedly familiar. After a chat
of three-quarters of an hour, Mrs.
Kendal was kind enough to leave Mr.
Merrick with an autographed portrait
of herself. Owing to a disfigurement
of the most extreme nature, Mr.
Merrick has never been properly
presented to London society. But
knowing that wherever Mrs. Kendal
goes, others inevitably follow, the
questions arises: Will London society
present itself to him?"
LONDON HOSPITAL GATE
A carriage draws up in the street outside the hospital. A
nicely dressed woman sticks her head out the window, looks
around and scowls disappointedly.
Nearby is parked another carriage and driver.
(to her driver)
Parkins, whose carriage is that?
Well mum, that looks like Alexander,
Lord Waddington's driver.
Lord and Lady Waddington! Well. Drive
back to the house.
I can't be seen in this.
They drive off.
Above Merrick's bookshelf we see a row of framed pictures of
prettily smiling society women. Mrs. Kendal has started a
fad. We pan slowly by them and down to Merrick's table where
his Mother and Mrs. Kendal have their place of honor. The
cathedral is also there. Beside it is a modest tea service.
We now see a GENTLEMAN standing behind a seated LADY. They
They are both very attractive and empty-headed, and seem on
the verge of screaming. They smile at Merrick who has been
talking the whole while.
Merrick holds an elegant, silvertipped walking stick across
his lap, and admires a ring that only fits his little finger.
Thank you for your kind gifts. I
can't say enough about this ring.
And this walking stick is ever so
dashing. So much more elegant than
my old one. More tea?
The Lady and Gentleman nod nervously. John takes the teapot
from the service and refills their cups. The Lady's hand
shakes, rattling the cup against the saucer.
If you have a chill I can close the
Oh no, no, no, I'm fine. Please... I
mean, thank you.
I don't get out as often as I'd like
to, for some people DO find my
appearance disturbing. Of course, I
can't fault them.
We see the smiling pictures.
People are often frightened by what
they don't understand.
We see the picture of Merrick's Mother.
And it is hard to understand, even
for myself, for you see, Mother was
so very beautiful.
We draw close to his Mother's picture.
How's your tea?
THE RECEIVING ROOM
Treves walks the Lord and Lady, their faces locked in terrible
silence, to the door. Mothershead, at her desk, watches them
pass with great disapproval.
(under her breath)
Watery headed bunch.
I regret that I must leave you here,
m' Lord, m' Lady. Thank you so much
for coming. It was an act of the
Oh no, Mr. Treves, the pleasure was
all ours. Good day.
As they turn to go, their faces drop, their loathing
undisguised. Treves closes the door. He goes to Mothershead.
Incredible, isn't it? Well, I think
John has had enough visitors for one
day, Mothershead. I've got a lecture
at the college, I'll be back this
Excuse me, sir. I'd like to have a
word with you.
Oh?... Well, quickly please,
Mothershead, I'm overdue.
I can't understand why you let those
people go in there, sir.
Now Mothershead, you have to
understand that this is very good
for John. He relishes contact with
people outside the hospital...
But you saw them, sir. They couldn't
hide their disgust. They don't care
anything for John, they're just trying
to impress their friends.
Aren't you being just a little harsh,
Mothershead? You yourself hardly
treated John with much loving kindness
when he first arrived.
I bathed him, didn't I? I fed him
and cleaned up after him! If loving
kindness can be called care and
practical concern, then yes, I did
treat him with loving kindness, and
I'm not ashamed to say it.
You're right, Mothershead, please
forgive me... Of course, I appreciate
everything you've done for John, and
I'm glad that you are concerned about
his welfare. But, I'm the physician
in charge and I must do what I think
best. I'm also very late, so please
He starts to go. Mothershead steps in front of him, detaining
If you ask me, sir, he's just being
stared at all over again.
We pan across Merrick's bookcase, now quite full, and we see
a few titles: "Moll Flanders", "Emma', "Jane Eyre", "Pamela",
and then to Merrick. He and Treves are reading poetry
When will the stream be aweary of
flowing under my eye?
When will the wind be aweary of
blowing over the sky?
When will the clouds be aweary of
When will the heart be aweary of
beating, and nature die?
Never, oh! Never, nothing will die.
the stream flows the wind blows the
heart beats Nothing will die.
Merrick closes his book and sits silently for a moment.
Mr. Treves, there is something I've
been meaning to ask you for some
...Can you cure me?
Treves is taken aback. He considers, then says tentatively.
No John, I can't. I can care for
you, but I can't cure you.
I thought as much.
Merrick rises. Treves ponders over what Merrick has just
said. He looks at Merrick and something very odd happens.
Merrick is looking levelly at him.
For the first and only time, we see expression on his face.
It is a calm, knowing look, almost a benign smile. At that
very moment there is a bright flash of light behind Merrick's
head, seemingly from the window. Treves blinks, unable to
comprehend what has just happened. When he looks again, the
moment has passed. Merrick, his back to Treves, moves to the
bookcase to replace the volume.
There's a knock at the door.
Nora enters with a brown paper parcel tied with string.
Merrick says nothing.
Are you looking for me, Sister?
No sir, Mr. Merrick.
I have something for you.
She puts the parcel on the table and opens it. We see several
squares of new cardboard, a cutting knife, a pastepot, and a
few brushes and some paint.
I thought these things would be
helpful with your cathedral.
Merrick examines the materials with reverence, and thanks
Treves is moved and a little disconcerted. Merrick lays the
things aside carefully and begins to pull the crude spires
from the discarded box. Nora smiles at the busy Merrick and
The cathedral is coming along nicely.
(bending over the
Yes, soon I will start the main spire,
but I must finish these columns first,
How kind of her!
Treves notices to his dismay that the growths on Merrick's
head are larger.
He finds it very difficult to disguise his concern.
How blind of me. Is there anything
else, John, anything at all that I
could get for you?
Oh no! There is nothing! I have
everything, you have given me
everything I could possibly want. I
am happy every hour of the day. I
only wish there was something I could
give to you.
Please John, it would give me so
much pleasure to give you something.
Something just for yourself. Isn't
there something you would like to
Merrick is silent. He goes over to his cloak, reaches into
it and pulls out a folded up advertisement. He hands it to
Treves, who examines it closely. It is an advertisement for
an-elegant gentleman's dressing bag, boasting ivory brushes,
silver fittings and Moroccan silk lining.
You want a dressing bag, John?
You don't think it's too gaudy, do
Mrs. Mothershead finds Treves walking slowly down the hall,
looking at the ad.
Mr. Treves, some more books arrived
for Mr. Merrick.
Thank you, Mothershead. Have a porter
put them in my office.
(seeing the ad)
A dressing bag.
Very smart indeed.
Yes. John wants it.
A dressing bag?
You don't think it's too gaudy, do
John thinks it's very dashing.
Something no gentleman should be
without. I'm inclined to agree.
He walks off.
A dressing bag?
MERRICK'S ROOM (DUSK)
Merrick is still at his cathedral working away. Suddenly, he
looks up at the window and the Night Porter is standing there
smiling wickedly, pointing a finger at him.
FADE TO BLACK:
SITTING ROOM - TREVES' HOME
Treves is standing by a table on which are two stacks of
books. Treves selects books from the stacks and puts them
into a box. Treves looks troubled. He takes one from the
pile and examines it. It's a copy of "Frankenstein".
You stay with me.
(calling from the
Dinner will be served, shortly, dear.
Getting no response, she enters.
More romances for John?
...Freddie! What's the matter? You've
been like this all evening.
Oh... I've just been thinking about
something that man Bytes said.
Oh, Freddie. What could that wretched
vampire say to upset you?
That I am very little different from
Oh that's absurd, Frederick. No, no
Frederick, that's all wrong! John is
happier and more fulfilled now than
he has ever been in his entire life.
And, that is completely due to you.
But why did I do it? What was this
all for? So John Merrick could live
out his last days in peace and
comfort? Or so I could become famous?
