Taglines: It’s a strange world.
College student Jeffrey Beaumont returns to his idyllic hometown of Lumberton to manage his father’s hardware store while his father is hospitalized. Walking though a grassy meadow near the family home, Jeffrey finds a severed human ear. After an initial investigation, lead police Detective John Williams advises Jeffrey not to speak to anyone about the case as they investigate further. Detective Williams also tells Jeffrey that he cannot divulge any information about what the police know.
Detective Williams’ high school aged daughter, Sandy Williams, tells Jeffrey what she knows about the case from overhearing her father’s private conversations on the matter: that it has to do with a nightclub singer named Dorothy Vallens, who lives in an older apartment building near the Beaumont home. His curiosity getting the better of him, Jeffrey, with Sandy’s help, decides to find out more about the woman at the center of the case by breaking into Dorothy’s apartment while he knows she’s at work.
Blue Velvet is a 1986 American neo-noir mystery film, written and directed by David Lynch. Blending psychological horror with film noir, the film stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. The title is taken from Bobby Vinton’s 1963 song of the same name.
The screenplay of Blue Velvet had been passed around multiple times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with many major studios declining it because of its strong sexual and violent content. After the commercial and critical failure of Lynch’s Dune (1984), the director made attempts at developing a more “personal story”, somewhat characteristic of the surrealist style displayed in his debut Eraserhead (1977). The independent studio De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, owned at the time by Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, agreed to finance and produce the film.
About the Story
Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns to his logging home town of Lumberton, North Carolina, from Oak Lake College after his father suffers a near-fatal stroke. While walking home from the hospital, he cuts through a vacant lot and discovers a severed ear. Jeffrey takes the ear to police detective John Williams (George Dickerson) and becomes reacquainted with the detective’s daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern).
She tells him details about the ear case and a suspicious woman, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), who may be connected to the case. Increasingly curious, Jeffrey enters Dorothy’s apartment by posing as an exterminator, and while Dorothy is distracted by a man dressed in a yellow suit at her door (whom Jeffrey later refers to as the Yellow Man), Jeffrey steals her spare key.
Jeffrey and Sandy attend Dorothy’s nightclub act, in which she sings “Blue Velvet”, and leave early so Jeffrey can sneak into her apartment to snoop. He hurriedly hides in a closet when she returns home. However, Dorothy, wielding a knife, discovers him and threatens to kill him. Believing his curiosity is merely sexual and aroused by his voyeurism, Dorothy makes Jeffrey undress at knifepoint and begins to fellate him before their encounter is interrupted by a knock at the door.
Dorothy hides Jeffrey in the closet. From there he witnesses the visitor, Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), inflict his bizarre sexual proclivities—which include inhaling an unidentified gas (possibly amyl nitrite), dry humping, and sadomasochism—upon Dorothy. Frank is an extremely foul-mouthed, violent sociopath whose orgasmic climax is a fit of both pleasure and rage.
He continually refers to her as “Mommy” and to himself as both the “Daddy” and the “Baby”, who “wants to fuck.” Frank has kidnapped Dorothy’s husband and son to force her to perform sexual favors; to “Do it for van Gogh.” When Frank leaves, a sad and desperate Dorothy tries to seduce Jeffrey again and demands that he hit her, but when he refuses, she tells him to leave. When Jeffrey moves to leave, she asks him to stay, though he leaves anyway.
Jeffrey relays his experience to Sandy, asking her why there are people like Frank. Sandy in turn tells him of a wonderful dream she had about robins that she interprets as a sign of hope for humanity. Jeffrey and Sandy find themselves attracted to each other, though Sandy has a boyfriend.
Blue Velvet (1986)
Directed by: David Lynch
Starring: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Jack Harvey
Screenplay by: David Lynch
Production Design by: Patricia Norris
Cinematography by: Frederick Elmes
Film Editing by: Duwayne Dunham
Set Decoration by: Edward ‘Tantar’ LeViseur
Music by: Angelo Badalamenti
Distributed by: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release Date: September 19, 1986