Blue Velvet


2h 1986
Blue Velvet

Brief Synopsis

A small-town boy unearths a world of corruption when he stumbles upon a severed ear.

Film Details

Also Known As
Terciopelo azul
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Film Noir
Release Date
1986
Production Company
De Laurentiis Company; Fincannon & Associates; Great Northern/ Reiff & Associates (Ny); Van Der Veer Photo Effects
Distribution Company
DE LAURENTIIS COMPANY; 20th Century Fox Distribution; CBS Video; De Laurentiis Company; Forum Film Ltd.; Showtime Networks; Vestron Video; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group
Location
Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Synopsis

David Lynch is at his creepy best with this erotic murder mystery! Kyle McLachlan stars as a happy, small-town guy on the straight-and-narrow.until he discovers a human ear in the middle of a field. His investigation into the origin of the ear leads him into a strange world populated by a bizarre, drug-addicted sadist and twisted nightclub singer. Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini co-star.

Crew

Alan Abrams

Sound Editor Assistant

Mark Adler

Music Editor

Michael Anderson

Set Dresser

Michael Anderson

Props

Morris Atkins

Location Coordinator

Angelo Badalamenti

Songs ("Blue Star" "Mysteries Of Love")

Angelo Badalamenti

Music

Angelo Badalamenti

Music Conductor

Sandina Bailo-lape

Music Editor Assistant

John Bankson

Driver

Celia Claire Barnes

Production Assistant

Reginald Barnes

Stunts

Donah Bassett

Negative Cutter

Frank Behnke

Other

John Berbeck

Sound Editor Assistant

Brian Berdan

Apprentice Editor

Mark Berger

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Todd Boekelheide

Music Rerecording Mixer

David Boushey

Stunts

Peter Braatz

Other

Jock Brandis

Other

Mary Bridges

Craft Service

Karen A Brocco

Sound Editor Assistant

Edward Brown

Locations Assistant

Shaw Burney

Props (Set)

Robert Burton

Stunts

Billy Butler

Song ("Honky Tonk (Part I)")

Fred Caruso

Producer

Patti Clark

Production Assistant

Kathryn Colbert

Production Office Coordinator

Tim Craig

Apprentice Editor

Julee Cruise

Song Performer ("Mysteries Of Love")

Donne Daniels

Key Grip

Catherine Davis

Art Department Assistant

Mark Shane Davis

Dolly Grip

Sarah Christine Davis

Other

Steve Day

Production Assistant

Monte Dhoge

Electrician

Bill Doggett

Song Performer ("Honky Tonk (Part I)")

Bill Doggett

Song

Lex Du Pont

1st Assistant Camera

Duwayne Dunham

Editor

Doug Durose

Driver

Fred Elmes

Director Of Photography

Frank Eulner

Sound Assistant

Tim Farrow

Electrician

Mark Fincannon

Stunts

Mark Fincannon

Additional Casting; Casting (Extras)

Roe Fonvielle

Production Assistant

Rob Fruchtman

Sound Editor

Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam

Dialogue Editor

Jeff Goodwin

Makeup Supervisor

Cindy J Gray

Accountant Assistant

Austin Gross

Other

Mike Hall

Other

Vernon Harrell

Set Dresser

Vernon Harrell

Props

Doug Hersh

Other

Edward Heyman

Song ("Love Letters")

George Hill

Special Effects

Patricia Hill

Transportation Coordinator

Robert G Hoelen

Other

Neil Holcomb

Electrician

Greg Hull

Special Effects

Richard Hyams

Sound Effects Editor

Pat Jackson

Sound Editor

Cynthia Jarose

Driver

Dean Jones

Special Effects Makeup

Michael William Katz

Gaffer

Gail M Kearns

Production Supervisor

Robert Kearns

Production Assistant

Ross Kolman

Other

Ann Kroeber

Sound Mixer

A. Welch Lambeth

Driver

Richard Langdon

Stunt Coordinator

Sherrie Ann Langdon

Stunts

Gloria Laughride

Supervisor

Kitty Lester

Song Performer ("Love Letters")