Frederick, just what is it that you
...Am I a good man or am I a bad
She holds him in her arms.
You're a good man. A very good man.
We see from Treves' eyes that he is not reassured.
BASEMENT - THE LONDON
It is very dark. There is a dim red glow coming from the
holes in a furnace door. We hear a door open and footsteps
coming downstairs. A man comes into the basement carrying
something large and black. He approaches the furnace and
opens the door.
The man is Treves. He is holding the stiff black surgeon's
coat of which he was once so proud. He looks at it for a
moment, and then stuffs it into the furnace. Inside, the
coat starts to smoke heavily, then bursts into flames.
Treves watches it burn, and then closes the door.
HALLWAY - THE LONDON HOSPITAL
We see Carr Gomm walking down the hall to his office.
Broadneck appears, going the other way.
Ahh! Broadneck! You'll no doubt be
pleased to know that we've received
a smashing response to my letter.
It's all very heartwarming, though
several letters do mention how beastly
it would be to part the poor fellow
from Mr. Treves and the staff, but
since the committee insists...
Good day, Carr Gomm.
Broadneck walks on. Carr Gomm goes into his office.
Mothershead is standing by the desk looking through a small
stack of mail.
Is this all there is for John?
I'm afraid so, Mrs. Mothershead.
We see in a pair of hands holding a buff colored envelope
embossed with the Royal Seal. We follow the hands down the
hall to a door where one of the hands knocks next to the
"F.C. Carr Gomm" sign, then enters the office.
Carr Gomm and Mothershead look up to see a porter with the
buff envelope enter. Carr Gomm takes the letter and the porter
exits. Carr Gomm opens the letter and reads, his expression
changing from concern to delight.
What is it? What is it?
Carr Gomm hands her the letter. Never having touched Royal
stationary before, Mothershead handles it delicately. She
begins to read.
COMMITTEE ROOM - THE LONDON
Broadneck and the other committee members are seated at their
table, anxious to get the meeting underway. They talk among
The door opens and Carr Gomm and Treves enter. Treves seems
quite nervous, but Carr Gomm is relaxed and smiling.
Don't you think this is a bit
premature? We don't have the backing
Steady on, Treves. Have a seat.
Treves sits and Carr Gomm takes his place at the head of the
table and raps his gavel.
Gentlemen, I know we begin every
meeting by reading the minutes, but
in the interest of speed I think we
should conclude a matter discussed
previously, to wit, that of Mr. John
Merrick, the Elephant Man...
Broadneck explodes to his feet. Carr Gomm smiles at Treves,
who looks quite grim.
Mr. Chairman! I was under the distinct
impression that we had concluded
discussion of this disagreeable
matter. Had we not ascertained that
an Elephant Man is not acceptable as
a patient? Have we not, very
generously, allowed the creature to
use two of our rooms until such time
as he could be properly disposed of?
Have we not...
CUT TO MERRICK'S ROOM
Merrick is working on his cathedral, painting details with a
very fine brush.
As he lifts the brush from the paint jar, a drop falls on
the table. Merrick carefully lays down the brush and wipes
up the spilled paint with a cloth.
I must be more careful!
CUT TO COMMITTEE ROOM
Which brings to mind my next point.
The rules, gentlemen, the rules. In
a society such as ours, it is of
paramount importance that we not
stray from the established order.
Has that order not already been
fearfully strained by allowing this...
this... sideshow exhibit to take up
residence, however temporary, in two
very useful rooms, the purpose of
which would be far better served in
accommodating treatable patients,
patients to whom this hospital was
originally dedicated? I believe we
have a duty...
Carr Gomm still smiles. Treves is about to spring to Merrick's
defense, but Carr Gomm catches his eyes and motions for him
to remain silent. Treves is perplexed. Carr Gomm checks his
CUT TO MERRICK'S ROOM
Merrick as before, busily working away. We see a ladybug
crawling slowly across the roof of the cathedral. Merrick
notices it and watches for a moment, then reaches up and
lays a finger alongside the bug. The bug crawls onto his
finger and Merrick holds it closer to him.
...Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home...
it's cloudy out, I know, but remember;
behind the clouds there is always
CUT TO WHITECHAPEL ROAD
We see a Royal carriage glide to a stop in front of the
hospital. A footman jumps down and opens the door. A very
elegantly dressed woman begins to emerge.
CUT TO COMMITTEE ROOM
Broadneck is still talking.
...In light of these facts, our course
is clear. The question is not whether
to accept this creature as a patient,
the question is when will those rooms
be vacated for use by better
qualified, more deserving cases? I
move that this Elephant Man be removed
from the premises immediately. We
have a sacred duty to cure the sick,
not care for circus animals. That is
my last word on the subject. Mr.
Chairman, shall we vote?
Broadneck turns to Carr Gomm. Carr Gomm checks his watch and
clears his throat.
I take it, Mr. Broadneck, that your
mind is fixed on this matter?
Broadneck blusters with rage.
Mr. Chairman! Don't you have ears? I
am unalterably opposed to any...
Carr Gomm smiles and again checks his watch. Treves is very
CUT TO HALLWAY
We see two nurses, their backs to us, walking down the hall.
They start to go in a doorway when they stop suddenly, very
startled, and curtsey deeply.
Mothershead comes into the hall, also curtseying madly. She
is followed by the elegantly dressed woman, who is followed
in turn by two footmen. They walk regally down the hall.
CUT TO COMMITTEE ROOM
...No, my mind is made up on this,
and I am resolved to stand firm. You
shall not sway me. May we now vote,
Mr. Chairman, at long last?
Carr Gomm checks his watch. The door to the room begins to
open. He smiles.
Yes, I believe that time has come.
The two footmen enter the room.
Gentlemen, Her Royal Highness
Alexandra, Princess of Wales.
The elegantly dressed woman enters. Everyone rises.
Good morning, gentlemen. I hope I am
Indeed not, your Highness. Your
presence is always greatly
appreciated. We were just about to
put the matter of Mr. Merrick to a
(he turns to the other
The Princess is very interested in
Mr. Merrick's fate.
Indeed I am sir, as is the Queen.
I have a brief communication from
her Highness which she has requested
I read to you: To the Governing
Committee, London Hospital. I would
very much like to commend you for
the charitable face you have shown
Mr. John Merrick, the Elephant Man.
It is laudable that you have provided
one of England's most unfortunate
sons with a safe and tranquil harbour,
a home. For this immeasurable
kindness, as well as the many other
acts of mercy on behalf of the poor,
of which Mr. Carr Gomm has kept me
informed, I gratefully thank you.
Signed Victoria, Empress of India,
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland.
(looking straight at
I am sure you gentlemen may be counted
on to do the Christian thing.
Alix seats herself.
Thank you very much, your Highness,
you may be sure we shall.
Broadneck seems very unnerved.
Well then, I move that Mr. John
Merrick be admitted to the London
Hospital on a permanent basis, on
condition that the Hospital shall
receive a yearly payment equal to
the cost of occupying one bed, and
that the funds for his care shall be
clearly separate from hospital funds.
All those in favor.
Carr Gomm raises his hand. The other members, puzzled, look
Quite red in the face, Broadneck looks at Carr Gomm, then to
Treves, then to the Princess. He seems to almost deflate,
then slowly raises his hand. The other members, now thoroughly
confused, raise their hands as well. Carr Gomm bangs his
gavel, smiling broadly. Treves is almost beside himself with
happiness, and the Princess is obviously very pleased.
The motion is carried.
Broadneck, humiliated, cannot look at anyone.
Well, now we may go about our normal
Merrick is working on his cathedral. It is almost finished.
He is detailing the spire, carefully painting in the
stonework. There is a knock at the door.
Please, come in.
Treves enters carrying a wrapped parcel, followed by Carr
Gomm, and Mothershead.
Good afternoon, John, Mr. Carr Gomm
has something he would like to say
Treves defers to Carr Gomm.
