The Essential Movie Library #70: Blue Velvet (1986) - The Culture Files Blog - Los Angeles magazine
 
 

The Essential Movie Library #70: Blue Velvet (1986)

When Kyle MacLachlan comes home following a family crisis, innocence collides with sex’s corruptive force and malevolence in this surrealistic David Lynch film

Even as originally released two decades before the movie, Bobby Vinton’s title song is a love ballad that you would hear in a nightmare (or “in dreams,” as another song in Blue Velvet would have it), a little too lush, a little too yearning, verging on the fetishistic. While some moviegoers were hip—by way of the earlier The Elephant Man if not Eraserhead—to the dread and surrealism of David Lynch’s films, the lurking and less immediately conspicuous ingredient that makes his vision so truly strange is a childlike nature: Lynch is a naïf; but the more complicated question is whether, particularly given how he lays bare in every sense leading lady Isabella Rossellini, he’s the romantic that he pretends or aspires to be, to us and to himself. He has openly acknowledged that this touchstone picture establishing him as one of America’s greatest and most original directors was born of a fantasy about sneaking into girls’ rooms. Romanticism may be adolescent but it’s not childlike. It assumes, for starters, that sex is good (if dangerous) rather than creepy (if necessary).   

When Lynch surrogate Kyle MacLachlan comes home following a family crisis, innocence collides with sex’s corruptive force and malevolence. This rarely has been evoked as vividly in any cinema as by Dennis Hopper’s amyl nitrate-sucking underworld psycho moaning into his oxygen mask while really lusting for a childhood he never had. Hopper’s Frank Booth (sharing his last name with America’s most notorious assassin) has come to raze an American chastity that he despises as fraudulent, represented by an American town where the picket fences are white and firemen wave from their trucks. However repellent he may be, his hold over us lies in the fact that MacLachlan suspects, and we secretly know, Hopper isn’t wrong.

Read tham all:

The Essential Movie Library #69: Dr. Strangelove
The Essential Movie Library #68: The Bicycle Thieves
The Essential Movie Library #67: Pulp Fiction
The Essential Movie Library #66: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
The Essential Movie Library #65: Caché
The Essential Movie Library #64: A Hard Day's Night
The Essential Movie Library #63: The Searchers
The Essential Movie Library #62: The Conformist
The Essential Movie Library #61: Bonnie & Clyde
The Essential Movie Library #60: Sweet Smell of Success
The Essential Movie Library #59: Melancholia
The Essential Movie Library #58: La Dolce Vita
The Essential Movie Library #57: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
The Essential Movie Library #56: Contempt
The Essential Movie Library #55: Sunset Boulevard
The Essential Movie Library #54: Metropolis
The Essential Movie Library #53: In A Lonely Place
The Essential Movie Library #52: Talk to Her
The Essential Movie LIbrary #51: To Be or Not To Be
The Essential Movie Library #50: The Battle of Algiers
The Essential Movie Library #49: Notorious
The Essential Movie Library #48: Wings of Desire
The Essential Movie Library #47: L'Avventura
The Essential Movie Library #46: Malcolm X
The Essential Movie Library #45: In the Mood for Love
The Essential Movie Library #44: Touch of Evil
The Essential Movie Library #43: Once Upon A Time in the West
The Essential Movie Library #42: Belle de Jour
The Essential Movie Library #41: Apocalypse Now
The Essential Movie Library #40: Out of the Past
The Essential Movie Library #39: Branded to Kill
The Essential Movie Library #38: The General
The Essential Movie Library #37: Lord of the Rings
The Essential Movie Library #36: Aguirre, the Wrath of God
The Essential Movie Library #35: Raging Bull
The Essential Movie Library #34: The Rules of the Game
The Essential Movie Library #33: Chinatown 
The Essential Movie Library #32: Stalker
The Essential Movie Library #31: Weekend
The Essential Movie Library #30: Some Like It Hot 
The Essential Movie Library #29: Red River
The Essential Movie Library #28: The Passenger
The Essential Movie Library #27: Singin' in the Rain
The Essential Movie Library #26: Heat
The Essential Movie Library #25: L'Atalante
The Essential Movie Library #24: Sunrise
The Essential Movie Library #23: His Girl Friday
The Essential Movie Library #22: Black Narcissus
The Essential Movie Library #21: Blade Runner
The Essential Movie Library #20: Persona
The Essential Movie Library #19: The Shop Around the Corner
The Essential Movie Library #18: Lost Highway
The Essential Movie Library #17: Tokyo Story
The Essential Movie Library #16: 8 1/2
The Essential Movie Library #15: City Lights
The Essential Movie Library #14: Seven Samurai
The Essential Movie Library #13: Lawrence of Arabia
The Essential Movie Library #12: Citizen Kane
The Essential Movie Library #11: Jules and Jim
The Essential Movie Library #10: My Darling Clementine 
The Essential Movie Library #9: Double Indemnity 
The Essential Movie Library #8: That Obscure Object of Desire 
The Essential Movie Library #7: 2001: A Space Odyssey 
The Essential Movie Library #6: Casablanca
The Essential Movie Library #5: The Lady Eve
The Essential Movie Library #4: The Third Man 
The Essential Movie Library #3: The Passion of Joan of Arc 
The Essential Movie Library #2: Vertigo 
The Essential Movie Library #1: The Godfather Trilogy

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

Stay Connected

 
Get Our LAmag.com Free Newsletter
 
more promotions
 
Advertisement
Subscribe to Los Angeles magazine