The City of Absurdity The Straight Story

Alvin on the ride "The Straight Story" chronicles the six-week, 350-mile trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Ray Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Blue River, Wisconsin, in 1994. His failing eyesight kept him from holding a driver's license, so he used a '66 John Deere riding lawn mower for the 5-mile-an-hour ride. Straight undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Hank who was in the hospital with a stroke.

Starting out on his riding mower and with little money, Alvin Straight finds unexpected adventures on his Midwestern odyssey and has a profound impact on the cast of characters he meets. Overcoming some incredible obstacles, he plods the final mile to discover his brother's fate.

Lynch was attracted to the story because of the human interest relationship with Straight's brother. He also wanted a chance to film a movie on location during the fall season. It's going to be a very visual film. The story will mostly center around Straight and the people he meets in his travels across Iowa. Most of the dialog in the film will consist of conversations with the people he encounters.

David Lynch's Picture Factory launched production in September. "The Straight Story" will be the first release from the new company. Lynch filmed on location in Iowa and Wisconsin, various scenes were filmed in Laurens, including some in Straight's home. Straight died at the age 76 of a heart ailment in November 1996.
Filming was completed on October 19, 1998.

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Dialogue Excerpt:


Listen to that old grain elevator

It's… harvest time. That… trailer… is
too… heavy for… for that. It's a
lawn mower. You're going to… drive a
… a lawnmower to another

Rosie, I… I've gotta go see Lyle.
And I… I've gotta make this trip on
my own. I know you understand.

I guess so.

Look up at the sky, Rosie.
The sky is sure full of stars tonight.


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© Mike Hartmann