Mr. Merrick, it is my great pleasure
to welcome you, officially to The
London Hospital. The Governing
Committee this morning voted
unanimously to provide you these
rooms on a permanent basis. This is
your home now. I'm so very, very
pleased for you.
Merrick is speechless. He just looks from Treves to Carr
Gomm to Mothershead.
So you see, John, there's no need
for a lighthouse. All your friends
Welcome home, John.
Merrick finds it very difficult to speak.
You did this for me?
Please... please thank the governing
committee for me. I will do my utmost
to merit their kindness.
Merrick looks about him at his rooms. It's beginning to dawn
on him that this is indeed his, that at last he has a real
home, a place of his own.
(trying the words on
There is one more thing, John. Here.
Treves hands Merrick the package. Merrick carefully pulls
off the wrapping paper. Treves smiles. It's the dressing
bag. Merrick is overjoyed with the gift. He lovingly handles
the articles, taking them in and out of their compartments
opening and closing the bag.
Is it the one you wanted?
Oh, Mr. Treves. Mr. Treves.
Are you sure? Because I can take it
Mr. Treves. Thank you my... friends.
NIGHT TIME SKY
Clouds billowing, moving swiftly.
Merrick is alone, wearing his cloak and standing by the table,
cradling the dressing bag. He takes each article out of the
bag and lays it carefully on the table, all in very neat
order. He stares at the elegant objects, then rearranges
Merrick picks up the toothbrush, examining it with a sort of
reverence. He does the same with the ivory-handled razors
and the comb.
THE PEACOCK - WHITECHAPEL
There's a good crowd in tonight; lots of drinking and shouting
and glasses breaking. Several of the neighborhood "working
girls" are having a bit of a rest, looking for a laugh. The
Night Porter is rounding up customers, his pockets ringing
with coins. People have their hands raised urging the Night
Porter to take them along to see The Elephant Man. The Night
Porter goes to a table where a MAN sits with two of the girls.
Here now, these lovely ladies ain't
never seen it!
You're on mate.
(to all the others)
Alright, alright, that's enough for
The others all moan their disappointment.
Hang on, hang on, there's always
tomorrow night. Not to worry.
Bytes, sitting at his usual place at the bar, sees that
tonight is his chance.
The Night Porter rounds up his "customers", all twelve of
them. Bytes saunters over to the Night Porter.
Room for one more?
At the right price...
Bytes drops several coins in the Night Porter's hand.
Well, let's be off then.
The whole group happily leaves the pub, several still holding
their gin bottles. The Ladies are rather unsteady on their
feet. As they all leave, the Night Porter says:
Quietly now! Quietly! We don't want
to scare him.
(Merrick as before) he reaches over to the picture of Mrs.
Kendal and picks it up. We see his face reflected in the
glass. Merrick sets the picture down on the table. He takes
up one of the silver brushes and, using the picture as a
mirror, neatly brushes his hair over his monstrous skull. He
lays the brush down in its specific spot.
Merrick takes his ring and puts it on his left hand. He opens
the cigarette case and stuffs one into his right hand. He
takes up his walking stick, breathes deeply, then walks around
the room in a slow circle. Merrick is transforming himself.
Merrick comes back to the table and examines his reflection
in the picture. With the ring, the stick, the cigarette and
his neatly brushed hair, Merrick is the very image of a
dashing young man about town. He inclines his head to the
Hello, my name is John Merrick. I am
very, VERY pleased to meet you!
At this moment the door bursts open. The Night Porter stands
Merrick is frozen, caught. Seeing Merrick in his outfit, the
Night Porter's jaw drops. They both stare at each other. The
Night Porter begins to laugh hysterically. Merrick frantically
begins to put away his dressing bag articles. When Merrick
starts taking off his ring, the Night Porter comes over to
him and grabs him by the cloak.
No, no! You look lovely. Don't change
a thing, darling. You look like the
bleedin' Prince of Wales.
The Night Porter drags him by the neck to the window. He
throws the window open out in the square is the waiting
My friends... The Elephant Man!
He strips off Merrick's cloak. The audience gasps. A few
people who have been before laugh and clap.
MAN (W/THE WHORES)
(laughing and clapping)
Horrible... I told you it was
horrible... just horrible.
He starts kissing each whore. The crowd is mesmerized. Bytes
moves in behind the Man with the Whores.
Perhaps the ladies would like a closer
The Man begins to laugh. The Whores laugh drunkenly and
halfheartedly resist being taken in to see The Elephant Man.
As they are pushed through the door,
Come on Jack... No... No, don't.
The Whores reluctantly enter the room. The Night Porter laughs
at their discomfort. The Man notices all of Merrick's pictures
'Cor, he's a real ladies' man, come
on... give the ladies' man a kiss.
He lets one of the whores go and grabs the other one from
behind at the wrists.
Come on, you'll give him a kiss.
(still laughing but a
Come on, Jack.
The Night Porter has turned Merrick and is holding him for
the approaching kiss. The crowd is egging them on. The man
forces the Woman closer and closer and raises her arms to
force her into an embrace. As Merrick and the Woman touch,
being pressed together, the Woman begins to scream. The Night
Porter, the Man and the crowd all laugh with glee. Merrick
and the whore now have their faces pressed together. The
Whore is screaming and Merrick is crying out and screaming
Here that's enough romance. Now into
Merrick and the Whore are pushed onto Merrick's bed. The
Night Porter grabs the other Whore now. She begins screaming
A prince needs a harem!
He pushes the screaming Whore down onto Merrick. Her screaming
face goes right into his. Merrick tries to move away and as
he does his head goes too far back and his cried turn to
Mind his head... You'll kill him.
The crowd outside is trying to see in the window. Five or
six more have gone into Merrick's room to see. All are
laughing and screaming and trying to get a close look at The
Quiet down. Quiet down. You'll have
the whole place down on us.
Bring him out then, so's we all can
Merrick recognizes his voice and looks frantically around
for his former owner. The Night Porter pulls Merrick up by
the window again. He then begins pushing the crowd out the
Suddenly one of the crowd outside reaches up and grabs
Merrick's good hand and pulls him half out the window. Others
follow suit and haul him all the way through. The cathedral
falls to the floor, breaking into several pieces.
Because of the horror of touching him, the crowd outside
lets Merrick fall to the ground.
The Night Porter whirls around and sees that Merrick is gone.
He pushes the rest of the people outside and quickly goes to
Merrick, lifting him to his feet.
Unseen by anyone, Bytes slips into Merrick's room. Merrick
is now standing.
The crowd moves in. The Night Porter is enjoying the
festivities, but looks around nervously for trouble.
Give 'im a drink.
The Man grabs Merrick and pours some gin into his mouth,
then pushes him away.
He's caught by another man, fed liquor and pushed away. He's
pushed now from person to person faster and faster. Finally
Merrick falls to the ground, dizzy and a bottle of gin on
Merrick's head. He coughs and moans through the wheezing.
The crowd is now strangely silent circling The Elephant Man
like a pack of dogs closing in on a terrified rabbit. Suddenly
Merrick starts to wail. The crowd joins in and they hoist
him above their heads, screaming with laughter, around and
around, joining him all the while.
Now we see a window reflecting the scene of terror. A curtain
is pulled aside and we see through the reflection the face
of the Young Porter, watching everything.
NIGHT PORTER (V.O. THE REFLECTION)
Here now... Here now... He's had
enough... show's over!
Merrick is lowered down into the crowd. it parts and the
Night Porter emerges walking Merrick toward us to his room.
(to the crowd behind
Meet you at the Peacock.
ONE OF THE CROWD
Bring your friend.
He's had 'is fill for one night.
The crowd moves through the iron gate of Bedstead Square. In
the background we see Bytes' boy sitting on top of a wagon.
The Night Porter takes Merrick into his room and puts him on
the bed. He drunkenly stumbles about trying to out the room
in order. He places the smashed hulk of the cathedral back
up on its table, inadvertently leaving the spire and a few
columns on the floor. He picks the cloak up and replaces it
on the peg.