Kathi Levine

Accountant Assistant

Tantar Leviseur

Property Master

Henry Earl Lewis

Set Wardrobe

Tanya Lowe

Scenic Artist

Rita M Lucibello

Auditor

David Lynch

Lyrics ("Blue Star" "Mysteries Of Love")

David Lynch

Screenwriter

Jennifer Lynch

Production Assistant

Joe C Maxwell

Bestboy

John W Mceuen

Stunts

Loren Mcnamara

Props

Loren Mcnamara

Set Dresser

Umberto Montiroli

Stills

Patrick Moriarty

Boom Operator

John Morris

Sound Editor Assistant

Lee Morris

Song ("Blue Velvet")

Dean Mumford

Stunts

Patricia Norris

Production Designer

John Nutt

Dialogue Editor

Roy Orbison

Song

Roy Orbison

Song Performer ("In Dreams")

Barbara Page

Hairstyles

David Parker

Sound Rerecording Mixer

Les Pendelton

Construction Coordinator

Pamela Rack Guest

Casting Associate

Ellen Rauch

1st Assistant Director

Isabella Rossellini

Song Performer ("Blue Star" "Blue Velvet")

Richard Roth

Executive Producer

Sarah Rothenberg

Sound Editor Assistant

David Rudd

Camera Assistant

Roger Russ

Electrician

David Salamone

Electrician

Page Sartorius

Sound Editor Assistant

Debra Schuckman

Stunts

Clifford Scott

Song ("Honky Tonk (Part I)")

Paul Sebastian

Props

Paul Sebastian

Set Dresser

Dawn Serody

Other

Jonathan P Shaw

Assistant Editor

Dennis Shelton

Electrician

Shep Shepherd

Song ("Honky Tonk (Part I)")

Michael Silvers

Dialogue Editor

Alan Splet

Sound Design

Ken Sprunt

Stunts

Tony Stephens

Grip

Rina Sternfeld

Script Supervisor

Rina Sternfeld-allon

Script Supervisor

Rev. David Strong

Other

Mary Sweeney

Assistant Editor

Robert Testerman

Chief Scenic Artist

Dennie Thorpe

Foley Artist

James R Tomaro

Other

Steve Venetis

Other

Tim Viereck

Lead Carpenter

Bobby Vinton

Song Performer ("Blue Velvet")

Arron Waitz

Set Dresser

Arron Waitz

Props

Bernie Wayne

Song ("Blue Velvet")

John Wentworth

Assistant (To David Lynch)

Doug White

Set Dresser

Doug White

Props

John Wildermuth

Key Production Assistant

Frank Williams

Generator Operator

Frank Williams

Generator Operator

Jeffrey A. Williams

Grip

Ian Foster Woolf

2nd Assistant Director

Jay Yawler

Other

Victor Young

Song ("Love Letters")

Videos

Movie Clip

Blue Velvet - Where's My Bourbon! Writer-director David Lynch throws the crazy switch for the first appearance of Frank (Dennis Hopper), visiting Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), who's hidden naked Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) in the closet, in Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet - Pest Control Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) practicing stealth, posing as the bug-man visiting Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and stealing keys, Sandy (Laura Dern) assisting, in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet - Pabst Blue Ribbon! Lots of swearing as Frank (Dennis Hopper) brings Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) et al to visit Ben (Dean Stockwell) in writer-director David Lynch's Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet - Opportunities In Life College-man Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) collects Sandy (Laura Dern) from school and offers a stimulating proposition, as the plot starts to thicken in writer-director David Lynch's Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet - Lumberton Writer-director David Lynch appears to be going for laughs, as hero Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) visits his stricken father (Jack Harvey), then discovers the pivotal ear, in an early scene from Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet - It's Horrible Too A family photo appears as Detective Williams (George Dickerson) tells Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) to steer clear of his case, after which the subject Sandy (Laura Dern) appears, in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, 1986.
Blue Velvet -- Open, Mr. Beaumont Eerie and literal opening from David Lynch's Blue Velvet, 1986, starring Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini, leading to the title song and initial events.

