Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Review: Mulholland Drive (2001)

A Film Review by Tennessee Jed

There are a handful of filmmakers who evoke true passion when discussed among film buffs, but perhaps none more so than David Lynch. Supporters have elevated him to the level of genius, while detractors claim his work is overly complex, inaccessible, and symbolic to a fault. Few are without opinion, and it is usually strong.

* * * TOTAL SPOILER ALERT * * *

Somewhere between those extremes is probably where I fall, having not even seen his complete body of work. I couldn’t watch Eraserhead, but enjoyed both Blue Velvet, and Lost Highway. Of those I’ve seen, Mulholland Drive strikes me as easily the best. Lynch was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for best director. Like much of his work, it’s left to the viewer to make sense of what has been seen, and to interpret any symbolism or deeper meaning. In fact, Lynch, (particularly with this film) has developed a large cult following. Like Dylan song lyrics, more analysis and interpretation exists for this than any other film that comes to mind. That may not necessarily be the mark of a great film, but it certainly indicates a level of interest bordering on the compulsive for a great many people. Let’s examine why, but if you have yet to see the film, I suggest you do so before reading further.
The Plot is difficult to summarize. Like Pulp Fiction, scenes develop seemingly disparate story lines that don’t necessarily appear in chronological order, while bizarre characters appear and re-appear in scenes that make little sense on the surface. For most, repeat viewings are necessary to sort everything out, and put it all in proper context.

As the film begins, a group of 50’s era teens frantically jitterbug to big band music while an over-exposed image of a young blonde and elderly couple is superimposed over them. There is a brief cut to a red comforter covering a sleeping body. This in turn cuts to a street sign of Mulholland Drive, and a beautiful brunette woman (Laura Harring) in the back of a limo which stops in the middle of the street. There are flashes of two cars full of youngsters racing downhill on a dangerous curving road. The woman asks why they stopped, and the driver turns, points a pistol at her, and tells her to get out. The two cars barrel around a curve and slam into the limo killing all except the woman. Bloodied and dazed, she staggers down the hill, crosses Sunset Boulevard, and hides in shrubs outside a gated apartment complex where she falls asleep. In the morning she sneaks into an apartment while the occupant is in the process of leaving.

The perky, wholesome young woman seen briefly at the beginning is Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) from Deep River, Ontario. She arrives in Hollywood to “apartment sit” for her actress aunt, and pursue her own dream to make it as an actress and movie star. The elderly couple originally shown with her turn out to be her traveling companions from the plane. Betty is startled to find the mysterious brunette in her aunt’s shower. When asked her name, the woman appears confused, but seeing a poster of Rita Hayworth as Gilda on the wall, answers “Rita”. Betty quickly learns Rita is not her aunt’s friend, and is suffering from amnesia, but still befriends her, and together they try to find out who Rita is, and what has happened to her. They also discover a wad of cash and mysterious blue key in her purse which they hide in a hat box in the closet.
In a parallel story, a young movie director, Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) attends a meeting with studio executives, to re-cast the lead role in his film. Also there are the Castiglione Brothers (Dan Hedaya and Angelo Badalamenti), mobsters with apparent studio control. They pull out a picture of a young actress named Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) telling Adam “this is the girl” who must be cast as the lead. Adam refuses, but various characters, including a cowboy, subsequently threaten Adam, ultimately securing his acquiescence.

Betty is scheduled to read for a part at an audition arranged by her aunt. She practices reading the lines in a conventional boring manner with Rita. At the audition, Betty takes it to a whole new level. This earns her a different audition for Adam’s movie,The Sylvia North Story, but Adam, as we know, has already agreed to cast Camilla Rhodes. Betty leaves without auditioning. She and Rita follow a lead to the apartment of Diane Selwyn (also played by Naomi Watts) where they break in only to find Diane dead in the bedroom. Rita becomes hysterical, and when they get home, she cuts her hair and dons a blonde wig that looks exactly like Betty’s hair. Betty invites Rita to share her aunt’s big bed, and they engage in a lesbian encounter.

