Blue Velvet Supplemental Readings

blue velvet bens

By Lauren Backus

On September 19th, 1986, David Lynch’s now-cult classic BLUE VELVET was released. 2016 marks the film’s 30th anniversary, and here at the Brattle, we’re providing the best way to celebrate- a full of week of showings, (July 1st-7th) featuring a brand new restoration of the film. To prepare you for your visit back to Lumberton, and the world of Dorothy Vallens, Frank Booth, and others, we’ve compiled a list of supplemental readings about the film and its legacy.  Continue reading

Blue Velvet



By Christian Whitworth

It’s a strange world; or rather, it’s a strange neighborhood in David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET (1986). Lynch’s microcosm, in which a small town carries the horror of a maniacal detective story, acts paradigmatically to disclose the psychosexual turmoil of the human mind. The opening scene posits a white picket fence, saturated roses, a gleeful fireman, and a fatherly figure watering the garden. It’s the American dream in its cinematic realization. Yet in typical Lynch fashion, this idyllic scene is threatened by a freak accident. The man watering the garden collapses to the ground and the camera descends to his level, submerging the viewer in the grass, where bugs squirm as an assertion of the ensuing uneasiness. Continue reading

McCabe & Mrs. Miller


By Stephen Mayne

A man rides in from the cold, looking to make a fresh start in a tiny town. He brings with him a willingness to throw the dice and a big rep. He’s a gunslinger, someone to be respected, or so the story goes. Soon he’s a bigshot with a woman he loves and a mini-empire coveted by a company and its hired guns. It may sound familiar because it’s a jumble of plot elements from countless westerns, but this is Robert Altman, and it’s going to go down differently. Continue reading

The Myth of Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson (1972) | Pers: Robert Redford | Dir: Sydney Pollack | Ref: JER001AQ | Photo Credit: [ Warner Bros / The Kobal Collection ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

By Christian Whitworth

In effect of personal transformation, in search of both spiritual and concrete self-actualization, nineteenth-century soldier Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) embarks upon a lonesome venture into the Rocky Mountains. While at first his drive outweighs his ability, his persistence against such archetypal threats (starvation, cold weather, solitude, and an accentuated threat of Native American “savages”) garners his esteemed reputation. Here, wilderness survival gives way to mythmaking. His position between the local Native American tribes and urban pressures gives witness to a series of both horrific and fulfilling incidents. These are the adversities that make JEREMIAH JOHNSON (1972) a cult classic. Continue reading

The Shining

the shining

By Greg Mucci

Since its release in 1980, THE SHINING has run the gamut of hypothesis and theories that encapsulates Stanley Kubrick’s film as an intricate, psychological entry into the horror genre; one that is too often ridiculed for lacking intellectual depth or foresight. While most know how far Kubrick veered from the original novel, which Stephen King has openly scrutinized, going as far to produce a mini-series in 1997, what THE SHINING does effectively is utilize time and space in a deliberate effort to entrench us in a descent into madness. Even as the opening credits scroll backwards across the screen, an effect that tells us that the beginning is already the end, we are only allowed access to so much, gliding over our ascending vehicle yet never gaining access to who or what force propels it towards impending doom. Only when it is too late, and we are in the Overlook Hotel, our murderously bloodied winter lodging, are we given entry to the past; one that is covered up with lies and fear induced rationality. Continue reading

Night and the City


By Valeriy Kolyadych

Harry Fabian is a scumbag. He’s a two-bit, no-good hustler, stepping and stumbling over everyone in his ongoing fight for a slice of the proverbial pie. In one of the early scenes of Jules Dassin’s 1950 classic, NIGHT AND THE CITY, Harry is combing through his girlfriend’s apartment, looking for money to put towards gambling or scheming. She comes in midway, and he sheepishly says he was looking for the cigarettes. She doesn’t buy it, and neither does anyone else. When we meet him, he’s the town laughingstock, a tired racehorse whose tricks are well known to everyone around him. Continue reading

His Kind of Woman

His Kind of Woman

By Kerry Fristoe

Until you watch HIS KIND OF WOMAN, you might not realize Vincent Price is the star. You might believe the credits and think you’re watching a Robert Mitchum/Jane Russell vehicle full of mobsters who crack wise and a beauty who sings a little. After all, up to this point, Vincent Price spent a lot of time in costume dramas or as the guy who didn’t get the girl. Gene Tierney threw him over for Dana Andrews in LAURA even after she was dead and she dumped him again the next year for Cornel Wilde in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN. I’m not sure Hollywood knew what to do with the erudite actor. Handsome, articulate, and athletic, Vincent looked the part of the leading man, but had more to give. You might say he was too smart for his own good. Male ingénue parts don’t show off your sense of humor much so studios plugged him into the role of the witty, yet evil count. A few films, like SHOCK (1946) allowed him to show more range, but it wasn’t until Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe phase in the 1960s that Vincent was really allowed to shine. The exception to that is HIS KIND OF WOMAN. Vincent Price sinks his teeth into the Mark Cardigan role. Continue reading

In a Lonely Place

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By Stephen Mayne

To suggest IN A LONELY PLACE is a film about a murder is akin to calling PYSCHO a story about a shower. Sure, both feature prominently, but that’s hardly the point. There’s far more going on in this murky exploration of a paranoid, pandering Hollywood, and two damaged people struggling to find something to cling to before they’re both swept away. Continue reading

Sunset Boulevard


By Jessie McAskill

SUNSET BOULEVARD accomplishes the difficult task of being an intriguing story primarily focused on endings and false starts. The film begins with the conclusion, protagonist and narrator Joe Gillis floating dead in the pool, immediately followed by a flashback of Joe giving up on his dying career as a film writer. His first meeting with former Hollywood starlet Norma Desmond occurs over the corpse of her dead pet chimpanzee –  a vacancy soon to be filled by Joe himself. Norma had already witnessed the cessation of her career on screen, predicated by the overall demise of silent pictures. SUNSET BOULEVARD depicts the collision of these endings and its aftermath, including a doomed resistance movement lead by Joe and Norma to jumpstart their flagging occupations which results only in tragedy and a sense of inevitability. Continue reading