Blue Velvet (1986)

R   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller


Blue Velvet (1986) Poster

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.


7.7/10
184,085


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  • Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Isabella Rossellini and Jeff Goodwin in Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (1986)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


18 May 2003 | bob the moo
One of Lynch's most accessible and optimistic films
Jeffrey Beaumont returns to his small town home when his father has an accident and ends up in hospital. A quiet walk home changes his perceptions forever when he discovers a human ear in the long grass. He reports it to the police but decides to make some enquires himself with the help of the officer's daughter Sandy. The trail begins with the mysterious Dorothy Vallens and drags Jeffrey into the unseen underworld of Frank Booth.

For the majority of people, you either like Lynch or you dislike him. Personally I like the majority of his work, I love the sense of normalcy that he can create and slowly change to reveal a darkness that is worryingly close to the surface. That is the case here, beginning with a blue sky, white picket fence vision of small town America the camera drops into the grass to see a torrent of bugs scrambling just under the surface. In the same way the film follows Jeffrey's journey into the underbelly of his home town.

In some ways this is one of the easiest Lynch films to get into – here the darkness is not a wide world of demons as in Fire Walk With Me, but is one man and his associates who can be overcome. The darkness is therefore accessible to all but is laced with just enough weirdness to disturb – my favourite scene is where Frank takes Jeffrey to see Ben, it is just a little unsettling. In hand with this is the fact that it is easily one of his most optimistic films, the good angel in Jeffrey's life is a strong character and the ending is one of certainty rather than open to interpretation – that robin has about a clear a meaning as it can.

MacLachlan is well used as Jeffrey. He is wide eyed and innocent even when being sucked into the underworld. Dern plays `all-American' well but doesn't have the complexity of MacLachlan in the script. Rossellini has a challenging role and carries it off quite well – I didn't fully understand her character but I don't know if that was my fault or hers. Of course the film belongs to Hopper who is terrifyingly unstable. Without a doubt he is a monster and you never are left in any doubt as to his state of mind. For an example of his work here watch the scene where Stockwell (in a wonderfully weird cameo) sings and Hopper clearly falls to pieces.

Although I prefer Fire Walk With Me, I do think that this is Lynch's best film. It is weird without going totally overboard and it allows us to sink into the underworld gradually without sudden falls. Hopper controls every scene he is in, but the meeting of wholesome and weird is perfectly delivered and is trademark Lynch.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In her autobiography, Isabella Rossellini talked about her nude scene on the lawn of the police detective: "I wish I'd found some other approach for the scene in 'Blue Velvet'; I did not like being totally exposed. I kept worrying about what my family would think when the film came out, and I searched and searched for other solutions until the last moment - also because people were gathering around the set to watch the making of the film. People came out with blankets and picnic baskets, with their grandmothers and small children. I begged the assistant director to warn them it was going to be a tough scene, that I was going to be totally naked, but they stayed, anyway. I went out and talked to them myself, but they were already in the mood of an audience and just stared at me without reacting to my plea and warning."


Quotes

Radio announcer: It's a sunny, woodsy day in Lumberton, so get those chainsaws out. This is the mighty W.O.O.D., the musical voice of Lumberton. At the sound of the falling tree, it's 9:30. There's a whole lotta wood waitin' out there, so let's get goin'.
Nurse Cindy: Mr. ...


Goofs

The movie is set in Lumberton, NC. A map of Lumberton on the police station wall is actually a map of Wilmington, NC, where the movie was filmed. Wilmington is on the coast, as shown on the map, while Lumberton is about 90 miles inland.


Alternate Versions

Originally running at nearly four hours, Blue Velvet was cut to approximately two hours (120 minutes) for distribution. The missing footage was put in storage and apparently lost for good. Some of the missing scenes are:

  • A couple of scenes at the college where Jeffrey attends which takes place during a dance where two of his friends are on the dance floor with him watching when another friend tells him he has a call from home and he learns about his father's stroke and tells his roommate he has to leave immediately.
  • The hospital scene is longer with more dialogue with Jeffrey trying to communicate with his incapacitated father in his hospital bed and talking to a doctor who explains his father's condition.
  • A scene at Jeffrey's home with the doctor giving Mrs. Beaumont an injection to calm her down over the stress of her husband's plight.
  • Jeffrey having coffee with Mrs. Williams as he's waiting to talk to Detective Williams about his find of the severed human ear. Jeffrey also meets Sandy for the first time at the house.
  • An extended scene of Jeffrey with Dorothy in her apartment after Frank Booth leaves and finding another severed human ear in the bathroom sink.
  • An argument between Jeffrey and Sandy over his continued obsession in the Dorothy Valens case.
  • A rooftop scene during Jeffrey's second visit to Dorothy where she confides in him about her messed up life and wants to throw herself off the roof of the building. But Jeffrey stops her and they kiss for the first time.
  • A dinner scene where Jeffrey has dinner with Sandy and her parents where her boyfriend Mike joins them and grows suspicious at the table of the relationship between Sandy and Jeffrey.
  • A very surreal scene at the seedy nightclub "This Is It" where Frank and his three henchmen take Jeffrey and Dorothy through the dark, dimly lit place filled with topless waitresses, one of them lights her nipples on fire. Frank then beats up a man and throws him across a pool table for not fixing his jacket pockets for he "lost his trophy." This explains how Jeffrey found the missing ear in the field behind the hospital, it apparently fell through a hole in Frank's jacket pocket.
  • A final epilogue scene at the police station where Jeffrey and Sandy give their statements to the press of the case and of Williams explaining that they found Dorothy's young son at the nightclub, Frank's henchmen are dead after the shootout at the warehouse, and the nightclub owner Ben and a few others have been apprehended at the club during the raid.


Soundtracks

Honky Tonk (Part I)
Performed by
Bill Doggett (as Bill Doggett)
Courtesy of Gusto Records Inc.
Written by Shep Shepherd, Clifford Scott, Bill Doggett (as Bill Doggett) and Billy Butler
Publisher: W & K Publishing Corp., Islip Music

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$789,409 21 September 1986

Gross USA:

$8,551,228

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,618,029

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