I did real well tonight.
He takes a purse full of coins out of his pocket. He removes
one small coin and flips it on the floor in front of Merrick.
Here... buy yourself a sweet.
The Night Porter turns and leaves.
Merrick, alone now, hears the Night Porter's echoing footsteps
and the distant sound of the gate being closed. There is a
long silence as Merrick collects himself. He then leans back
into his pillows with a deep sigh. His eyes close.
Merrick's eyes flash open. We see Bytes coming toward him.
Aren't you glad to see me?
Bytes lifts Merrick up off the bed. He reaches out for
Merrick's cloak. We slowly PAN over all the smiling women's
faces as we hear the following:
Get into your cloak...
...now, your hood... do it!
Rustling sound. We now glide slowly on to Merrick's Mother's
Merrick's good hand comes into the frame trying to reach his
He grabs at the table cloth and pulls.
Now we see Bytes gripping Merrick's arm and pulling. We see
the picture fall to the ground with a THUD.
In the sky the heavy clouds are moving.
MERRICK'S ROOM (MORNING)
Morning sunlight on the floor of Merrick's room. We move
slowly around, discovering the church spire, the columns,
the penny and Merrick's mother's picture.
Over this, the sound of knocking on the door. Through the
door, we hear Treves calling, "John?... John?" More knocking.
The door opens.
Treves surveys the empty room. Quickly he goes into the side
bathroom. He comes out with a very worried face. He goes to
the cathedral model and is horrified by its condition. He
finds the spire and then Merrick's Mother's picture. He
quickly leaves the room and walks down the hall. The Young
Porter, waiting in the hall, approaches Treves and stops
Now we see Mrs. Mothershead entering Merrick's room surveying
the same scene.
Her face hardens as she sees the picture of Merrick's Mother.
Good God... John?
Now we see Treves filled with anger. He's got the information
from the Young Porter and bolts down the hall at full speed.
Mothershead, still in Merrick's room, now become activated
with determination to get to the bottom of all this herself.
She leaves the room. In the distance is Treves marching off.
Closer to her is the Young Porter, looking worried. She calls
him to her.
CLOSE-UP of Treves angrily walking.
Mothershead leaves the Young Porter, furiously marching off
in the same direction as Treves.
The Night Porter is adding fresh coal to the operating room
stove. The old coals were still quite hot and now smoke begins
to rise. The Night Porter takes up the bellows and begins to
pump the coals into a blaze.
The door bangs open and Treves is there, standing stock still,
in a cold murderous rage.
WHERE IS HE?
The Night Porter, frightened by Treves' intensity, begins to
WHERE IS MR. MERRICK?
I... I don't know what you mean,
Treves stalks over to him.
Don't lie to me. I know all about
it. You were SEEN. Where did you
Take him? Now wait... I didn't take
him anywhere. We were just having
some fun. We didn't hurt him... just
having a laugh, that's all.
When I left him, he was in his bed,
safe and sound.
YOU BASTARD! You tortured him. YOU
TORTURED HIM, you bastard. WHERE is
YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME! I ain't
done nothing wrong. People pay to
see your monster, Mr. Treves. I just
take the money.
YOU'RE THE MONSTER! YOU'RE THE FREAK!
GET OUT! YOU'RE FINISHED!
Treves takes the Night Porter by the arm and begins to drag
him out. The Night Porter throws his hand off violently,
whirls around, his back to the door, and seizes the poker
from the stove.
Have a care, Mr. Treves. I ain't
afraid of you! You and your bleedin'
Elephant Man! I'm glad what I did!
And you can't do nothing! Only
Mothershead can sack me.
Treves, blind with fury, tears the poker from the Night
Porter's hand, and is on the verge of using it. Unbeknownst
to them, Mothershead has storm into the room, just in time
to hear the last of the Night Porter's speech. Without a
break, she strides over to him and with a lightning movement,
boxes him soundly on the ears. The blow is staggering and
makes quite a formidable sound. The Night Porter falls to
the floor, barely conscious.
OUTSIDE THE SHOP (DAY)
Treves is standing in the street looking at the now bare
shop front. He walks to the window and tries to clean a small
circle in the glass. He peers in.
From inside, through the smeared dirty window, we see Treves'
CARR (V.O. THROUGHOUT)
I'd like to think I felt no less for
John than you, Treves, but face the
facts, the man has disappeared, very
likely to the continent. There's no
question of your going after him,
you're desperately needed here by
your patients. Remember Treves, you
did everything in your power...
everything in your power.
FADE TO BLACK:
INSIDE A WAGON
A moving circle of light in blackness.
As we move closer to the light, it becomes distinguishable
as a peephole in the side of a wagon. Through the peephole
we see a dark overcast sky. It is dusk. We move even closer
to the hole. Just beside it we see the head of a horse with
blinders on moving alongside. We move closer still to see
its rider, a policeman. He notices the peephole and leans
forward in the saddle, looking in.
From outside, we see the peephole and an eye gazing out. The
eye is replaced by a plug.
The policeman starts back and pulls up on the reins. As he
falls behind we see the portrait of the E.M., from the front
of the shop in London, on the back of the wagon. The policeman
looks at the poster. The wagon moves on out of frame and the
policeman slows his horse to a stop.
The wagon is being driven by Bytes. The boy sits beside him.
Another policeman rides abreast of him. They ride a few yards
more and then the policeman stops by a sign at the fork of
the road, reading "AALST 30 km". "Brussells 80 km." The
policeman gestures for Bytes to move on. The wagon continues
down the road.
Bytes and the boy are riding along the road. Bytes turns in
his seat and opens a hatch in the roof. He looks down in.
Inside the wagon, lit by the last dregs of the sunset, is
Merrick, huddled in his sleeping posture. He feels the light
and looks up weakly, wheezing, obviously very sick. A small
bowl of potatoes sets untouched beside him.
Still haven't eaten, eh?
Eat, my treasure, I want you healthy.
He snaps the hatch shut and turns forward muttering to
I'm beginning to feel your weight.
FIELD & ROAD (MORNING)
We see a field with a road in the distance, leading to it.
It is misty, the sun barely peeking through the rolling clouds
above. On the road, the wagon is plodding toward us. At the
bottom of the frame a FEMALE PINHEAD in a dress comes into
view. She is watching the wagon. A DWARF comes into view
beside her. She points to the wagon and she and the Dwarf
excitedly confer. They turn back to watch its progress and
the Dwarf reaches up and takes the Pinhead's hand.
We move back slowly to reveal a ring of circus wagons in the
ANOTHER DWARF comes up to the two other Freaks and watches
the wagon. We pull back further to see a small circus. There
are little stalls, and cages containing two mangey lions,
some screeching spider monkeys and some squawking parrots.
The circus is abustle in the drab grey field.
CLOSE-UP of the Pinhead jumping up and down in her excitement.
There is a clap of thunder.
A rainstorm over the freak show. We pass along the row of
These freaks truly deserve the name. They are quite different
from the rather domestic ones we saw in the circus in England.
These are not fakes. A rope cordons us off from them.
The audience, which we see all around us, is enjoying the
freaks, but there is a sense of vulgarity in their gaiety.
They seem hard, and cold and jaded.
We move by pinheads, a Hermaphrodite and a Legless Wonder.
Some Siamese Twins are playing cat's cradle. Past them runs
a Dwarf with a plumed hat playing a small flute. Trailing
behind him on a string is a small wooden ark on wheels.
A lionfaced man is combing the hair that covers his face. A
Rubber Man pulls the skin of his neck up over his face. There
is a fairly big crowd standing around a Tall Man,
affectionately rubbing the Small Parasitic Twin, growing out
of his chest. The Barker-Owners compete with each other and
the occasional thunder.
Finally we hear the patter of Bytes, telling of the horrible
fate of John Merrick's Mother on that African Isle so many
years ago. A very big crowd is listening to him. They are
looking at the poster at the back of the wagon, waiting
impatiently to see the Elephant Man.
