Scene analysis: The Slow Club sequence in ‘Blue Velvet’

Blue Velvet has plenty of the makings of noir: a sultry and dangerous atmosphere, big city fear, femme fatale (Dorothy Vallens/Isabella Rossellini), an intrepid detective working outside the police force (Jeffrey Beaumont/Kyle MacLachlan), and, of course, Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a psychopath akin to the best of late-period classic American noirs.

By stirring the pot a bit Lynch moves these ingredients closer to something like revisionist noir or satire. The detective and his love interest Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) are more characters from a Nicholas Ray or John Hughes film than anything hard-boiled; the color scheme pushes the pastel-suburbs so far from the darkly saturated nighttime city as to be nearly comical that the two coexist; even Hopper’s Booth takes the psycho-sexual penchants of the worst of Richard Widmark or Ralph Meeker to new extremes.

Blue Velvet’s centerpiece trope is The Slow Club, a dim, sensual
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