By Anya Geiling
Have you ever heard of the infamous director, writer, actor, and musician, David Lynch? He was the brains behind many cult classics, including Dune and both seasons of Twin Peaks. You might have heard of Twin Peaks, but have you ever seen Blue Velvet?
Blue Velvet was released in 1986 as a mystery/crime drama. The main actors were: Kyle MacLachlan (later starring in Twin Peaks), Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Dean Stockwell. The movie has the song, “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton as the main theme song.
To begin, the movie starts with college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) coming home after finding out his father experienced a stroke. After walking in a field one day, Beaumont finds a severed ear and teams up with the detective’s daughter, Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), to solve the mystery. They suspect the beautiful singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), to be connected with the case. Beaumont then finds himself drawn to Dorthy’s confusing life, leading to the encounter with psychopath Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).
This leads into Lynch’s cinematography. From the beginning of the movie, Lynch creates a surreal picture for the audience. Most of his work has been dubbed “Lynchian”, and is characterized because of its adoring imagery. His color pallets also vary. He uses warm and cool colors to determine the mood of a scene, which makes the show more enjoyable for viewers.
Additionally, David Lynch uses old songs throughout Blue Velvet and transforms them into psychopathic rhythms. For example, in the beginning scenes, Lynch presents the movie as a picture-perfect town, along with the song “Blue Velvet” sung in a very dream-like way. This seems to set the expectations for the film, but in reality it turned out to be very different from that picturesque fantasy. Later on in the movie when Dennis Hopper meets Dean Stockwell, Dean sings part of the song,“In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. One of the lyrics read, “In dreams I walk with you… In dreams you’re mine all the time”. These lyrics are meant to be for lovers, but Lynch twists them to correspond with his character’s lunatic actions.
This movie is the unheard of prequel to Twin Peaks. From the beginning of the film, many parts felt familiar. To start off, the town is a logging town just like Twin Peaks was, and the characters were played by many of the same actors. I see this film as the life behind Dale Cooper. There is never any mention of his past, and this movie fills in that void. Laura Dern’s character also has significance later on when Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) came out.
I definitely recommend watching Blue Velvet and diving deep into the world David Lynch creates. You will truly be amazed!