Rita has a dream in which she speaks Spanish. She asks Betty to go with her to a seedy club (Club Silencio). An extremely surreal scene ensues where performers explain things are not what they appear. Betty begins to shake violently. A female vocalist performs Roy Orbison’s Crying in Spanish causing both Betty and Rita to weep. They find a blue box in Betty’s purse. Upon returning, Rita turns to get the hatbox where she earlier hid her own purse with the cash and blue key, but when she turns back, Betty has disappeared. Rita uses the blue key from her purse to open the blue box, and the camera zooms down into the darkness of the box. This occurs nearly 80% of the way through the film, and from here on, ensuing scenes are designed to tie together the loose ends from the first two hours.
The camera cuts to Diane’s apartment. She is lying on her bed in exactly the same position she was earlier when found dead. A door knock sounds, and the same Cowboy (Monty Montgomery) who earlier convinced Adam to cast Camilla Rhodes as the lead in The Sylvia North Story says “Come on pretty girl, time to wake up”. We notice a red lamp shade by the bed, and a blue key on the coffee table. Diane turns around and fantasizes that her lover, who had apparently broken up with her, has come back. Surprise! It’s “Rita” whose real name is Camilla.

The final scenes tend to hop about in a series of flashbacks. Diane receives a call from Camilla telling her she is sending a limo for her. We see the same shot of Mulholland Drive and the limo stopping, but this time, it is Diane in the back seat. Camilla walks up to greet her, then takes her up a shortcut path to Adam’s house where a party is in progress. Many characters from earlier in the movie now appear in different persona. During cocktail chatter, we learn Diane was from Deep River, Ontario where she won a dance contest that inspired her to become an actress using some of the money she inherited from an aunt in the film business who passed away. She recounts how she met Camilla on the set of The Sylvia North Story when Camilla beat her out for the lead role. Subsequently they became friends (and apparently lovers). Adam and Camilla announce their engagement, and we see a tear trickle down Diane’s cheek followed by a look of hatred.

The scene jumps to Winkie’s on Sunset Blvd., a diner that has shown up repeatedly earlier in the film. Diane appears to take out a hit on Camilla with an unsavory character introduced previously. She pays with a roll of cash, possibly the inheritance from her aunt. He tells her he will leave a blue key “where they had discussed” when the job is done. Behind the diner is a grotesque, homeless man seen early in the film. At his feet is a paper bag with the blue box. Miniature versions of the elderly couple scurry out of the bag laughing hysterically. The scene shifts back to Diane’s where she sits on her sofa. There is a door knock, and the little people scurry under the door to attack her. She retreats to her bedroom, gets a gun from the night table, and shoots herself. Silencio!
So What Does It All Mean? - Well, there in lies the fun and mystery of the film. After seeing it a couple of times, it became pretty clear to me that most of the first two hours are essentially a dream fantasy of Diane Selwyn, a would be actress who has been ground down by Hollywood. Rejected both professionally and personally, she reacts in an unfortunate way, contracting to have the lover who jilted her murdered. The subsequent despair experienced at her circumstances drives her to take her own life, but not before dreaming of the events that transpired to bring her to this lowest point. Naturally, she retreats to an earlier, happier time, imagining a career and relationship more the way she hoped they would turn out. As often happens in dreams, many of the characters who inhabit them are drawn from actual people she has recently encountered, even if only in some small way.

In subsequent viewings, the story becomes clearer since Lynch left plenty of clues. The color red (similar to The Sixth Sense) is shown with comforters, lampshades, or an appliance “on” switch, and seemingly signals changes from dream to reality or at least a shift in time. In fact, Lynch lists this in the DVD package as one of 10 clues to help viewers “unlock the thriller.”
Then, Is This A Masterpiece? - Those words tend to get thrown around far too much, however I do think this is an exceptional film, and easily Lynch’s best. The first two hour segment (the dream sequence) was written as a t.v. pilot. When it was clear it wouldn’t be picked, Lynch cobbled together the last half hour to wrap things up and transform it into a feature film. The way he did is exceptionally skillful. It also became the breakout role for the actress Naomi Watts who displays an incredible range in portraying Betty Elms and Diane. Her scene with the actor Chad Everett during Betty’s audition is actually a stunning example of how superb acting can transform a set of lines into something extraordinary. It is clear his spoofing of Hollywood could only be told by someone who had actually experienced it.

