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Greg Johnson & John Morgan
The Films of David Lynch, Part 1

63:54 / 88 words

Part 1 of 2

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Greg Johnson and John Morgan discuss the films of David Lynch. Topics include:

  • Lynch as conservative
  • Lynch and Flannery O’Connor
  • Lynch and the grotesque
  • Lynch and the supernatural
  • Lynch and the police
  • Eraserhead
  • The Elephant Man
  • Dune
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune books and their philosophy
  • Blue Velvet
  • Lynch and sex
  • Lynch and gnosticism

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15 Comments

  1. Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Hey, this was great. A real unexpected treat. I used to be a huge Lynch fan and I really enjoyed hearing your analysis.

    Thankyou

  2. Hrothgar
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I loved the podcast.
    I’ve been a Lynch fan for years and miss seeing his films on the screen. I hope the new Twin Peaks won’t have a PC makeover.
    A few interviews and bits of information about Lynch have stuck in my mind over the years.
    I agree with Greg and John that David Lynch is probably a Conservative. He really loves smalltown American life and traditional values. It shows through in lots of the things he has done and in lots of the interviews. In interviews he reminds me a little bit of the late Jimmy Stewart, probably in the way he speaks in a warm and friendly hometown manner. I remember in one interview Leach really criticised Philadelphia I think he has a negative impression of blacks, but he’s been too astute to admit it, but instead does sideways references to downtown crime etc.

    I think he’s a very loyal man to his friends. The actor Jack Nance he described as extremely demotivated as an actor, referring to sit in his living room with his slippers on rather than looking for work! In making Erasorhead David Lynch ran out of money and Jack said that there was one scene where he went into came out of a door and there was a gap of one year in real life before he reappeared, and he had to have the same unfashionable haircut all that time in case the money suddenly became available to complete the scene! Jack was in several of Lynches films, even having a small part in Dune . (Jack died, btw, after an “altercation” with Hispanic youths near his house).
    I saw an interview with teachers first wife and mother of his daughter. She said that while they were in college she unexpectedly got pregnant. David Lynch really did not want to have children and thought his life was going to come to an end! I think that’s why he made eraserhead: it was a little bitabout him and his panic at becoming a father when he really wanted freedom.

    He is fascinated by the noise of machinery and factory background noise often appears in his films.

    I’ve heard it sent by one of Lynch’s friends that he lost control of the set of Dune. I forget who this was, but I remember him saying that in one huge scene lots of assistant directors were running in all directions shouting instructions on set, and Lynch just looked at his friend and “cracked up” as he realised it was out of control. I liked some of Lynch’s ideas on Dune. The Guild Navigators were amazing. The sound weapons that the Fremen used though, were I thought childish, and I preferred the storyline in the book which put the success of the Fremen in combat down to their courage, coupled with their extremely tough upbringing in survival conditions on a hostile planet, and their strict code of honour and willingness to die on suicide missions on a Jihad.

    I know Twin Peaks isn’t covered here, but probably my favourite scene in any film I’ve ever seen in my life, is the one when Leland is on the phone to his wife who is worried about their daughter being missing, and in the background the sheriffs car screeches to a halt, the sheriff walks to the hotel reception and Leland is transfixed with horror as the receptionist points out Leland and the sheriff walks towards him clearly with a heavy heart while Leland’s wife howls in anguish down the phone, pleading him to tell her what is going on. What a spellbinding and horrific tableau!

    The reality of Twin Peaks, is of course that a clever film maker managed to make a television series about child abuse and get it on network TV in the early 1990’s.

    • Hrothgar
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      There’s an error in paragraph 2. “Teachers” should read “Lynch’s”. Sorry!

    • R_Moreland
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      I liked some of Lynch’s ideas on Dune. The Guild Navigators were amazing. The sound weapons that the Fremen used though, were I thought childish…

      The sound weapons (aka weirding modules) seem to be Lynch’s version of the light sabre; i.e., a sort of archeofuture combination of mystical skills and high-tek. Paul’s line in the Fremen dojo on use of the modules – “Some thoughts have a certain sound, that being the equivalent to a form” – resonates as a mantra from… somewhere. Anyone have an idea of the origin of this line?

  3. Rabbi High Comma
    Posted February 10, 2017 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    “The Amputee” (1974) is my favorite Lynch short. Ironic, bizarre, irreverent,grotesque, and overlaid with banal inner dialog of a time and place that is like the background hum of a fan. Lynch plays the female nurse attending the “Log Lady’s” (Catherine Coulson’s) effusive eponymous stump. It was funded to test videotape stock, hence the two versions. “This is from that Lynch!” was uttered upon viewing. Perfect.

    “You have never understood Jim…”

  4. Cobrastriesand
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    If you haven’t rewatched Inland Empire yet, I’d advise watching it in bits and pieces, watching scenes you like again rightaway – the way people listen to pop records. From beginning to end it’s exhausting, and very probably doesn’t add up. But it’s a rich film – and profound collaboration between director and star.

    Great interview – quite clarifying.

