John Hurt’s performance resonated with me like wine lingers in your gut. There is such a tenderness in the way he speaks to the few who are kind to him. The prosthetics are impressive, and Hurt’s acting brings them to life.

The movie has its flaws. It moves slowly and rather sloppily ends the story of the devious night porter. Apart from the last one, however, the sequences with the porter are brilliantly written. For much of the movie, he is an anonymous, unpredictable figure that pays cruel visits to the Elephant Man at night. No hospital staff is ever there to witness it and the Elephant Man never says a word about it. Is he is a projection of the Elephant Man’s terror? It’s a chilling effect and one not reversed by the revelation that the nightmarish figure is a hospital employee. No doubt there are demons haunting the Elephant Man that can’t be defeated with a silly bonk on the head.