Lynch is able to mix in the right amount of his unusual humor into several scenes. Two great examples are Badalamenti spitting the expresso into his napkin, and the mob enforcer encountering Adam’s ex-wife and Billy Ray Cyrus as the pool man who was bedding her.

One of my gripes with David Lynch has always been that he goes out of his way to place the weird or bizarre in everyday settings. I first noticed that during the Twin Peaks t.v. series, when he included a scene at the vet with a Llama in the waiting room. It seemed like he was trying just a little too hard to be David Lynch. In this film, though, while there is a little of that, it never rises to the level of a turn-off and the really great elements far outweigh any negatives. Many have found incredibly rich allegorical meaning in this film citing their belief that with Lynch, virtually no single frame is ever without symbolism. Others have expressed their hypothesis of a return to themes of sexual abuse prevalent in his earlier work, or prostitution. Lynch’s exact intention can’t be known since he won’t discuss them.

My preference is to not deconstruct every scene or hypothesize about implicit meanings, although doing so surely is a hell of a lot of fun. There are definite allusions to many classics such as Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona, and The Wizard of Oz. Personally, my feeling is that this one is probably Lynch’s own updated version of or homage to the classic Sunset Boulevard, told in his own peculiar style. The similarities are just too striking. But then, that is only one opinion. How about yours?

There are many links to essays or reviews which are helpful to better understand Mulholland Drive. With the prior caveat about seeing the film first, some of the most helpful include:

44 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Whoops....

There's a bit of story here. Everyone has been asking me to review this film, telling me how great it was. I said I would. Then I went to Amazon and pulled down Mulholland Falls by mistake.

My first thought was, "What the heck is wrong with these people? This film sucks!!" So I didn't review it because I didn't really want to say, "Gee, that film you all like... it stinks." So I just kind of let it slip.

Then Jed sends me this several months later and I suddenly realized that I'd seen the wrong movie!! Ugh!! Sorry folks. (sad face).

Anyways, please enjoy Jed's excellent review of this film.:)

Thanks Jed!

Tennessee Jed said...

I actually wrote most of this review a few years ago back when I started to do a few for Commentarama. I never sent it to you because I wasn't sure I could edit the copy down to a manageable length. Then when the subject came up a couple months ago, I offered, but you said you would write one, but it rekindled my interest in the film.It intrigued me to re-visit my review and pair it down to a better size. Maybe I feel like David Lynch did trying to take a work that was intended to be a television series, then paired down to a feature film.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It's interesting isn't it, how much he packed into this film?

I'm a fan of Lynch overall, though I don't enjoy all of his work. I loved Twin Peaks and I really liked Dune (though I like the longer version he repudiated better). I think what I like most is that he's not afraid the challenge his audiences and use really strange ideas and images that no one else has ever considered.

Tennessee Jed said...

I should also mention that the director that Lynch most reminds me of is Ingmar Bergman. There is no question that his films tend to have a "art house" feel to them. This film has been called a "mobius strip" and I think there is is a lot to be said for that characterization. I do like Lynch, but with the full realization he is not accessible to a lot of viewers. And, to be honest, I think while the film alludes to the film classic Sunset Blvd., it is in actuality so much more than just a homage to that film.

Tennessee Jed said...

The more I have studied this film, the more I am convinced he is an extremely careful director who leaves virtually nothing to chance. I had to do quite a bit of reading before I picked up on the full extent of the sexual abuse theme that showed up in Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks. Here the cues are everywhere, from the painting of Beatrice Censi, in Aunt Ruth's apartment, to the more obvious scene with Chadd Everett in the audition. In fact, Deep River is a real town where Canada does all it's nuclear research. It was also used in Blue Velvet.

Tennessee Jed said...

And yes, Andrew, perhaps what I like best about Mulholland Drive is how Lynch took themes he probably intended to develop over a season or two, and had to edit them down to just under 30 minutes. I just love the whole rip on Hollywood. Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable, two starlets who were former dancers became the top pin-up girls of the 40's. And the fact Rita Hayworth allegedly was abused as a child by her father (a Spaniard) and had her hair dyed red to look less hispanic. Then her husband, Orson Welles, dyed it blonde and cut it for Lady from Shanghai.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I like the fact that he's thoughtful. So few directors are. They tell a general story and throw in some themes here and there, but they tend to be awash in contradictions or continuity errors because none of the ideas are really developed before they begin shooting. Lynch takes his time and fully grasps what he wants to do before he does it. That's the only way to be able to handle some of the things he does. And that's really rare.

