The Elephant Man (1980) directed by David Lynch tells a story of a man John Merrick (John Hurt) who was deformed at birth and has lead a life as freak in a road show. While a London surgeon Frederick Treves (Antony Hopkins) takes interest in Merrick and wants to rescue him, and finds that Merrick is a gentleman and intelligent.
The film was shot in black and white despite the fact it was made in 1980. The contrast and detail of the black and white image gives the film a great atmosphere and tension during scenes. This is particularly true when Treves is walking down the back alleys and streets looking for Bytes (Freddie Jones) the owner of Merrick.
Lynch creates tension and fear within the viewer throughout the beginning. Lynch shows Bytes showing Merrick to the public, people are walking away crying. We don’t see Merrick but Lynch has already managed to create an image of this creature. Merrick is also kept hidden to build the tension that he will be a hideous scary monster.
When we meet and start to learn about Merrick, Lynch keeps the pace slow and lets little bits of his past show through so we start to create a deeper emotional bond with Merrick and makes the final scene of Merrick all the more moving. As Lynch has let to viewer get to know Merrick personally.