A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.
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... Written by
Harry Dean Stanton was the first choice for the role of Frank but Stanton turned it down because he did not want to work on a violent film. See more »
After Frank and Ben received their glasses there's some froth topping Frank's beer, but not Ben's. However, in the close-up of Ben there's clearly a thin layer of froth. Back to both in frame, and again Ben's beer has no froth. See more »
It's a sunny, woodsy day in Lumberton, so get those chainsaws out. This is the mighty W.O.O.D., the musical voice of Lumberton. At the sound of the falling tree, it's 9:30. There's a whole lotta wood waitin' out there, so let's get goin'.
Mr. Beaumont? Your son Jeffrey's here to see you.
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This has always been a unique crime movie, like no story I have seen before or since. In numerous ways, it's a sick film...but utterly fascinating, even after a handful of viewings. It's a certainly a trademark of director David Lynch with its bizarre story and twists and strange characters.
This movie has one of the most evil characters ever put on screen: "Frank Booth," played by Dennis Hopper. The latter is known for playing psychotic killers and this role tops them all. Hopper was never sicker. Almost as bizarre as him is the female victim in here, "Dorothy Vallens," played a mysterious Isabella Rossellini.
Kyle MacLaclan is good as the nosy late-teen who just has to find out what is going on in Dorothy's apartment while girlfriend Laura Dern gets caught up in his curiosity.
In a movie that features strange characters, the strangest scene of them - and there are a number - is in Booth's apartment with Dean Stockwell and his friends. Stockwell's lip-synching to an old Roy Orbison song is really freaky. Make no mistake, though: as bizarre as this film can get, it's mostly a very suspenseful crime story that can get very uncomfortable to watch at times. The language in this film was surprisingly tame.....until Hopper enters the scene. He's about the only character who uses profanity but he makes up for the others by using the f-word in about every sentence. He is so over-the-top, though, that after the initial shock seeing this movie once or twice, I know almost laugh out loud at him and way he acts.
Visually and audibly, this is another interesting Lynch movie with superb colors, creepy camera angles and a diverse soundtrack. You hear everything from lush classical music to old rock 'n roll songs, and a bunch of bizarre noises (sound effects).
From discussions I've had, this seems to be a film people love or hate. There is not much room for middle ground. Lynch has done much "nicer" films such as "The Straight Story," crazier films ("Wild At Heart," "Eraserhead") and classier movies ("The Elephant Man") but this will be his trademark film: the one above others he will be remembered for, good or bad.
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