Film Details

Also Known As
Terciopelo azul
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Film Noir
Release Date
1986
Production Company
De Laurentiis Company; Fincannon & Associates; Great Northern/ Reiff & Associates (Ny); Van Der Veer Photo Effects
Distribution Company
DE LAURENTIIS COMPANY; 20th Century Fox Distribution; CBS Video; De Laurentiis Company; Forum Film Ltd.; Showtime Networks; Vestron Video; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group
Location
Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Award Nominations

Best Director

1986
David Lynch

Articles

The Gist (Blue Velvet) - THE GIST


Early into Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), an animatronic robin alights on the forefinger of Julie Andrews' mystery governess as she sings to her pint-sized charges the sprightly clean-up song "A Spoonful of Sugar." The song and the moment serve a dual purpose– to establish Mary's twin citizenship in both natural and supernatural realms and to mark the narrative as a rite of passage, of learning. Mary Poppins is not about Mary Poppins but rather Jane and Michael Banks, the spirited progeny of a staid London bank executive, as they learn about the world of make-believe that exists behind the curtain of dull reality. Another mechanical bird, also a robin (but probably not the same one) turns up in the final frames of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986). After two hours of murder, mutilation, sexual intimidation, rape, scopophilia, drug use and sadomasochism, this juxtaposition of harsh reality with a Disney-like simulacrum defies cozy categorization. While the film's protagonists consider the vision miraculous, a harbinger of love eternal and a testament to the inexplicable wonder and strange beauty of the world, its patent fakeness leavens the optimism. Therein lies the charm of Blue Velvet. On paper, the highly fetishized and deeply weird film couldn't be more removed from the family friendly fare of Mary Poppins, yet their narratives are alarmingly similar as they push their heroes towards an appreciation that "there are opportunities in life for gaining knowledge and experience."

If Blue Velvet's answer to Michael and Jane Banks is its young adult protagonists Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, the boy hero of Dune, Lynch's 1984 adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel) and Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), then its Mary Poppins is the villain of the piece, Frank Booth. As played by Dennis Hopper, Frank is, for all his profanity, brutality, nitrous oxide abuse and predilection for cheap beer, a mentor to Jeffrey. It is Frank who takes Jeffrey and Sandy through the figurative sidewalk chalk to the other side of dreamland. It is Frank who (like Mary) propels the story both by commission (his various crimes, among them homicide, rape and dope peddling) and omission (the dropping of clues for Jeffrey to follow like bread crumbs). It is Frank who gets Jeffrey dirty (as Mary Poppins and her confederate Bert the chimney sweep did for Michael and Jane) and in so doing makes a man of him. One of many iconic moments from Blue Velvet finds Jeffrey concealed inside a walk-in closet, peeking through the slats of the louvered door, to witness Frank brutalizing Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer whose husband and child he holds hostage. Apart from its folkloric resonance, the image of Jeffrey spying on this primal scene recalls the voyeurism of Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Kyle MacLachlan even bears a passing resemblance to Anthony Perkins, while Blue Velvet suggests, with its marriage of the saccharine and the sick, that madness is more than just a sometimes thing.