...The result is plain to see. Ladies
and Gentlemen... THE TERRIBLE ELEPHANT
He raps twice with Merrick's silver-tipped walking stick and
pulls the poster up. Merrick is standing unsteadily in the
wagon. He is quite sick. The audience gasps and shudders. A
few shrieks are heard. The Elephant Man is always the Elephant
Merrick slowly turns around, the audience gasping at the
sight of the horrible tumors. Bytes raps the walking stick
Merrick begins a series of awkward movements, his pained
version of a dance.
Without his walking stick it is very difficult for him, but
he strives to do it. Some of the crowd laughs at this, others
shudder at the strange sight.
Suddenly Merrick falters and comes to a stop, breathing
irregularly. Seeing this, Bytes goes to him and bringing the
stick behind Merrick, out of view of the audience, jabs him
savagely in the back.
Merrick groans with pain and some of the people in the first
row flinch back.
Merrick begins to dance again as people throw coins onto the
stage, which the boy gathers and puts into a cap.
THE BACK OF THE WAGON - DAY
The poster is rolled up, Merrick on the floor of the wagon
Beside him on the floor is a bowl of what looks to be slop
Bytes is standing at the back of the wagon looking down at
Merrick. He picks up the bowl and jabs it at Merrick.
Eat, my treasure.
Merrick looks wearily at the bowl but makes no move to accept
Eat. I said eat!
Merrick closes his eyes. This really enrages Bytes.
Eat, damn you. EAT! EAT!
He jabs the bowl at Merrick, almost as if he'd shove it down
I said EAT!!
At this last word he throws the contents of the bowl
splattering in Merrick's face. He stands for a moment looking
down at Merrick who has lapsed into a coughing fit.
SIDE OF THE WAGON - DAY
There is a small crowd gathered in a circle on the grass.
Merrick stands amidst them on a small wooden stool, Bytes
jabbing him from behind again.
Merrick is making a strange moaning cry, slightly reminiscent
of the trumpet of an elephant. The boy is passing amongst
the people with a cap, collecting coins. Merrick lifts his
face to the sky, the sound of his own misery mingling with
his elephant call.
SMALL CIRCUS - NIGHT
We see the poster of the Elephant Man. Bytes stands before
it saying the last of the patter.
The result is plain to see. Ladies
and gentlemen... THE TERRIBLE ELEPHANT
He raps twice with the walking stick and pulls the poster
Merrick is now extremely sick. He almost looks as if he is
unable to stand.
The audience, as always, is quite alarmed. Bytes smiles and
Merrick looks incapable of even this simple movement, but he
slowly manages to turn. The crowd reacts to the horrible
condition of Merrick's back and head.
Bytes satisfied that the Elephant Man is having the proper
effect, raps the walking stick again.
Merrick's eyes look painfully up to the heavens and he begins
to shuffle clumsily about the platform. Without his stick
this is very difficult for him, causing him great pain. It
is a humiliating spectacle and the crowd unimpressed by the
halting movements of the monster begins to heckle him.
Bytes seeing that the dancing isn't being received well moves
to place a stool next to Merrick.
Merrick, already exhausted by his little dance, wheezes and
coughs, attempting to ascend the stool. It is useless, he is
just too tired. Again the audience shouts its disapproval,
booing and hissing the Elephant Man. Bytes curses and raps
again, demanding obedience from Merrick who again bravely
tries to mount the stool. He cannot do it!
Bytes, striving to save the moment and please the angry crowd,
goes to Merrick and roughly helps him up. Merrick teeters
precariously on the stool. Bytes raps the stick.
Give the call of the elephant!
Merrick hesitates and Bytes bangs the stick on the wagon.
The audience quiets down to hear the elephant call. Merrick
senses this lull, but he is very frightened and sick. He
lifts his head wearily and makes a few wavering cries that
sound very little like an elephant.
Merrick tries again but there is no improvement. The crowd
begins to jeer at
Merrick, exhorting him to make the call of the elephant.
Merrick is now almost swaying on the stool. He attempts to
step down, but as he does it finally becomes too much for
him and he collapses into a heap on the wagon floor. The
crowd is no longer in the least bit challenged by this piteous
mess and they break out into a vocal fury, throwing objects
at the wagon.
Bytes is humiliated at first, and then is quickly angry. He
turns to Merrick.
Get up you miserable bastard!
But Merrick just lays there moaning and wheezing irregularly.
I SAID, GET UP!
He jabs Merrick a few times with the silver-tipped walking-
stick. The crowd jeers even louder still. There is a clap of
(realizing it's no
I'm beatin' a dead horse.
SMALL CIRCLE OF WAGONS (NIGHT)
Bytes is seated by a campfire drinking from a bottle of wine.
He is very drunk. From the wagon behind him we can hear
Merrick coughing and wheezing.
We also hear the boy, almost pleading with Merrick to stop
coughing and to try to eat. As Bytes listens he gets angrier
and angrier. Finally he rises clumsily to his feet and
stumbles over to the back of the wagon.
Another bleedin' heart!
The boy is crouched over Merrick, who looks little better
than a corpse.
Bytes points a menacing finger at Merrick.
You sly bastard. You're doing this
to spite me, aren't you!
Aw, Bytes, he's sick.
He's doing it to spite me, I tell
you, and it's got to stop!
He's sick, Bytes. He's going to die.
If he does it's his own fault! But
I'm not burying that swollen bag of
He reaches in and grabs Merrick roughly by his arm, dragging
him out of the wagon.
What are you going to do?
I'll show you! I'll show you!
He drags Merrick across the way to a small monkey wagon. The
boy follows, his face filled with sympathy for Merrick. Bytes
opens the cage door and stuffs Merrick in as the monkeys
He slams the door and latches it. Then he quickly turns,
still in his rage, and starts for the wagon. As he passes
the boy, the boy tries to stop him.
Bytes knocks the boy down with the back of his hand. He stalks
to his wagon and climbs inside. After some muffled sound,
Merrick's food bowl comes flying out. There are more muffled
sounds as Merrick's stick, cloak and hood are also thrown
out one by one.
The boy looks to Merrick who is in a panic trying to keep
himself away from the monkeys who scream loudly in all the
excitement. We hear Bytes, cursing to himself, in the wagon.
The boy, frightened, goes to the fire and pulls a blanket
Merrick crawls to one corner of the cage away from the
Suddenly one of the braver ones leaps at Merrick with a
scream, biting him on the arm, and moving quickly away.
Merrick yelps with pain and struggles to move away. The other
monkeys have gotten the idea now and they begin to move warily
toward Merrick, screeching threateningly. Another leaps out
and clings to Merrick's shoulder, biting and scratching
furiously then he too jumps away.
Merrick cries out.
Now the monkeys are getting braver and more and more of them
lash out at Merrick with their paws. They jump onto him with
savage screams, biting him on the head and neck and shoulders.
Merrick's eyes search for escape. The monkeys come on and on
without a break, screaming madly all the while.
With his good hand Merrick begins to pull himself up with
the aid of a bar.
The monkeys strive to pull him down. Merrick looks through
the bars at the wagon and screams frantically.
Bytes! Bytes, please!!
But Bytes won't come. Something is happening inside Merrick.
A wave of feeling is growing, coming from a place in him
very deep down and far away.
This feeling seems to give him strength and he is able to
pull himself all the way up in spite of the hairy moving
mass that now seems to cling to every part of his body.
The feeling is surging up inside Merrick making his body
shake uncontrollably as if he were a volcano about to erupt.
The monkeys keep on biting and screeching, pulling at him.
Suddenly a formidable cry rings out of Merrick's mouth, with
a power and assurance we have never heard from him before.
He whirls about and cries out again a shattering "No", the
force of which scatters most of the monkeys away from him
onto the cage floor, dumbfounded.
Merrick grabs a monkey who has managed to hang and throws it
into the group of monkeys on the floor.
