THE ELEPHANT MAN
1980, Paramount, 124 min, Dir: David Lynch

Based on two books about the real-life Elephant Man, John Merrick, director David Lynch recounts this severely deformed man’s perilous life in Victorian England in breathtaking black-and-white. Sir Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a circus freak show where he is assumed to be retarded, takes him to a hospital for tests and discovers that Merrick, in fact, has great intellect and capacity for emotion. John Hurt’s ability to project Merrick’s humanity earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, along with the film’s seven other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Lynch’s use of costumes, makeup, Freddie Francis’ cinematography and John Morris’ score remain commendably understated, allowing the sadness of the film to avoid sentimentalism. With Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller. "ELEPHANT MAN has the power and some of the dream logic of a silent film, yet there are also wrenching, pulsating sounds -the hissing steam and the pounding of the start of the industrial age. It's Dickensian London, with perhaps a glimpse of the process that gave rise to Cubism." - Pauline Kael.


NIGHTFALL
1957, Sony Repertory, 79 min, USA, Dir: Jacques Tourneur

One of the last true noirs of the classic era, this often-overlooked gem, based on a novel by noir legend David Goodis, features terrific direction from Tourneur and stunning cinematography by Burnett Guffey. Aldo Ray plays an artist whose life goes permanently haywire when fate interrupts a winter hunting trip. From then on it’s life on the run, dozens of double-crosses, psychotic killers on his trail, lots of de rigeur flashbacks, and a young Anne Bancroft decked out in sequins and lace.


THE HINDENBURG
1975, Universal, 125 min, USA, Dir: Robert Wise

Director Robert Wise helmed this film about the Hindenburg conflagration, touched off when the German zeppelin landed in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. George C. Scott is a conflicted German security officer aboard, Anne Bancroft is a wayward countess, William Atherton (DAY OF THE LOCUST) a possible saboteur, Roy Thinnes (TV’s "The Invaders") a fanatical Gestapo officer and Charles Durning (DOG DAY AFTERNOON) the Hindenburg’s captain. Recipient of two Oscars for Special Achievement in Sound Effects (Peter Berkos) and Visual Effects (Albert Whitlock, Glen Robinson).


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