Tennessee Jed said...

And one last thought before I call it a night on EDT. The entire scene at Club Silencio packs so much into it. Rebeka Del Rio is a real and famous Mexican singer. Lynch loves Roy Orbison, and the Spanish version is double-edged. Again, we have the allusion to Rita Hayworth as a young child dancing in Tiajuana with her abusive father. She is referenced as the Crying Lady of L.A. which refers to a famous Mexican folktale and 1933 film "La Llorona" who drowned her 2 young children so she could marry a rich and powerful man who then rejected her. She was denied entrance to heaven and roams the nether regions between earth and heaven weeping and wailing. One common version says if a person hears her cries, they are marked for death.

shawn said...

Got to admit, this one bored me to tears. Oh well, different strokes...

Tennessee Jed said...

Shawn - that is exactly my point about Lynch's "art house" films. They are not very approchable to mass audiences because they are inaccessible. A lot of people simply say "WTF"" was that?" and walk out. That is the way I was when I saw Eraserhead." And the dream sequence is dark and moody given the Badalamenti score which is typical of the Twin Peaks years. The mystery set up in the early sequence intrigued me enough that I stayed with it long enough to watch it all, and I couldn't get the film out of my head. So I watched it again, and it made more sense to me. Then, I started to seek out analysis and review. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became. In that regard, he is very much like Bergman's Sevent Seal or Persona. Definitly not for everybody. But thematically brilliant.

Dwizzum said...

Excellent review! I've been a Lynch Fan since Twin Peaks. Mulholland Drive is a great film. I really like it because while it might look like a bunch of random weird crap going on, there is an actual objective reality underneath. The fun part is trying to figure out the puzzle. Lost Highway is the same way.

Tennessee Jed said...

Dwizzum - thanks for your kind words. Yes, there is a definite method to the madness even some of the symbolism is to obscure to be appreciated without assistance. If you have not read it, the most thorough analysis I have read is from Dr. Alan Shaw, Phd. It runs to about 50 pages and can be accessed at "Lost on Mulholland Drive" the most definitive site for people who like to analyze this film. Everything Shaw says is well thought out, and could easily be true, but we must remember that is the viewer's perception. We cannot tell exactly what was in Lynch's mind because he refuses to say.

Tennessee Jed said...

As Andrew mentioned, Lynch challenges his viewers rather than spoon feeding them, even though some of the clues are like neon signs. As Betty says,I'd like to be known a a great actress, but sometimes people are both that and a star. That is what I hope to be, and now I'm heree in this "dream" place. The point is, we don't know if Diane is "just" dreaming, whether she is hving a psychotic breakdown, and merging with Camilla's personality or ..... like Sunset Blvd., whether she speaks from the grave.

Tennessee Jed said...

Speaking of psychotic breakdowns, and identity merger, I picked up Criterion's Blu-Ray release of Persona. Lynch was an avid devotee who, I believe, spoke at his funeral. The imagery is stunning on the Blu-Ray, particularly the shot wher Bibi Andersen and Liv Ulmann's face become superimposed. If you like Mulholland Drive and have not seen it, you should pick up the Blu-Ray. Same with Sunset Blvd. And then, of course, there is Dorothy and O and all that ....

tryanmax said...

I haven't seen Mullholland Drive, so I only skimmed the article. I will say that Lynch is a challenging director, which I appreciate. That said, the second season of Twin Peaks totally lost me.

Tennessee Jed said...

Max - Thanks for your comment, and I understand your pain. That is what I was alluding to when I mentioned my own frustration with Lynch. I appreciate Lynch's presentation of fairly deep themes that are important to him. But, unless one is willing to research it, many of the clues, allusions, and are not knowable by most viewers. I'm not completely certain I can consider him great for just that reason. Some of his symbols were better brought out in the "Fire Walk with Me" film, but still it is incredibly frustrating.