NO! I AM NOT AN ELEPHANT! I AM NOT
AN ANIMAL!! I AM A HUMAN BEING! I...
AM... A MAN! I AM A MAN!!
The monkeys have been shocked into silence, pushed into the
other end of the cage. Merrick, perhaps as surprised as the
monkeys, rests against the bars of the cage. The monkeys
make no move toward him. They sit across the cage from Merrick
silently watching him with fear.
THE SILENT FACES OF THE MONKEYS
We now see Merrick crouched in a corner of the cage in his
We see the monkeys again, and hear whispering in the still
night. CU of merrick's head resting on his knees. The
whispering continues and a shadow falls across Merrick.
Merrick begins to stir, his head comes up, and he looks
around. The whispering stops.
We pull back to see some of the freaks from the circus
gathered around the monkey cage in a small group. They are:
2 pinheads (male and female), the dwarf we saw earlier with
the plumed hat and the ark on a string, another male dwarf,
a female midget, a lion-faced man, and an armless wonder.
The female pinhead reaches into the cage and pats Merrick's
Want to come out?
Of course! You want out?
Won't be a moment.
He looks to the lion-faced man and speaks to him in a foreign
tongue. The lion-faced man unlatches the cage door. Then,
after further instruction, from the plumed dwarf, the freaks
gently help Merrick out of the cage, closing the door behind
him. The dwarf speaks to the others again and the lion-faced
man and the armless wonder move to each side of Merrick. The
lion-faced man pulls Merrick's right arm over his shoulder.
Merrick puts his left arm around the armless wonder.
We've decided... You've got to get
away from here...
He and the other dwarf light two lanterns and they begin to
The boy by the wagon has awakened. He sees the small caravan
of freaks moving in the darkness, the light from the lanterns
bobbing over the grass. His first instinct is to call for
Bytes, which he almost does, but then he thinks better of
it. He rises and goes to where Bytes threw Merrick's stick
He nicks them up and goes to the small band of strangely
shaped beings. They stop and watch him warily.
(handing over the
Here... you'll need these.
Merrick looks the boy in the eye, and the boy holds his gaze.
Good of you, mate.
I'll be alright.
The small band moves away through the wagons. The boy watches
the lantern light receding in the darkness. He turns and
looks to the wagon, the poster of the Elephant Man, and the
dying fire. He moves to the fire quickly collecting a few
blankets and belongings. Then taking one last look at the
garish poster just visible in the night, he runs off into
WOODS - NIGHT
We see the beams of the lanterns moving through the trees
They help Merrick along, the plumed Dwarf directing them
from time to time. As they move along we see them pass a
small still pond.
DIRT ROAD - NIGHT
The intrepid freaks approach a bend in the road. They go
around the corner and before them stands a small train
station, a train sitting amongst the steam by a platform.
The freaks stop just outside the light of the station and
the plumed Dwarf's instruction get Merrick into his disguise.
The female pinhead, who has carried his stick, hands it to
Merrick, squeezing his hand.
Thank you, my friends.
The plumed Dwarf relays the message and the freaks respond
to Merrick in their language.
I'll go in with you, you'll need a
He turns and confers with the freaks who all rifle through
their pockets and produce some coins. Then he and Merrick
walk into the station, the freaks watching and waving.
ON THE PLATFORM
The train is about to leave. At a barrier two ticket
collectors are taking tickets of a few last-minute passengers,
who hurry off.
The Plumed Dwarf and Merrick appear and walk to the barrier.
The Plumed Dwarf hands over the ticket.
I'm just going to help my friend on
They walk off down the platform. The collectors stare after
The Plumed Dwarf, his arm around Merrick, is helping him
down the platform, as fast as possible, his ark trailing
behind him. As they pass the windows of the first-class
carriages, we see the ornate interiors and the happy, handsome
people on their plush seats.
The Plumed Dwarf finds an empty compartment and opens the
He looks down the platform. The Ticket Collectors are watching
them with great interest.
Merrick climbs laboriously aboard.
The other people on board see Merrick, react, and move away
from him as far as they can in the cramped, 3rd class
The Plumed Dwarf notices this and sniffs at the people with
I'm sorry I could only get you a
third class ticket, but it's all we
Oh no, my friend...
Say hello to London for me. I miss
You know, I saw you once there, in
London. You're a great attraction.
He grins. The whistle blows and the train slowly begins to
move off. The Plumed Dwarf still holding the door open, walks
along with it.
Luck, my friend, luck. Who needs it
more than we?
Merrick nods "yes", and holds out his hand. The train is
moving a little faster. The Plumed Dwarf grabs his hand and
He shuts the door. As the carriage passes, Merrick's mask is
pressed up against the window. The Plumed Dwarf waves to him
as the train moves away.
He looks at the train for a moment, then walks back down the
THIRD CLASS CARRIAGE - INTERIOR
Merrick is in the corner, facing into the carriage. He looks
The other passengers have moved away, forming almost a moat
of space around him. We see the whole carriage now; the
cowering people and Merrick at the far end. Seeing their
silent, horrified stares, he moves to the opposite seat,
facing the back wall. Merrick looks around for a moment,
then sees his reflection in the window. He stares at himself.
THIRD CLASS CARRIAGE
The carriage is dark now, and empty except for Merrick. He
looks out the window at a sign above a station platform that
says "Oostende", and at the few people still walking about.
OOSTENDE STATION PLATFORM (NIGHT)
We see the side of the carriage. Merrick, inside the darkened
car, is not visible. A CONDUCTOR walks to the end of the
carriage and turns a valve. He opens the door to Merrick's
I'm sorry, you'll have to leave now.
Merrick is motionless, reluctant to leave the security of
This is the end of the line, you'll
have to leave now.
Merrick pulls his walking stick from the darkness and plants
it firmly on the floor with a loud THUD. The Conductor,
expecting violence, draws back. A few people on the platform,
who have stopped to watch this exchange, gasp.
Merrick rises with the help of his stick, and slowly descends
from the carriage watched very carefully by the others. He
looks around for a moment, then walks off down the platform.
TWO YOUNG TOUGHS follow a little distance behind him, laughing
and mimicking his uneven gait.
OOSTENDE QUAY (NIGHT)
We see a short line of people waiting to board a cross-channel
steamer. The First-Mate is standing by the gangplank, smiling
at the women passengers and making the most of his handsome
face and crisp white uniform. He surveys the line, stops and
smiles even more broadly. A very pretty Young Woman at the
end of the line is smiling back.
We see the end of the quay disappearing into darkness towards
The rhythmic sound of Merrick's stick is heard as he slowly
moves into the light.
The Woman, still smiling at the First-Mate, demurely lowers
her eyes. Merrick appears behind her, breathing heavily from
the long walk. The woman's face freezes. She turns her head,
ever so slightly, and sees Merrick. Her face drops.
The First-Mate sees the Woman change, then sees Merrick. He
walks out of frame. Merrick is still trying to catch his
breath as the First-Mate walks up. The Woman looks up at the
May I see your ticket?
Merrick, confused at first, produces his ticket from his
cloak. The First-Mate examines it and hands it back.
I'm sorry, there's no room for you
on this ship, you'll have to wait
for the next one, in the morning.
Merrick remains motionless.
You heard me. There's no room. Now
be off with you.
He points down the quay. Merrick turns and walks away. The
Woman smiles gratefully at the Fist-Mate, who tips his hat.
A WAREHOUSE PIER
TWO DRUNKS are sitting against the wall, drinking and singing.
One of them gets up and walks out of frame.
Merrick peeks around a corner at the Drunk. They stare at
each other for a long moment. Merrick disappears. The other
Drunk comes back, sits down, and they both start singing
Merrick is in darkness, seated around the corner, tapping
his left hand against his leg, keeping in time with the
OOSTENDE QUAY (MORNING)
We see Merrick behind some crates, watching the ship. On the
wharf a different First-Mate waits until the last of the
morning passengers board the ship. He then nods to the Ticket
Taker and ascends the gangplank, nodding to a crew man. On
board, everyone prepares to get underway.