  5. Yapius
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I have two words for this;

    1) brill 2) yant

  6. Peter Quint
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It is no wonder that we never hear of David Lynch making films anymore, his methods were too complex for the average viewer who just wants to be entertained. In “Blue Velvet” you have to use the deconstruction method to analyze it and have a passing knowledge of Freudian psychology, and Hamann’s “Sturm und Drang” philosophy. In “Lost Highway” you have to realize that the protagonist is going through fugue states, and becoming various characters. In “Mulholland Drive” the protagonist is again going through fugue states, and Lynch tries to make the audience understand that there is a very powerful satanic group that controls Hollywood. In “Lost Highway” the devil is Robert Blake, in “Mulholland Drive” the devil is the cowboy. I watch Lynch’s movies every once, and awhile, and I am surprised that he was allowed to make as many films as he did. Lynch too advanced for the average viewer, he will not be appreciated until after his death.

    • Posted February 10, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard about the idea that Hollywood is controlled by Satanists before but it sounds quite a bit in the realm of conspiracy theory. But that doesn’t necessarily make it untrue though. Could you recommend a book or other credible resources that makes the case for this idea ? Thank you.

      • Peter Quint
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        No, I actually got the satanist reference from a reviewer of “Starry Eyes” dvd on Amazon. I do know that in the Catholic religion the walnut is supposed to represent the soul, the hard outer shell represents your body as you go through life, and the nut inside represents your soul, as it is developed through piety, and faith. That is why you see Ann Miller eating walnuts at the party near the end. You also see Melissa George (Camilla Rhodes) at the party leave the room, and seconds later the cowboy/devil appears, and goes out the back door. Watch “Starry Eyes” it is more concrete.

      • Peter Quint
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Here is the review by Gemma Cheyne on November 29, 2014. It is just one of many that draws the satanists, and Hollywood conclusion.
        “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.”
        ― Marilyn Monroe

        This strange movie works on a few different levels–whether or not it was intended that way. On the one hand, I love the Hollywood expose stories; Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Drive, The Player, so many dark ones, then comedies like Merton of the Movies; there’s a long, long tradition of movies about making movies and the endless supply of good looking young people who disappear into its maw year after year. So this is one of those dark ones. It also works as a straight horror film because the film she is auditioning for is allegedly a horror film, and it taps into her exposure of her fears. It’s also psychological horror as her “ambition” – her key quality she believes sets her apart from the rest–also separates her from her friends, her job, her sanity. She’s now ready to be sacrificed to her ambition as she has nothing else. Her red dress and lipstick also contrast nicely with the drab or deep antiqued backgrounds.

        There is something supernatural going on here as well. It’s in the title of the film company (a name of one of the Titans, who rule physical strength and not the soul) mixed up with a sort of cultish thing like Polanski’s The Ninth Gate. The script does not really follow this train or perhaps it is all drug-and-hypnosis induced. Until the end when it becomes very real.

        The Titans were nothing if not ambitious; they were always at war with each other or being destroyed by their own offspring. or being reborn. The pentagram pendant is not only a magical symbol but appears in many other cultures. So the film is a mix of everything. Just like Hollywood. Nothing is new–it’s just re-packaged.

        The acting was wonderful by the three principals — the actress, the secretary and the producer. Because we see the story from the main character’s POV it is easy to distance yourself from the not very remarkable “normal” cast of friends and co-workers. I can see why other reviewers compared this to Cronenberg/Lynch and Polanksi. Very apt. The sets were great — there are some wonderful old buildings in Los Angeles still (and some VERY old producers who lived to be 100 or so). Hollywood is a haunted place. I love that a lot of it was filmed at night.

        This movie is a bit gory to watch too often but if you are interested in Hollywood stories and horror movies you will probably enjoy seeing it at least once. (And start supporting indy films.)

  7. North Star
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I could listen to Greg and John talk all day. What a great discussion! Top notch content: a great mix of intellectuality; bold assertions; mental flexibility and the ability to reconsider viewpoints; and easy congeniality and humor.

    I’ve only seen a few of Lynch’s films. He’s interested me before, but now I’m fascinated. Time to start watching the whole oeuvre from start to finish. Keep up the great work, gentlemen, and I look forward to the next installment.

  8. Bobby
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Trevor, I’m sorry, but when I originally saw Lynchs’ the Eraserhead, sometime during the late 1970’s I believed, I had to question his sanity,style and taste, more than anything else. Now, Lost Highway was much better, in my opinion. I originally saw the Eraserhead in a theater in West Hollywood and there was no ushers. The guy who sat behind my girlfriend and myself, has a goofy look on his face, was wearing a huge jacket and occasionally showed me the gun he was hiding in his jacket!! Half the audience was smoking mary juanna….lol The only miracle was, that my girlfriend and I continued watching the film to the end, probably because we were afraid of moving…LOL

    • Bobby
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      I apologize for assuming, never assume, that Trevor was the writer of this article…

  9. AltRightKillerBob
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Been eagerly waiting for this podcast since it was first discussed last week! Really looking forward to this altright reading of Lynch. Thank you both!

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