Just as Psycho had polarized audiences and critics at the time of its release so did Blue Velvet, which also has become a cult classic, if not an outright American classic. Like so many other classics, the whole thing might just as easily never have come together. Smarting from the box office failure of Dune, producer Dino De Laurentiis pulled the plug on Blue Velvet's original January 1985 start date. Lynch had already begun casting when he was given the ultimatum to cut the budget or see the project die on the stalk. Slashing his own salary and getting his actors to work at just above union scale, Lynch cut thirty percent out of the budget and got cameras rolling on Blue Velvet that summer. Recently rehabilitated from decades of alcohol and substance abuse, Dennis Hopper was risky casting as Frank Booth. Lynch had in fact wanted to use British actor Steven Berkoff, at the time a familiar villainous face from such films as Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). Lynch had also wanted Helen Mirren for Dorothy Vallens and only met with Isabella Rossellini because she had just worked with Mirren in White Nights (1985) and Lynch hoped the ex-model would put in a good word for him. Val Kilmer also reportedly turned down the chance to play Jeffrey in Blue Velvet. It's difficult to imagine Blue Velvet being as memorable as it remains a quarter century after the fact if even one of these casting decisions had come to fruition.

Blue Velvet was shot on location in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, where the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group had been headquartered since the 1970s. To keep costs down, standing locations were used as settings in the film. Arlene's Restaurant, the small town diner where Jeffrey and Sandy discuss the abiding mystery, was in reality the storefront office of New Hanover Human Resources. Both the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover High School contributed cameos, more or less playing themselves, while Market Street's Carolina Apartments stood in for Dorothy Vallens' creepy walk-up. Scenes involving Sandy's home were filmed at a two-storey Tudor dwelling located at 128 Northern Boulevard in nearby Sunset Park, North Carolina. Shooting there displaced the Spencer family for forty-six days and concluded with the scene in which a nude and gibbering Dorothy Vallens stumbles out of the shadows into Jeffrey's arms to the mutual horror of several witnesses. Interviewed after the completion of principal photography, the Spencer family matriarch stated that she didn't regret their decision to allow filming in their home but that they wouldn't do it again "unless the filmmaker were Disney."

Producers: Fred Caruso, Richard Roth
Director: David Lynch
Screenplay: David Lynch
Cinematography: Frederick Elmes
Production Design: Patricia Norris
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Film Editing: Duwayne Dunham
Cast: Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Kyle Maclachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Hope Lange (Mrs. Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), George Dickerson (Detective Williams), Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Beaumont).
C-120m.

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley (editor)
David Lynch by Kenneth C. Kaheta
The Impossible David Lynch by Todd McGowan
"That Damnable Robotic Robin," by Marty Garner, Wrapped in Plastic, Vol. 1, No. 27, 1997
The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, http://www.movie-locations.com
The Gist (Blue Velvet) - The Gist