Merrick pitches forward from behind the crates, half running,
half stumbling toward the Ticket Taker. The Ticket Taker,
about to board the ship, drops the tickets on the ground and
stoops to pick them up. As he collects the scattered tickets
a hand comes into frame holding a ticket out to him. He
reaches for it, and calls over his shoulder to the crewman
at the plank.
Wait! One more!
He turns back and finally takes a look at the late arrival.
You'll have to hurr...
His mouth drops. Merrick hurries past him. The crewman now
also sees the passenger as he begins his clumsy ascent of
the gangplank. The shrill ship's whistle blows.
Merrick is crouched in a dark corner underneath a stairway,
his head resting on the points of both knees, his arms clasped
around them. He is asleep. A few drops of rain fall and hit
his cap, then a few more and finally it begins to rain. He
wakes up and looks around. He hears a voice.
YOUNG WOMAN (V.O.)
Look! It's Dover!
Through the stairs we see a young couple in the rain at the
railing, arm in arm. The Young Woman points. The Young Man
turns to her and smiles.
They laugh and hug each other and run inside out of the rain.
Merrick's hand comes into the shot, grasping a stair and
pulling himself up slowly. He rounds the stairs and walks
onto the deck looking after the young couple.
Merrick walks to the railing and leans over it, oblivious of
the rain. We see the cliffs of Dover.
DOCKSIDE - DOVER
The ship's gangplank leading down to a sea of umbrellas.
Passengers one by one come down the plank and are swallowed
by the crowd. On the dock amidst the umbrellas, we see
Merrick. He looks around, then moves off into the crowd. The
crowd moves past a sign saying, "To The Trains".
LONDON TRAIN - INTERIOR
Through a rain-streaked window we see rolling green
countryside. We pull back to see an Elderly Man in a heavy
black overcoat with a wide-brimmed rain hat eating an apple.
Beside him his wife knits.
A few other people similarly clothed are sleeping. We PAN
across them to see Merrick at the back of the car watching
the Elderly Man eat.
LONDON TRAIN - EXTERIOR
The last car speeds down the track and disappears.
LIVERPOOL STREET STATION
Grey light filters through the windows in the high canopy
ceiling over the trains in the station. The platforms below
fill with people as trains arrive and depart. We now see the
station with its newsstands, sweetstalls, shoeshiners, and
passengers moving to and fro, carrying luggage and looking
for their train.
A YOUNG BOY is seated on a pile of baggage looking very adult
and bored. His MOTHER stands beside him, though we see only
a portion of her billowy skirt.
We hear her voice in rapid conversation with another Woman.
The Young Boy scans the crowd looking for excitement. He
The Elderly Man we saw on the train and his wife are moving
past the barrier.
The Young Boy slowly pulls a peashooter from a pocket, puts
a pea in his mouth, and raises the pipe to his lips. His
Mother's hand shoots out and grabs it.
Little beast! I thought mummy told
you not to bring that horrid thing.
Can't you behave?
She continues her conversation. The Boy looks sour. Merrick
is moving past the barrier. He stops to look around and plan
his next move. The Boy sees him. He tugs on his Mother's
Mummy! Mummy! Look at that man! His
head, it's huge! Mummy, why is his
head so big? Mummy? Mummy?
Do be quiet Little Jim. Can't you
see Mummy is speaking?
Merrick still looking around, suddenly turns in Little Jim's
direction. He sees the Boy tugging at his Mother's skirt and
pointing at him.
He turns and walks in the opposite direction along a wall
stacked with trunks and luggage, trying as best as he can to
blend in. Little Jim gets up and moves after him.
Merrick continues along the wall. A few people give him a
second look, but pass on. Little Jim comes up alongside him.
Hey Mister, why is your head so big?
Merrick turns and looks at Little Jim. He looks quickly
around. We see, across the station, an open archway leading
out into a street. Merrick moves away from Little Jim out of
frame. Little Jim watches him go.
Two other BOYS join Little Jim. The three of them watch the
escaping Merrick, then move off after him. Merrick is
frantically trying to make it to the archway. The three boys
appear behind him and call out.
Why don't you answer me?
One of the boys reaches down and snatches the hem of Merrick's
cloak. He lifts it, trying to catch a glimpse of the
mysterious stranger. Merrick pulls away and tries to go
faster. Relishing the hunt, the boys follow him, taunting
him all the way. As they approach the arch, Little Jim,
determined now, steps in front of him cutting him off.
Merrick comes to an abrupt standstill, shrinking from the
boy. Little Jim reaches up to the hood and grasps it firmly.
Now I'll see you...
He lifts the hood and then staggers back onto the floor in a
spasm of fear.
He lets out a shrill scream. Merrick turns wildly away,
looking for another escape. Little Jim's Mother, hearing her
son's cries, looks up immediately.
She sees Merrick and the howling boy in the middle of the
My son! My son! Help!
Merrick, hearing this, looks in her direction and whirls
away. He stumbles toward another archway exit. People, hearing
the noise, watch him go. He knocks down a little girl in his
flight and she, too, starts screaming.
Through the archway comes a bobby. Jim's Mother, now with
her son, calls to him.
Stop that man! Stop that man!
Merrick stops at the sight of the bobby. The bobby at the
arch, now aware of the commotion, sees Merrick and walks
quickly towards him.
Merrick changes course, but, a group of men, alerted by Jim's
mother's screams, move forward together, cutting him off.
They yell at him angrily.
One of them darts toward him and grabs a hold of Merrick's
hood. Merrick turns frantically away and as he does, the
hood is pulled off him. The crowd shouts at him as he goes,
following him in wary pursuit. He moves back past the children
and Jim's Mother. They all scream and shield themselves from
his approach. Another group of people move toward him blocking
Behind him, he sees a door to a urinal. He moves through it
followed by the crowd. We hear fearsome echoes inside.
Inside the urinal, the crowd presses Merrick toward a wall.
They have become angry now. They shout and there is fear in
their voices. They hem Merrick in. He looks around hoping
for an opening. There is none.
He gives a strangled cry and collapses as the bobby pushes
his way through the crowd.
Merrick puts his good hand over his good ear trying to block
out the screams of the crowd.
(quietly to himself)
I am not an animal... I'm not... I'm
not... I am a man.
EXAMINING ROOM - LONDON HOSPITAL
A small room off the Receiving Room. In the center of the
room is a low sofa covered with deeply stained, shiny black
leather. On it lies a man, groaning softly. Treves is helping
a Dresser bandage the man's leg.
Mrs. Mothershead appears at the doorway.
There's a policeman to see you, Sir.
The bobby from the Liverpool Street Station enters.
Are you Frederick Treves, sir?
The card changes hands.
Treves enters and pushes through the crowd. He sees Merrick
in a heap on the floor. The SERGEANT gets up to meet him in
the middle of the room, but Treves keeps walking toward
You know this man, sir?
Yes, he's... my friend.
Treves goes to Merrick who, just coming to, reaches out to
him with his good hand. Treves pulls him up, his eyes brimming
with tears. Merrick, too, is weeping. Treves embraces him.
Mr. Treves! Treves.
John.... how can you ever forgive
Treves, Carr Gomm and Mrs. Kendal are walking down a hallway
engaged in conversation.
It's all arranged. I'll send over
some evening gowns for the sisters
that you select to accompany Mr.
Merrick. You'll be using the Royal
entrance and Princess Alexandra
herself will be there to welcome him
to her private box.
I'm very grateful to you, Mrs.
Kendal. This is just the thing to
help him forget his ordeal. John
will be very excited.
Well it is a miracle he ever got
back. And, I'm sure, Mr. Treves,
under your expert care, he'll have
many happy years ahead.
I fear not, Mrs. Kendal. Even in the
short time he was gone the size of
his head has increased rapidly... as
is his pain.
