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Bradley Cooper in 'The Elephant Man' Is Called 'Best Merrick Yet'

Image: Bradley Cooper in 'The Elephant Man' Is Called 'Best Merrick Yet'
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By    |   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 09:25 AM

Bradley Cooper has been praised by critics for his starring role in the Broadway revival of "The Elephant Man," which opened Sunday and portrays the life of John Merrick, a physically deformed British man who went from freak show exhibit to beloved socialite with the help of a sympathetic doctor.

"Cooper is the best Merrick yet," declared Deadline Hollywood.

"Cooper – employing a lilting, singsongy gentleman's English to suggest the gentle Merrick – owns this production. He may be one of biggest movie stars on the planet right now but he's also a magnetic, surprisingly earthy stage actor," wrote Entertainment Weekly.

"Cooper gives Merrick an impish quality, a man who knows how to turn on the charm when he needs to and even flirt. It is a deeply yearning, fully humanized vision of Merrick," said an Associated Press reviewer.

The real John Merrick was born horribly disfigured in 1862, was abandoned by his mother, and eventually installed in a storefront sideshow by an exploitative "manager." After being abandoned once more, he is taken under the wing of society doctor, Frederick Treves, who grants him residence at the stately London Hospital, and introduces him to the best of London society, who come to see his inner beauty.

The original 1979 Bernard Pomerance production starred Philip Anglim, who was succeeded in the original production by musician David Bowie and "Star Wars" star Mark Hamill.

Stylistically, "Scott Ellis' lean revival of Elephant is light on frills, very much in line with the long-standing decision to have the actor playing Merrick take on no prosthetics or makeup to convey Merrick's contorted, compromised body," wrote EW.

In the end, the production successfully conveys its message of the triumphant human spirit.

"This is a man who finds safe haven in a London hospital after spending much of his life in second-rate carnivals as a freak attraction - and then blossoms. What's more, he becomes the confidante of celebrated actresses, statesmen and even royalty," the AP explained.

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Bradley Cooper has been praised by critics for his starring role in the Broadway revival of "The Elephant Man," which opened Sunday and portrays the life of John Merrick, a physically deformed British man who went from freak show exhibit to beloved socialite with the help of a sympathetic doctor.
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2014-25-10
Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 09:25 AM
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