However, with Mulholland Drive, the main narrative is relatively accessible to a determined viewer without outside help. And he leaves enough room for individual interpretation to invite multiple viewing and discussion.
However the degree to which Lynch's clues "clue" you in" varies in subtlety and context. Let me give you some examples of the allusions to the sexual abuse of Diane Selwyn as a child. I mentioned the famous painting of Beatrice Censi, the 16th century Italian noble woman who was abused by her father, hired a hitman to kill him and was executed for it. Percy Bysshe Shelly wrote a famous play, and she remains a symbol of this type of crime. Adam Kesher's wife is banging Gene, the pool man. e.g she was having "gene pool sex". And Lynch alludes to the 1960's film "Sylvia" played by Caroll Baker who was abused as a child and turns to prostitution. In other words, I marvel at the depth of his symbolism, but wonder just how hard a viewer should have to work. Still, I really recommend it. Then read my review again and visit the links.

John Jameson said...

Jed, you've done a great job, I think, in producing such a nicely balanced and informative review of this complex film. Like you, I consider MD to be Lynch's finest work, and something of a masterpiece indeed. I would also second your recommendation of Alan Shaw's essay as one of the best analyses of the symbolism and interpretation of the movie.

There are a couple of points I'd like to amplify (to indulge myself). First, MD is a work not just of genius, but serendipity. Nobody, not even Lynch, could possibly have set out to make the movie MD ultimately became. As you point out, it was originally intended as a pilot for a t.v. serial, and so began as a montage of thematically related, but loosely connected and open-ended scenes. When he was given the opportunity to rework the footage into a feature, Lynch admits that it took some time for him to figure out how to do it. Furthermore, the solution he found - making the existing footage "all a dream" by filming additional "reality" scenes - is even a bit cliched.

The genius of Lynch is the brilliant (and, as you say, exceptionally skilful) way in which he combined the undeveloped raw material and the cliched idea to create such a profound work. The key to this, in my opinion, is the way that dream and reality segments interrelate and inform each other. This creates a circle/spiral of ideas (the "mobius strip" that you mention) about our love-affair with Hollywood and stardom, and the pitfalls that lie therein.
Lynch makes these connections using a dazzling array of techniques including symbolism, references, cinematography, and sharp editing.

Let me give an example I particularly like. The money in the dream segment clearly represents the money Diane uses to pay for the hit on Camilla in the reality segment. How did she get this money? Well, there is a very nice scene in the dream, in which the hit man is talking with a prostitute and her pimp. The symbolism is very obvious: not only do we see a red lamp, but also a figure in the background walks past carrying an absurdly long red pole! The scene then cuts directly to Betty and Rita asking where the money came from. The link to prostitution is further amplified by the red lamp in Diane's room, and the importance of the telephone to a call girl. This leads to the suggestion (during the dinner party scene) that Badalamenti's character was one of Diane's clients, which further adds to his role as one of the Castiglianii brothers in the dream segment: Betty (Diane) will never be a star because Adam's movie (her life) has been corrupted and bought. Thus the ideas continue to spiral outwards.

Tennessee Jed said...

John - great comments. It is really nice to hear from a Lynch fan who has jumped into the M.H. analysis game. I will admit that the prostitution angle, particularly as pursued by Shaw had escaped me, although it is entirely plausible. After having looked closely at those scenes, (don't forget Pink's Hot Dogs) I might not agree they are quite so clear. The lamp is the window is not very obvious too me. Yes the call is to Diane so there is a connection to her. It is fair to theorize she was involved in prostitution, but maybe not. It could just be a symbol of the overall way actresses are treated as prostitutes. In Diane's dream, the hit was put out by nefarious big wigs rather by Diane herself. So she dreams a call chain from people after "Rita" that ends up at Diane who is the real perp.Her hitman happens to be a pimp as well which may just be a symbol of how "Rita" got parts by behaving as a prostitute and sleeping her way to the top. Either way works for me.

Tennessee Jed said...

I was always intrigued by the person who pointed out all the Aunt Ruth connections including the symbolism of her name aUNTRUTH. Also, the note pinned to the name on the dress of Betty (who she call "Bitsey" where the name "Rita" was superimposed.

