The Elephant Man

Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00pm | Regular Admission Prices

Part of our month-long celebration of The Films of David Lynch (Part One)! Click here for the full schedule

Producer Mel Brooks (yes, that Mel Brooks) handpicked Lynch to direct this haunting, based-on-a-true-story film after seeing Eraserhead. Inspired by two books on John Merrick, the real-life Elephant Man, Lynch’s second film (and his first studio project) recounts this severely deformed man’s perilous life in Victorian-era England.

“Lynch’s powerful depiction of John Merrick moves a viewer from revulsion and fear to empathy and tenderness.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

Noted surgeon Sir Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick (John Hurt) from a circus freak show (where he performs under the name “The Elephant Man,” and is assumed to be mentally challenged), takes him to a hospital for tests, and discovers that Merrick, in fact, has great intellect and capacity for emotion. Finally offered the chance to live as a human being, Merrick soon becomes the toast of London’s high society, but his search for respect and dignity continues. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, The Elephant Man is a classic historical drama bearing Lynch’s distinct artistic stamp (which includes surrealistic industrial landscapes strongly reminiscent of Eraserhead). John Hurt’s ability to project Merrick’s humanity from beneath layers of prosthetics earned him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination, along with the film’s seven other nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. (Dir. by David Lynch, 1980, USA/UK, 124 mins., Rated PG)