The Gist (Blue Velvet) - THE GIST

Early into Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), an animatronic robin alights on the forefinger of Julie Andrews' mystery governess as she sings to her pint-sized charges the sprightly clean-up song "A Spoonful of Sugar." The song and the moment serve a dual purpose– to establish Mary's twin citizenship in both natural and supernatural realms and to mark the narrative as a rite of passage, of learning. Mary Poppins is not about Mary Poppins but rather Jane and Michael Banks, the spirited progeny of a staid London bank executive, as they learn about the world of make-believe that exists behind the curtain of dull reality. Another mechanical bird, also a robin (but probably not the same one) turns up in the final frames of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986). After two hours of murder, mutilation, sexual intimidation, rape, scopophilia, drug use and sadomasochism, this juxtaposition of harsh reality with a Disney-like simulacrum defies cozy categorization. While the film's protagonists consider the vision miraculous, a harbinger of love eternal and a testament to the inexplicable wonder and strange beauty of the world, its patent fakeness leavens the optimism. Therein lies the charm of Blue Velvet. On paper, the highly fetishized and deeply weird film couldn't be more removed from the family friendly fare of Mary Poppins, yet their narratives are alarmingly similar as they push their heroes towards an appreciation that "there are opportunities in life for gaining knowledge and experience." If Blue Velvet's answer to Michael and Jane Banks is its young adult protagonists Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, the boy hero of Dune, Lynch's 1984 adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel) and Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), then its Mary Poppins is the villain of the piece, Frank Booth. As played by Dennis Hopper, Frank is, for all his profanity, brutality, nitrous oxide abuse and predilection for cheap beer, a mentor to Jeffrey. It is Frank who takes Jeffrey and Sandy through the figurative sidewalk chalk to the other side of dreamland. It is Frank who (like Mary) propels the story both by commission (his various crimes, among them homicide, rape and dope peddling) and omission (the dropping of clues for Jeffrey to follow like bread crumbs). It is Frank who gets Jeffrey dirty (as Mary Poppins and her confederate Bert the chimney sweep did for Michael and Jane) and in so doing makes a man of him. One of many iconic moments from Blue Velvet finds Jeffrey concealed inside a walk-in closet, peeking through the slats of the louvered door, to witness Frank brutalizing Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer whose husband and child he holds hostage. Apart from its folkloric resonance, the image of Jeffrey spying on this primal scene recalls the voyeurism of Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Kyle MacLachlan even bears a passing resemblance to Anthony Perkins, while Blue Velvet suggests, with its marriage of the saccharine and the sick, that madness is more than just a sometimes thing. Just as Psycho had polarized audiences and critics at the time of its release so did Blue Velvet, which also has become a cult classic, if not an outright American classic. Like so many other classics, the whole thing might just as easily never have come together. Smarting from the box office failure of Dune, producer Dino De Laurentiis pulled the plug on Blue Velvet's original January 1985 start date. Lynch had already begun casting when he was given the ultimatum to cut the budget or see the project die on the stalk. Slashing his own salary and getting his actors to work at just above union scale, Lynch cut thirty percent out of the budget and got cameras rolling on Blue Velvet that summer. Recently rehabilitated from decades of alcohol and substance abuse, Dennis Hopper was risky casting as Frank Booth. Lynch had in fact wanted to use British actor Steven Berkoff, at the time a familiar villainous face from such films as Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). Lynch had also wanted Helen Mirren for Dorothy Vallens and only met with Isabella Rossellini because she had just worked with Mirren in White Nights (1985) and Lynch hoped the ex-model would put in a good word for him. Val Kilmer also reportedly turned down the chance to play Jeffrey in Blue Velvet. It's difficult to imagine Blue Velvet being as memorable as it remains a quarter century after the fact if even one of these casting decisions had come to fruition. Blue Velvet was shot on location in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, where the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group had been headquartered since the 1970s. To keep costs down, standing locations were used as settings in the film. Arlene's Restaurant, the small town diner where Jeffrey and Sandy discuss the abiding mystery, was in reality the storefront office of New Hanover Human Resources. Both the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover High School contributed cameos, more or less playing themselves, while Market Street's Carolina Apartments stood in for Dorothy Vallens' creepy walk-up. Scenes involving Sandy's home were filmed at a two-storey Tudor dwelling located at 128 Northern Boulevard in nearby Sunset Park, North Carolina. Shooting there displaced the Spencer family for forty-six days and concluded with the scene in which a nude and gibbering Dorothy Vallens stumbles out of the shadows into Jeffrey's arms to the mutual horror of several witnesses. Interviewed after the completion of principal photography, the Spencer family matriarch stated that she didn't regret their decision to allow filming in their home but that they wouldn't do it again "unless the filmmaker were Disney." Producers: Fred Caruso, Richard Roth Director: David Lynch Screenplay: David Lynch Cinematography: Frederick Elmes Production Design: Patricia Norris Music: Angelo Badalamenti Film Editing: Duwayne Dunham Cast: Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Kyle Maclachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Hope Lange (Mrs. Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), George Dickerson (Detective Williams), Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Beaumont). C-120m. by Richard Harland Smith Sources: Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley (editor) David Lynch by Kenneth C. Kaheta The Impossible David Lynch by Todd McGowan "That Damnable Robotic Robin," by Marty Garner, Wrapped in Plastic, Vol. 1, No. 27, 1997 The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, http://www.movie-locations.com

