7.6/10
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475 user 154 critic

Lost Highway (1997)

After a bizarre encounter at a party, a jazz saxophonist is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins leading a new life.

Director:

David Lynch
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Popularity
2,042 ( 23)

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Pullman ... Fred Madison
Patricia Arquette ... Renee Madison / Alice Wakefield
John Roselius John Roselius ... Al
Louis Eppolito Louis Eppolito ... Ed (as Lou Eppolito)
Jenna Maetlind Jenna Maetlind ... Party Girl
Michael Massee ... Andy
Robert Blake ... Mystery Man
Henry Rollins ... Guard Henry
Michael Shamus Wiles ... Guard Mike
Mink Stole ... Forewoman (voice)
Leonard Termo ... Judge (voice)
Ivory Ocean Ivory Ocean ... Guard Ivory
Jack Kehler ... Guard Johnny Mack
David Byrd David Byrd ... Doctor Smordin
Gene Ross ... Warden Clements
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Storyline

Fred Madison, a saxophonist, is accused under mysterious circumstances of murdering his wife Renee. On death row, he inexplicably morphs into a young man named Pete Dayton, leading a completely different life. When Pete is released, his and Fred's paths begin to cross in a surreal, suspenseful web of intrigue, orchestrated by a shady gangster boss named Dick Laurent. Written by <jdean@gslink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bizarre violent and sexual content, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1997 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Carretera perdida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$212,710, 23 February 1997

Gross USA:

$3,675,201

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,703,548
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Song to the siren" is heard 3 times during the film. A siren is a mythological creature who lured nearby sailors with music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island and is often seen as a symbol of the primal power the female has over man. The song contains the line "Were you here when I was full sail". A "full sail" beer is seen in Fred's world on the bar just before the Mystery Man enters and in Pete's world where a bottle is seen on the table in front of his dad. At one point, Pete also spots a model ship in the neighbor's garden and looks at it for an extended period of time. See more »

Quotes

Mystery Man: Call Me. Dial your number. Go ahead.
[Fred dials the number and the Mystery Man answers]
Mystery Man: [over the phone] I told you I was here.
Fred Madison: [amused] How'd you do that?
Mystery Man: Ask me.
[Fred's facial expression turns from amused to serious as he's clearly rembering the anonymous video tapes]
Fred Madison: [angrily into the phone] How did you get inside my house?
Mystery Man: [voice] You invited me. It is not my custom to go where I am not wanted.
Fred Madison: [into the phone] Who are you?
[Both Mystery Men laugh mechanically]
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A Real Trooper-Guadalupe Hurst See more »

Alternate Versions

An unconfirmed report has that a Director's Cut of the film exists which has a number of scenes deleted from the original 134 minute print. Some of the missing scenes include:
  • A dinner scene with Fred and Renee where Fred asks her where she was when he phoned her from the jazz club the night before, and when she says that she never left the house all evening, his suspicions of her cheating on him intensifies.
  • Another scene of a third videotape arriving at Fred and Renee's house where they watch it and catch a glimpse of a cold-faced Fred on one frame. They phone the detectives Al and Lou again who pay them another visit.
  • A scene set in the morgue where the attendant, George, prepares an autopsy on Renee's mutilated body where he is joined by a tuxedo-clad medical examiner and the examiner's girlfriend, Joyce, which is followed by a courtroom scene where Fred faints after hearing the jury forewoman read the guilty verdict and the judge's sentence of death, which is only heard in the original version.
  • A scene in a lingerie shop where two young women, Marian and Raquel, glimpsed only in the porno film at the end, talk about the Renee Madison murder and about the method of execution the state would use when they are interrupted by Andy to gesters for them to hurry up with their selections.
  • Another scene follows where Andy, Marian and Raquel are involved in a drugged-out threesome orgy at his house.
  • A prison scene where one inmate is shown being led out of his cell to the gas chamber with other prisoners taunting him and the guards preparing for the execution as if it was a formal gathering, plus another scene of Fred talking to the prison guards in the courtyard the next day.
  • A full scene of dialogue between the prison warden and Pete Dayton's parents, Candace and Bill, where they are told of their son's whereabouts and his physical condition where he has a hematoma on his forehead and blepharitis, redness around the eyes. Pete is then brought into the office where he doesn't respond to questions asked, and Bill and Candace are told that they can take him home. The warden then makes a statement to reporters about the disappearance of Fred Madison from the prison.
  • Extended scenes of dialogue between Pete and his friends Steve V, Teddy, Carl and Lanie on their arrival at his house where Lanie shows them a scar on her abdomen from an operation she just had. Plus more dialogue as the four ride in Steve V's car, where the first arrive at a drive-in restaurant called Johnny's where they pick up Sheila and her two girlfriends and then drive to the bowling alley.
  • An extra scene of Pete riding up Van Nuys Boulevard at night on his motorcycle where he arrives at Johnny's Drive-In where he meets with Steve V, Carl and Sheila where Pete responds awkward towards them as he is having a mysterious headache. Pete then savagely beats up two guys who try to pick up Sheila much to her shock.
  • A brief scene of Fred Madison checking into the Lost Highway Motel and walking towards Room 25 which he knows is right next to Room 26 where Renee and Mr. Eddy are.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Horror Movie Phone Calls (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

This Magic Moment
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Courtesy of Unichappell Music, Inc. (BMI)
Performed by Lou Reed
Courtesy of Sire Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Philosophical, allegorical, satirical...but how many really care?
27 October 2002 | by Indy CanuckSee all my reviews

I'm not going into the plotline here because I'm limited to 1000 words. I don't think I can wrap up the plot that space.

I'm a recent inductee into the strange and twisted world of David Lynch. It all started when I caught a rerun of "Twin Peaks" on a low-budget digital satellite channel. Since then I've been hooked, and have had fun with cult films and filmmakers since.

Lost Highway is, as descried by Lynch, a new twist on film-noir. And only Lynch could put a twist like this on a classic genre. People keep wanting to draw comparisons to other films, saying: "Well, it's not Blue Velvet" or "It's not Mulholland Dr,"...they're right. It's Lost Highway, a unique and twisted foray down a dark highway that may or may not be entirely metaphorical...or metaphysical.

One of the things that I've noticed about David Lynch--and what probably inspires much of the hatred non-Lynch fans have towards his work--is that he doesn't explain everything. He lays it out, says "Here's my story. What do YOU make of it?" It's an incredible artistic attitude, much like viewing a Dali painting as opposed to a Da Vinci, and not for everyone's tastes.

Lost Highway is open to many interpretations, as are most of Lynch's works. Are we in our world, and being invaded by some outside force? Are we in a world we don't know we're in? Are we in Hell? What would you do if this happened to you? Maybe we are all someone else, really.

This film is at the same time allegorical, philosophical, incomprehensible, and satirical. It warps understood movie conventions, and is always pulling the unexpected.

All that praise aside, it is NOT the best of Lynch's work. One would have to be a fan to enjoy this, and should establish that fanhood with his better works, like Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, or "Twin Peaks."

If one has a set standard of how movies should be, an A-B-C pattern, stay away. But if it's originality, unanswered questions, and a break from standard Hollywood convention, go full ahead.

In my humble opinion, it's better than Wild at Heart and Dune, but not most of Lynch's rest. It is definitely an experience, but not one everybody will enjoy.


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