Black and White Appreciation thread: Part 3 Raging Bull and the Elephant Man

By 1979 Black and white was as dead as Disco… the only acception was Mel Brooks Parody Young Frankenstien but it was seen as a gimick as it was a parody of teh old Universal classics. Suddenly in 1980 we were treated to not one but two Black and White films… both dramas, bio pics and both quite powerful. The fact that they both came out in the same year is the main reason for lumping them together.
Yep we are looking at Scorcese’s Raging Bull and David Lynch’s The Elephant Man
You assignment this weekend… Watch either or both movies
I would not only like discussion on each film but comparrison and contrasts of the two in style and look.

What vision does the director bring to the film and why did they chose Black and white as the medium?

Black and White was dead as disco in 1979? What about “Manhattan”(1979)?
I’ll agree that “The Elephant Man” is excellent. I haven’t had the priviledge of seeing “Raging Bull.”

WAG, David Lynch chose b/w because a) the period of the story and b) he hadn’t made any full-length films in color at that point and may have been more comfortable working in b/w for his first “mainstream” film.

Haven’t seen Raging Bull. No real interest in seeing it. Liked Elephant Man but have probably seen it enough times that i don’t need to see it again.

I actually wrote a paper on The Elephant man for a film narrative class. Among other things, I discussed the use of b/w for the mood, effect, atmosphere, bleakness and period/era, to the best of my recollection.
It was the right artistic choice for this particular story, which was pretty sad. I think color would have diminished it considerably. And many of the elements, like smoke, fog, silhouette, shadows, and steam, show up better and have more impact in b/w.

Ok perhaps I overstated the case as There were a few B/W films in the 70s. But unlike the 50s and early 60s Colour was no longer the exception but the rule. A black and white film was no longer seen as a viable option for a comercial success. At least in the minds of the distributors and studios.

That being said I hope you watch Raging bull, especially when you see the difference in the look of the two