Blue Velvet


Early into Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), an animatronic robin alights on the forefinger of Julie Andrews' mystery governess as she sings to her pint-sized charges the sprightly clean-up song "A Spoonful of Sugar." The song and the moment serve a dual purpose– to establish Mary's twin citizenship in both natural and supernatural realms and to mark the narrative as a rite of passage, of learning. Mary Poppins is not about Mary Poppins but rather Jane and Michael Banks, the spirited progeny of a staid London bank executive, as they learn about the world of make-believe that exists behind the curtain of dull reality. Another mechanical bird, also a robin (but probably not the same one) turns up in the final frames of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986). After two hours of murder, mutilation, sexual intimidation, rape, scopophilia, drug use and sadomasochism, this juxtaposition of harsh reality with a Disney-like simulacrum defies cozy categorization. While the film's protagonists consider the vision miraculous, a harbinger of love eternal and a testament to the inexplicable wonder and strange beauty of the world, its patent fakeness leavens the optimism. Therein lies the charm of Blue Velvet. On paper, the highly fetishized and deeply weird film couldn't be more removed from the family friendly fare of Mary Poppins, yet their narratives are alarmingly similar as they push their heroes towards an appreciation that "there are opportunities in life for gaining knowledge and experience."

If Blue Velvet's answer to Michael and Jane Banks is its young adult protagonists Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, the boy hero of Dune, Lynch's 1984 adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel) and Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), then its Mary Poppins is the villain of the piece, Frank Booth. As played by Dennis Hopper, Frank is, for all his profanity, brutality, nitrous oxide abuse and predilection for cheap beer, a mentor to Jeffrey. It is Frank who takes Jeffrey and Sandy through the figurative sidewalk chalk to the other side of dreamland. It is Frank who (like Mary) propels the story both by commission (his various crimes, among them homicide, rape and dope peddling) and omission (the dropping of clues for Jeffrey to follow like bread crumbs). It is Frank who gets Jeffrey dirty (as Mary Poppins and her confederate Bert the chimney sweep did for Michael and Jane) and in so doing makes a man of him. One of many iconic moments from Blue Velvet finds Jeffrey concealed inside a walk-in closet, peeking through the slats of the louvered door, to witness Frank brutalizing Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer whose husband and child he holds hostage. Apart from its folkloric resonance, the image of Jeffrey spying on this primal scene recalls the voyeurism of Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Kyle MacLachlan even bears a passing resemblance to Anthony Perkins, while Blue Velvet suggests, with its marriage of the saccharine and the sick, that madness is more than just a sometimes thing.

Just as Psycho had polarized audiences and critics at the time of its release so did Blue Velvet, which also has become a cult classic, if not an outright American classic. Like so many other classics, the whole thing might just as easily never have come together. Smarting from the box office failure of Dune, producer Dino De Laurentiis pulled the plug on Blue Velvet's original January 1985 start date. Lynch had already begun casting when he was given the ultimatum to cut the budget or see the project die on the stalk. Slashing his own salary and getting his actors to work at just above union scale, Lynch cut thirty percent out of the budget and got cameras rolling on Blue Velvet that summer. Recently rehabilitated from decades of alcohol and substance abuse, Dennis Hopper was risky casting as Frank Booth. Lynch had in fact wanted to use British actor Steven Berkoff, at the time a familiar villainous face from such films as Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). Lynch had also wanted Helen Mirren for Dorothy Vallens and only met with Isabella Rossellini because she had just worked with Mirren in White Nights (1985) and Lynch hoped the ex-model would put in a good word for him. Val Kilmer also reportedly turned down the chance to play Jeffrey in Blue Velvet. It's difficult to imagine Blue Velvet being as memorable as it remains a quarter century after the fact if even one of these casting decisions had come to fruition.

