Portrayal on Screen: Mozart and the Whale

November 7, 2015 by admin



Portrayal on Screen: Portrayal of Disability: Me Too (Yo Tambien)

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Portrayal on Screen: Freaks (1932)

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Freaks (Dir. Tod Browning, 1932) Banned for many years, when analysed the film is very sympathetic to the disabled people who work at the circus as curiosities, clowns and in the ‘freak show’ and who form a tightly knit and supportive community. At 16, Browning had left his well-to-do family to join a travelling circus: he drew on his personal experiences for Freaks. Cleopatra the trapeze artist is an object of admiration of diminutive Hans, she plays along with his infatuation hurting his short statured fiancée Frieda.
When Cleopatra learns that Hans has a great inheritance she conspires with Hercules , the Strong Man, marrying Hans and then poisoning him. When the disabled circus performers find out they deal with both of them with a violent end killing Hercules and deforming Cleopatra. Prior to this, oblivious to the plot against Hans at the Wedding Feast the disabled performers ( played by disabled people and real circus performers) try to accept Cleopatra as normal by passing a wine goblet round the table saying “ We accept her. One of us. Gooba-gobble, gooba-gobble”. Cleopatra is appalled at this thought and reveals her true feelings. This said the cinematography often shows the disabled people as frightening. And the film was unhelpfully lumped into the horror genre.



Profile of Hopes: Robert David Hall by Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

November 6, 2015 by admin

Emmy award winning “Profiles of Hope” features CSI actor and Musician, Robert David Hall, who talks about overcoming physical trauma. Produced by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Public Information Office.

In this interesting and informative Clip Robert David Hall tells of his life, his motor accident where he had both legs eventually amputated and his wish to continue performing playing many judges(sitting down) and eventually Doc Robbins, the coroner/pathologist in Criminal Science Investigation CSI for nearly all 364 episodes. He has taken forward advocacy for disabled people in the media through chairing the performers with disabilities committee of SAG(Screen Actors Guild).

See Lisa Egan’s blog on the impact this character and show has had on her as a disabled person and on subsequent TV shows.http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lisa-egan/csi-show_b_8307652.html



Best Years of Our Lives

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This Academy Award(R)-winning masterpiece recounts the problems faced by three returning veterans after WWII as they attempt to pick up the threads of their lives. Fredric March, Harold Russell and Dana Andrews are superb as the servicemen who
Year: 1946
Director: William Wyler
Starring: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews. Harold Russell was a double amputee with no hands while the other two had mental health issues.



Interview with deaf actress Sophie Stone

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Interview about deaf character in Dr Who played by deaf actress Sophie Stone.

See it here

In this 7 minute preview clip made by the BBC’s See Hear programme (and shown at the weekend as part of the See Hear Sign Language Festival), you can go behind the scenes and watch Deaf actress Sophie Stone performs recording an upcoming episode of Doctor Who.

Text of interview



Russell Howard interview with Jess Thom

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One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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The Elephant man – QED – Documentary – The True Story Of Joseph Merrick

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The Elephant Man

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Born Joseph Carey Merrick
5 August 1862
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Died 11 April 1890 (aged 27)
The London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, England
Other names “Elephant Man”, John Merrick
Joseph Carey Merrick (5 August 1862 – 11 April 1890), sometimes incorrectly referred to as John Merrick, was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man. He became well known in London society after he went to live at the London Hospital. Merrick was born in Leicester, Leicestershire and began to develop abnormally during the first few years of his life. His skin appeared thick and lumpy, he developed enlarged lips, and a bony lump grew on his forehead. One of his arms and both of his feet became enlarged and at some point during his childhood he fell and damaged his hip, resulting in permanent lameness. When he was 10, his mother died, and his father soon remarried. Merrick left school at 13 and had difficulty finding employment. Rejected by his father and stepmother, he left home. In late 1879, Merrick, aged 17, entered the Leicester Union Workhouse.

In 1884, after four years in the workhouse, Merrick contacted a showman named Sam Torr and proposed that Torr should exhibit him. Torr agreed and arranged for a group of men to manage Merrick, whom they named the Elephant Man. After touring the East Midlands, Merrick traveled to London to be exhibited in a penny gaff shop on Whitechapel Road which was rented by showman Tom Norman. Norman’s shop, directly across the street from the London Hospital, was visited by a surgeon named Frederick Treves, who invited Merrick to be examined and photographed. Soon after Merrick’s visits to the hospital, Tom Norman’s shop was closed by the police, and Merrick’s managers sent him to tour in Europe.

In Belgium, Merrick was robbed by his road manager and abandoned in Brussels. He eventually made his way back to London; unable to communicate, he was found by the police to have Dr. Treves’s card on him. Treves came and took Merrick back to the London Hospital. Although his condition was incurable, Merrick was allowed to stay at the hospital for the remainder of his life. Treves visited him daily, and the pair developed quite a close friendship. Merrick also received visits from the wealthy ladies and gentlemen of London society, including Alexandra, Princess of Wales.

Aged 27, Merrick died on 11 April 1890. The official cause of death was asphyxia, although Treves, who dissected the body, said that Merrick had died of a dislocated neck. He believed that Merrick—who had to sleep sitting up because of the weight of his head—had been attempting to sleep lying down, to “be like other people”.

The exact cause of Merrick’s deformities is unclear. The dominant theory throughout much of the 20th century was that Merrick suffered from neurofibromatosis type I. In 1986, a new theory emerged that he had Proteus syndrome. In 2001, it was proposed that Merrick had suffered from a combination of neurofibromatosis type I and Proteus syndrome. DNA tests conducted on his hair and bones have proven inconclusive.

In 1979, Bernard Pomerance’s play about Merrick called The Elephant Man debuted, and David Lynch’s film, also called The Elephant Man, was released the following year. In late 2014 and early 2015, Bradley Cooper starred in a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man, directed by Scott Ellis.