The City of Absurdity   Bue Velvet
About the Film

  shadows fall so blue... David Lynch
Jack Nance
Dennis Hopper
Isabella Rossellini
Laura Dern
Jack Fisk


David Lynch

"Blue Velvet is a love story."

"I started with the idea of front yards at night and Bobby Vinton's song playing from a distance. Then I always had this fantasy of sneaking into a girl's room and hiding through the night. It was a strange angle to come at a murder mystery."

"And then, I'd always had a desire to sneak into a girl's apartment and watch her through the night. I had the idea that while I was doing this I'd see something which I'd later realize was the clue to a mystery. I think people are fascinated by that, by being able to see into a world they couldn't visit. That's the fantastic thing about cinema, everybody can be a voyeur. Voyeurism is a bit like watching television – go one step further and you want to start looking in on things that are really happening."

"A film that deals with things that are hidden within a small town called Lumberton and things that are hidden within people."

"Blue Velvet is a very American movie. The look of it was inspired by my childhood in Spokane, Washington. Lumberton is a real name; there are many Lumbertons in America. I picked it because we would get police insignias and stuff, because it was an actual town. But then it took off in my mind."

"There is an autobiographical level to the movie. Kyle is dressed like me. My father was a research scientist for the Department of Agriculture in Washington. We were in the wood all the time."

"When I was little, my brother and I were outdoors late one night, and we saw a naked woman come walking down the street toward us in a dazed state, crying. I have never forgotten that moment."

"To me a mystery is like a magnet. Whenever there is something that's unknown, it has a pull to it. For instance, if you were in a room and there was a doorway open and stairs going down and the light just fell away, you didn't even see the bottom, where the stairs ended; you'd be very much tempted to go down there."

"It had to be an ear because it's an opening. An ear is wide and you go down into it. It goes somewhere vast."

"[the ear is] a ticket to another world."

"The colors in the film are part of the mystery. One of Frank's accomplices, for example, always wears a yellow suit or raincoat. Blue is also my favourite color and I wanted it to be in contrast with the red lipstick worn by Dorothy."

"She [Dorothy Vallens] is a willing captive. I feel that people can fall into these things, like steps. In real life, it doesn't happen so fast. I'm not saying it couldn't. I feel like people get into it by degrees. The boy in the film does what she asks him to do, and finds in himself the ability to do a lot of the things he never thought he could do."

"Frank is totally in love. He just doesn't know how to show it. He may have gotten into some strange things but he's still motivated by positive things."

"Frank, to me, is a guy Americans know very well. I'm sure most everybody growing up has met someone like Frank. They might not have shook his hand and gone out for a drink with him, but all you've got to do is exchange eye contact with someone like that and you know that you've met him."

"The only thing to say about all the controversy is, did I make all that up, or are there examples in real life? And there are countless examples like that in real life. So why do they get upset when you put something like this in a film? People get into all sorts of strange situations, and you can't believe they're enjoying it, but they are. There are lots of reasons for it. It gets you into psychiatry."

"Because people have an idea that Dorothy was Everywoman, instead of being just Dorothy. That's where the problem starts. If it's just Dorothy, and it's her story - which it is to me - then everything is fine ... When you start talking about "women" versus "a woman," then you're getting into this area of generalization. There's a billion of different stories and possibilities."

"Dennis Hopper called me up one day after reading the script. He said, 'David, you have to let me play Frank because I am Frank'. That scared the hell out of me!"

regarding the sentence "He put his disease in me." in Blue Velvet
"Just the word disease used in that way – it's so beautiful just to leave it abstract. Once it becomes specific it's no longer true to a lot of people. Where if it's abstract there could be some truth to it for everybody."

Here you can order "Lynch on Lynch", the ticket into the world of David Lynch edited by Chris Rodley.

also see Soundtrack page


Jack Nance (Paul)

The Blue Lady "...We were still editing Eraserhead, and I went over one afternoon...He [David Lynch] showed me this little drawing he'd done...He had this three-by-five drawing that he'd done of this rustic roadhouse or saloon, out in the countryside. It was just by the side of the road with this big neon sign on top of the place that said: "Blue Velvet." He showed it to me and said: "How do you like it, Jack?" I said: "It's beautiful." He said: "We're going to do that someday." I said: "Do what?" And he said: "We're going to do Blue Velvet someday. It's a movie." When we were shooting that scene years later in that Roadhouse - when Hopper is sitting there fondling the blue velvet and Isabella is singing the song – it was incredible. After that first take I went over to David and said: "I know how many years you've been waiting to hear that song."


Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth)

"I know exactly the kind of guy Frank is, I've met that character lotsa times. His drug intake is a vital thing because he's warped out on a certain chemical . . . uh . . . imbalance. Uppers, a whole variety of pharmaceutical 'ups' and a lot of alcohol are what shapes Frank's whole point of view. I've been there and when I read the script actually I hadn't even seen a David Lynch film beforehand - but I read the script and it was . . . right – I have to have that part! So I knew David had started filming and, knowing this one phone call was crucial, I became Frank. I had to cut through the shit and let Lynch know he needed me. There was no other choice. And it worked."

"And at the end of the movie, in those last images, there's the shot of Dorothy – she's sitting in some park with her little son in her arms. David's intention -'cos he told me this – is to let the viewer know that it's not over, she's still thinking about Frank, still longing for him. Frank's dead but she'll always love him."


Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens)

"I tried to portray not just a character, but a character development."

"I see Dorothy very much as a victim and as someone who is suffering. Yes, she does get herself into this situation, and yes, she does enjoy being beaten, but she was probably totally twisted and totally crazy and sad. And she does begin to come out of it as the film ends."

"The film is basically a search into the unknown. In a search, you find something. You begin to understand something, whether it's good or bad, about yourself, and the world and that you have choices. It's a process of knowledge, and experience."

"A lot of people thought that Blue Velvet was sick, but for me, it was David's reasearch of the good and the bad. There is an incredible gentleness and a conflict between good and evil in him that is so moving. It's absolutely the core of his art, and it makes him a profoundly moral person. He's also great fun. I mean, humour beyond the beyond! I laughed a lot in the years that I worked with him. He doesn't make himself into a character. He's just from Montana."

"It is not true that David Lynch wanted to humiliate me. I never felt exploited or abused"

"When I came out of the bushes totally naked, I felt like a slab of beef hanging. There was nothing sexy about it. It would have felt like a sin if I was doing a nude scene to titillate the public."

"[David Lynch is] seraphic, blissed. Most people have strange thoughts, but they don't rationalize them. David doesn't translate his images logically, so they remain raw, emotional. Whenever I ask him where his ideas come from, he says it's like fishing. He never knows what he's going to catch."


Laura Dern (Sandy Williams)

"David is as much a believer in the robins as in Frank Booth."


Jack Fisk (friend who studied and worked with David Lynch)

"I saw so much of David in the Kyle (Mac Lachlan, who plays Jeffrey Beaumont) character – his walk, his mannerisms."

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© Mike Hartmann