John Jameson said...

Jed, yes, I agree that the prostitution references could be metaphorical, but I find the way Lynch cuts the prostitute-pimp-hitman scene into the money scene rather strong (the scenes are not cut this way in the original pilot, if I remember rightly). And the red pole is blatently telling those who notice it to take the prostitution connection seriously, cf. Gene the Pool Man for the incest/child abuse connection.

On the other hand, I don't see the hitman as a pimp: his interest in Rita and the black book in the dream are professional (i.e., he is being paid to be interested).

ScottDS said...

Jed -

I've never seen the film so forgive me for skipping the review on account of the spoilers. :-)

I'll get to it one day! (I keep hearing rumors of a Criterion Collection release but it hasn't happened yet.)

Tennessee Jed said...

John - you may well be correct. I would have to go back and look at the scene again. I thought the hitman was the pimp, but it has been a while.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - while I'm surprised you haven't seen this, it would be interesting to see your take on it if you ever do view it. I think the fact it was a t.v. show morphed into a feature changed a lot of Lynch's original thoughts. If you like Igmar Bergman, I would think you will appreciate this one, and in many ways, it is easier than some of his other films to comprehend.

Tennessee Jed said...

As far as the Criterion Blu-Ray release, it was rumored almost a year ago with nothing since. It is annoying it was released in Germany and not here. Lynch likes money, and one of my gripes with him is the way he seems to treat fans of the movie with a certain lack of respect. The DVD was disappointing. There are no chapters which makes analysis really difficult. Almost nothing in the way of special features, and while Lynch won't discuss the meaning of the film, the ten "clues" to unlock the mystery seems to fly in the face of that stance. On the criterion edition of Persona, there are wonderful interviews with Bergman. I do agree with both that to spell everything out kind of robs the film of it's ability to permit the viewer to interpret as they see fit.

ScottDS said...

Jed -

To be fair, Lynch may not have 100% control over when/where his movies are released. It's obvious Universal is taking their sweet time... but if Criterion is doing it, I'm sure it'll be worth it. (I think a different company owns the home video rights in Germany, hence the release over there.)

I know Lynch doesn't do commentaries and from some of the DVD/Blu reviews I've read, sometimes he does interviews, sometimes he doesn't. It wouldn't surprise me if he purposely kept things cryptic with this one.

Tennessee Jed said...

John Jamison - I did look at the scene, and agree the strongest hint is through the juxtaposition of the "Made especially for Pink's" scene with the "how did you get the money" scene. But that, to me, is more an indication that Camilla was the prostitute rather than Diane. If so, it is possible more the figurative prostitution symbolic of the Hollywood casting couch. That one, to me, is more interpretive since Lynch is not disposed to say if Diane was acting as a call girl. As far as the red lamps, I still wonder why the red lamp shade, ashtray, and telephone are not Diane's real phone and lampshade. They are shown when Diane is in black negligee, the same one where Betty encounters the dead Diane, is "awakened" by the cowboy, and gets a "call" from Camilla.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - it wouldn't surprise me either, but does show a certain lack of consistency on his part. Lynch "being Lynch" I suppose.

Outlaw13 said...

I keep getting this movie mixed up with Mulholland Falls. Which is awesome because it has Jennifer Connelly topless...but so do several other films so scratch that. :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Outlaw, have you ever delved into David Lynch? He is like so many of the avante gard film makers; Fellini, Bergman, etc. Sometimes with Lynch, it doesn't seem worth the efoort, but sometimes, if you do, it can be amazing. "MD" is a movie that can put you to sleep, but if you can stay with it, after the initial "WTF" was that, it gets into your head and hooks you. There is a ton of texture here.

Tennessee Jed said...

oh, and if you liked Jennifer Connelly topless, the scenes with Naomi Watts and Laura Harring can definitely rock your world.

Outlaw13 said...

I have seen this film and I was a fan of Twin Peaks so I know what you mean Jed on all counts. :)

John Jameson said...

Jed, of course I agree with you that the money in the dream segment tells us about Rita: indeed, the people looking for Rita are looking for a high end call girl (the telephone calls, lamps, black book, Pink's scene all make that clear). However, there are two things we may take from this in the reality segment.