Blue Velvet was shot on location in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, where the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group had been headquartered since the 1970s. To keep costs down, standing locations were used as settings in the film. Arlene's Restaurant, the small town diner where Jeffrey and Sandy discuss the abiding mystery, was in reality the storefront office of New Hanover Human Resources. Both the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover High School contributed cameos, more or less playing themselves, while Market Street's Carolina Apartments stood in for Dorothy Vallens' creepy walk-up. Scenes involving Sandy's home were filmed at a two-storey Tudor dwelling located at 128 Northern Boulevard in nearby Sunset Park, North Carolina. Shooting there displaced the Spencer family for forty-six days and concluded with the scene in which a nude and gibbering Dorothy Vallens stumbles out of the shadows into Jeffrey's arms to the mutual horror of several witnesses. Interviewed after the completion of principal photography, the Spencer family matriarch stated that she didn't regret their decision to allow filming in their home but that they wouldn't do it again "unless the filmmaker were Disney."

Producers: Fred Caruso, Richard Roth
Director: David Lynch
Screenplay: David Lynch
Cinematography: Frederick Elmes
Production Design: Patricia Norris
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Film Editing: Duwayne Dunham
Cast: Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Kyle Maclachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Hope Lange (Mrs. Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), George Dickerson (Detective Williams), Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Beaumont).
C-120m.

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley (editor)
David Lynch by Kenneth C. Kaheta
The Impossible David Lynch by Todd McGowan
"That Damnable Robotic Robin," by Marty Garner, Wrapped in Plastic, Vol. 1, No. 27, 1997
The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, http://www.movie-locations.com

