In David Lynch’s electrifyingly original neo-noir horror-thriller, Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern play youngsters who become involved in the mystery surrounding a nightclub singer and are plunged into the dark, surreal depths of small-town America. Described by one reviewer at the time of release as ‘the sickest movie ever made’, Blue Velvet is now regarded as one of the most influential American films of the 1980s. Initially mainstream distributors were too timid to acquire the film and producer Dino De Laurentiis was forced to establish his own company to release it. The biggest uproar concerned the casting of Rossellini – daughter of celebrated actor Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini – as the troubled singer. Dorothy is a sexual slave to a violent, psychotic criminal played by Hopper. In an infamous scene where she stumbles shocked, battered and naked onto a suburban front lawn, it was Rossellini’s decision not to cover herself with her arms. ‘It was very important to come out with a gesture of total helplessness,’ she said during one interview. ‘When I came out of the bushes totally naked, I felt like a slab of beef hanging. There was nothing sexy about it.’ The scene was inspired by a traumatic incident Lynch and his brother witnessed as children.
Directed by David Lynch, USA 1986. Runtime120 mins. R18
- Auditorium, lower ground level