1. Rita is a (high end) prostitute in the dream; as you say, this suggest that Camilla has slept her way to stardom (or more generally used her sexuality). Her relationship with Adam is further evidence of this.

2. The money in the dream came from prostitution. In the reality segment, this is Diane's money, suggesting that she earned it through prostitution. Her uncomfortable interaction with Badalamenti's character further suggests this, as does the telephone, lamp and ashtray beside her bed.

Related to this, I did not understand your last remark: by "are not" did you mean to write "are" ?

ScottDS said...

oh, and if you liked Jennifer Connelly topless, the scenes with Naomi Watts and Laura Harring can definitely rock your world.

Hell, even I've seen those scenes. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

John Jamison - I had copy today and tonight so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. When I went back to some of the analysis about red lampshades after your post (such as the key Pink's scene,) I also looked at the other scenes where the red lampshade is shown. The first time is at the end of the call chain from Mr. Rourke. The other is when the call comes from Camilla to Diane telling her she is sending a limo to pick her up. Now look very closely at the death scene where Diane shoots herself. It is a different phone, a different lamp, and no ashtray. I had never noticed that before. Furthermore, when Diane is shown with the red lamp shade and ashtray, she is wearing a black slip. In the real world, the negligee is either gray or dirty white. Any thoughts?

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - there are scenes that were deleted from the DVD at the actresses' request. Full frontal, apparently. They supposedly circulate around in pirated copies, but I don't know.

Tennessee Jed said...

I haven't played the micro-analysis game in years, but this lampshade thing I never noticed, and shows one can always find new things in MD to talk about. If you go to Lost on Mulholland Drive site, there is a lampshade gallery from the film. On the second row, the lampshade marked bedroom #17 Sierra Bonita, you see the lamp from the suicide scene. The red lampshade labeled "somewhere" appears only in fantasy. It is the one you with the ashtray, seen twice as I noted above.

Tennessee Jed said...

and, I should point out, it would be easy to consider these normal continuity errors in a film where shooting had to be-done at a later time were it not for the black negligee, and the legend surrounding Lynch's leaving nothing to chance.

John Jameson said...

Jed, I haven't seen the film for a while, but one explanation may be that the red lamp and phone is in Diane's living room, not her bedroom. Alternatives: it is the lamp belonging to DeRosa, or the "somewhere" is the room where Diane met her clients. Do any of these fit?

Tennessee Jed said...

I don't think so. You cannot telll the locationthe first time you see it ( at the end of the call chain) but I am ptetty sure you seeit is beside Diane's bed when the call comes from Camilla

John Jameson said...

Hi Jed, I had another look at MD and the call from Camilla, and I see only a wall with reflections on it, no bed. Furthermore at the end of the previous scene, when Diane here's the phone ring, she looks up from the sofa towards the corner of the living room, rather than turning towards the bedroom. Then there is the jump-cut/flashback to the call from Camilla, and Diane enters the living room from the corridor to the bedroom. She is not wearing a black negligee, but her dress for the party.

Tennessee Jed said...

Thanks, John. I had to drive from Knoxville to Louisville for a funeral on Friday, and back today so I didn't have an oppotunity to re-look at the "Camilla" call scene. I truly wish he had put in chapters to facilita quicker look-ups. Kind of a classsic Lynch move. :)

John Jameson said...

My condolences about the funeral. Incidentally, in viewing the movie again, I noticed that there is another (perhaps clearer) shot of the phone and lamp in Diane's bedroom - just after she wakes up, and is getting up to let DeRosa in.

Tennessee Jed said...

yeah, after I read your comments, I screened the last part again, and it looks like the "red" lampshade is either a different place altogether, or possibly in the corner of the main room between the fireplace, and just outside the entrance to the bedroom. If one wanted to nitpick, it is a strange place to have an ashtray, lamp, and phone, but hey. What piqud my interest after your post was I was looking at the end of the film and clearly so it was a different lamp, and I assumed it was by her bed. Well, as I said in the review, one can go crazy and have fun doing it with MD! :)

John Jameson said...

I agree - just skimming through the film again, I appreciated several things I hadn't noted before!

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