Blue Velvet

Early into Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), an animatronic robin alights on the forefinger of Julie Andrews' mystery governess as she sings to her pint-sized charges the sprightly clean-up song "A Spoonful of Sugar." The song and the moment serve a dual purpose– to establish Mary's twin citizenship in both natural and supernatural realms and to mark the narrative as a rite of passage, of learning. Mary Poppins is not about Mary Poppins but rather Jane and Michael Banks, the spirited progeny of a staid London bank executive, as they learn about the world of make-believe that exists behind the curtain of dull reality. Another mechanical bird, also a robin (but probably not the same one) turns up in the final frames of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986). After two hours of murder, mutilation, sexual intimidation, rape, scopophilia, drug use and sadomasochism, this juxtaposition of harsh reality with a Disney-like simulacrum defies cozy categorization. While the film's protagonists consider the vision miraculous, a harbinger of love eternal and a testament to the inexplicable wonder and strange beauty of the world, its patent fakeness leavens the optimism. Therein lies the charm of Blue Velvet. On paper, the highly fetishized and deeply weird film couldn't be more removed from the family friendly fare of Mary Poppins, yet their narratives are alarmingly similar as they push their heroes towards an appreciation that "there are opportunities in life for gaining knowledge and experience." If Blue Velvet's answer to Michael and Jane Banks is its young adult protagonists Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, the boy hero of Dune, Lynch's 1984 adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel) and Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), then its Mary Poppins is the villain of the piece, Frank Booth. As played by Dennis Hopper, Frank is, for all his profanity, brutality, nitrous oxide abuse and predilection for cheap beer, a mentor to Jeffrey. It is Frank who takes Jeffrey and Sandy through the figurative sidewalk chalk to the other side of dreamland. It is Frank who (like Mary) propels the story both by commission (his various crimes, among them homicide, rape and dope peddling) and omission (the dropping of clues for Jeffrey to follow like bread crumbs). It is Frank who gets Jeffrey dirty (as Mary Poppins and her confederate Bert the chimney sweep did for Michael and Jane) and in so doing makes a man of him. One of many iconic moments from Blue Velvet finds Jeffrey concealed inside a walk-in closet, peeking through the slats of the louvered door, to witness Frank brutalizing Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer whose husband and child he holds hostage. Apart from its folkloric resonance, the image of Jeffrey spying on this primal scene recalls the voyeurism of Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Kyle MacLachlan even bears a passing resemblance to Anthony Perkins, while Blue Velvet suggests, with its marriage of the saccharine and the sick, that madness is more than just a sometimes thing. Just as Psycho had polarized audiences and critics at the time of its release so did Blue Velvet, which also has become a cult classic, if not an outright American classic. Like so many other classics, the whole thing might just as easily never have come together. Smarting from the box office failure of Dune, producer Dino De Laurentiis pulled the plug on Blue Velvet's original January 1985 start date. Lynch had already begun casting when he was given the ultimatum to cut the budget or see the project die on the stalk. Slashing his own salary and getting his actors to work at just above union scale, Lynch cut thirty percent out of the budget and got cameras rolling on Blue Velvet that summer. Recently rehabilitated from decades of alcohol and substance abuse, Dennis Hopper was risky casting as Frank Booth. Lynch had in fact wanted to use British actor Steven Berkoff, at the time a familiar villainous face from such films as Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). Lynch had also wanted Helen Mirren for Dorothy Vallens and only met with Isabella Rossellini because she had just worked with Mirren in White Nights (1985) and Lynch hoped the ex-model would put in a good word for him. Val Kilmer also reportedly turned down the chance to play Jeffrey in Blue Velvet. It's difficult to imagine Blue Velvet being as memorable as it remains a quarter century after the fact if even one of these casting decisions had come to fruition. Blue Velvet was shot on location in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, where the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group had been headquartered since the 1970s. To keep costs down, standing locations were used as settings in the film. Arlene's Restaurant, the small town diner where Jeffrey and Sandy discuss the abiding mystery, was in reality the storefront office of New Hanover Human Resources. Both the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover High School contributed cameos, more or less playing themselves, while Market Street's Carolina Apartments stood in for Dorothy Vallens' creepy walk-up. Scenes involving Sandy's home were filmed at a two-storey Tudor dwelling located at 128 Northern Boulevard in nearby Sunset Park, North Carolina. Shooting there displaced the Spencer family for forty-six days and concluded with the scene in which a nude and gibbering Dorothy Vallens stumbles out of the shadows into Jeffrey's arms to the mutual horror of several witnesses. Interviewed after the completion of principal photography, the Spencer family matriarch stated that she didn't regret their decision to allow filming in their home but that they wouldn't do it again "unless the filmmaker were Disney." Producers: Fred Caruso, Richard Roth Director: David Lynch Screenplay: David Lynch Cinematography: Frederick Elmes Production Design: Patricia Norris Music: Angelo Badalamenti Film Editing: Duwayne Dunham Cast: Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Kyle Maclachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Hope Lange (Mrs. Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben), George Dickerson (Detective Williams), Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Beaumont). C-120m. by Richard Harland Smith Sources: Lynch on Lynch, Chris Rodley (editor) David Lynch by Kenneth C. Kaheta The Impossible David Lynch by Todd McGowan "That Damnable Robotic Robin," by Marty Garner, Wrapped in Plastic, Vol. 1, No. 27, 1997 The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, http://www.movie-locations.com

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Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall September 19, 1986

Released in United States August 30, 1986

Released in United States August 1997

Released in United States June 2007

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival August 30, 1986.

Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.

Shown at CineVegas Film Festival (Area 52) June 8-16, 2007.

Began shooting August 19, 1985.

Re-released in United Kingdom December 14, 2001.

Released in United States Fall September 19, 1986

Released in United States August 30, 1986 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival August 30, 1986.)

Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Locarno International Film Festival (50 Years of American Film) August 6-16, 1997.)

Released in United States June 2007 (Shown at CineVegas Film Festival (Area 52) June 8-16, 2007.)

Voted Best Picture of the Year (1986) by the National Society of Film Critics.