How awful for John.
And yet, not once have any of us
heard him complain.
Is he... dying then?
Yes. There is nothing more
frustrating, nothing that makes a
physician feel more useless, than
standing by watching his patient
deteriorate. And when that patient
is a friend, no... no, there's
absolutely nothing I can do.
Well, it's all quite... I've never
heard... It's quite...
MERRICK'S ROOM - MORNING
Merrick stands before the row of smiling ladies on his wall.
He surveys them lovingly for a long moment. He is holding in
his hand a bundle of evening clothes, the handsome black bow
tie lying on the new silk shirt.
You women are such strange and
wonderful creatures... Alas, it seems
to be my fate to fall in love with
each and everyone of you. I especially
wish you could all be with me
tonight... I'm finally going to the
He stands for a moment, reluctant to leave their company. He
goes to his bed placing the clothes upon it, and then to the
cathedral. He compares it with St. Phillips outside. He picks
up the main spire and gazes at it, but his mind is somewhere
THEATRE ROYAL - DRURY LANE
We see the whole theatre. It is very ornate. The orchestra
is tuning up and the house is filled with elegant, well
dressed, handsome people all happily chatting and calling to
one another. We see young men and women flirting boldly and
generally enjoying each other's company. In the Royal Box
Mothershead and Nora in evening gowns sit up front relishing
In the back of the box John sits between Treves and the
Princess. He is dressed in his evening clothes, his cloak
tied over his shoulders like a cape, but he does not wear
The Princess is explaining to Merrick the workings of a pair
of opera glasses.
He takes them and delightedly spies about the theatre.
John is breathless as the house lights dim and the curtain
rises. Enter chorus.
O for a Muse of fire, that would
The brightest heaven of invention, A
kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling
scene! Then should the warlike Harry,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine,
sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon,
The flat unraised spirits that have
On this unworthy scaffold to bring
So great an object: can this cockpit
The vasty fields of Rance? Or may we
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at
O, pardon! since a crooked figure
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great
On your imaginary forces work.
Treves smiling at John. He exchanges knowing smiles with the
Princess. John watches with the unconstrained delight of a
child; but his rapture is even more intense and solemn. His
attitude is one of wonder and awe, and he often leans forward,
panting in his excitement. To John the characters are not
actors in make-up and costume, but real people.
Mrs. Kendal and an actor dressed as royalty doing the last
scene of Henry the Fifth.
Fair Katharine, and most fair, will
you vouchsafe to teach a soldier
Such as will enter at a lady's ear
And plead his love-suit to her gentle
Your majesty shall mock at me; I
cannot speak your England.
O fair Katharine, if you will love
me soundly with your French heart, I
will be glad to hear you confess it
brokenly with your English tongue.
Do you like me, Kate?
Pardonnez-moi, I cannot tell vat is
An angel is like you, Kate, and you
are like an angel.
O bon Dieu! les langues des hommes
sont pleines de tramperies.
What say you, fair one? That the
tongues of men are full of deceits?
Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be
full of deceits.
I know no way to mince it in love,
but directly to say "I love you".
What! A speaker is but a prater; a
rhyme is but a ballad. A good leg
will fall; a straight back will stoop;
a black beard will turn white; a
curl'd pate will grow bald; a fair
face will wither; a full eye will
wax hollow; but a good heart, Kate,
is the sun and the moon, or rather
the sun and not the moon; for it
shines bright and never changes, but
keeps his course truly.
During the above, Merrick mouths the Kings lines.
The Royal Box, the Princess and the two friends enjoying the
The chorus steps out to give the epilogue.
Thus far, with rough and allunable
Our bending author hath pursued the
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course
of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most
This star of England: Fortune made
By which the world's best garden he
During the above, the CAMERA moves in on John.
Amidst great applause the curtain rings down. Through the
curtain comes Mrs. Kendal to renewed applause. She motions
the audience to quiet down.
Thank you for your warm greeting.
Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's
performance was very special to me,
because it was very special to someone
else, a man who knows the theatre
and loves the theatre, and yet tonight
is the first time he's ever actually
been here. I would like to dedicate...
the whole company wishes to dedicate,
from their hearts, tonight's
performance to Mr. John Merrick, my
She gestures toward the Royal Box. There is modest applause
as the audience rises and turns toward it. Merrick cannot be
seen in the shadows, and the crowd cranes their necks trying
to get a glimpse of him. We hear whispers of "Oh look! It's
the Elephant Man! The Elephant Man!' run through the audience.
Treves turns to John.
Stand up, John. Let them see you.
Oh no, I couldn't.
It's for you, John. It's all for
you. Go ahead, let them see you.
Merrick rises and comes forward to thunderous applause. The
audience begins to rise and they clap their hands even louder.
Merrick is overcome by the applause. Tears run down his
cheeks. Treves, Nora, Mothershead and the Princess, filled
with pride, beam at John.
(quietly, to Treves)
I feel as if I've traveled my whole
life just to stand here.
Merrick, in a night-shirt, is seated at his table working on
Treves is nearby.
Wasn't Mrs. Kendal wonderful? I can't
blame the King for wanting to marry
Merrick closes his eyes and his head tilts forward slightly.
It seems unbearably large: too large for him to support.
Will the cathedral be finished soon,
Yes, very soon.
Splendid. it's truly a masterpiece.
Well, I suppose I'll be on my way
now. I hoped your enjoyed yourself
Oh yes! It was wonderful!
I'm glad, John. Goodnight.
He turns and starts out the door.
Treves comes back to Merrick.
Mr. Treves, tell me... tell me truly.
Is it alright, did I make any mistakes
that you can see?
(looking at the
No, John, not one that I can see.
Then I shouldn't change anything?
No, no, I wouldn't change a thing.
The two look at each other silently.
...I'll walk you to the door.
Merrick rises and goes with Treves to the door.
Goodnight John. Sleep well.
You too, my friend. Goodnight.
Treves smiles at John then walks down the darkened hallway.
Merrick watches him for a moment, then slowly shuts the door.
We hear the distant echo of Treves footsteps. Merrick goes
back to examine his cathedral, looking at it from different
angles. He picks up a fine brush, dipping it into the paint,
and makes a few final brush strokes.
He moves back into the middle of the room and gazes at it
for a long time. He lowers the brush to his side.
It is finished.
The cathedral is a masterwork of detail and shading, as if
it were St. Philips itself shrunk to a miniature. He goes to
the table, dips the brush into the paint and carefully signs
his name at the base of the main spire.
He sighs deeply, lays the brush down on the table and pushes
the model towards the window. The movement causes him pain.
He puts his left hand up and feels the back of his head.
Merrick turns out the lamp and goes to his bed. He looks at
the cathedral again, then around at his room. We see in the
dim light his books, his gallery of smiling women, his
dressing bag, his cloak and hood, and finally his mother's
picture on the table. A slight breeze billows the curtains.
We move in very close to them.
High altitude... roiling clouds with lightning flashes and
low thunder. The sky is in turmoil.
When will the stream be aweary of
flowing under my eye?
Lightning flash... thunder roll. The clouds are mingling and
When will the wind be aweary of
blowing over the sky?
The clouds erupt, pushed onward and onward... they slowly
begin to calm as... they turn slowly into... elephants linked
trunk to tail moving slowly away from us...
When will the clouds be aweary of
The elephants are calmer than the skies we saw... they keep
moving onward and onward...
When will the heart be aweary of
A lacy curtain has taken the place of the sky. The elephants
seem to be moving on it... into the distance.
...and nature die?
Knock, knock sound. The curtain moves to one side wiping the
elephants away with it. There is no terrified audience behind
the curtain. There is only light and Merrick's Mother smiling
a calm and benign smile.
Never, oh! Never, nothing will die;
the stream flows, the wind blows,
the cloud fleets, the heart beats...
The light grows brighter and brighter until we cannot see
John's Mother anymore. It almost blinds us.
Nothing will die.
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