Lost Highway (1997) David Lynch

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Lost Highway (1997)
Directed by David Lynch
Produced by Deepak Nayar, Tom Sternberg, Mary Sweeney
Screenplay by David Lynch, Barry Gifford
Cinematography by Peter Deming
Edited by Mary Sweeney
Casting by Johanna Ray, Elaine J. Huzzar
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
October Films
Universal UK Blu-ray
(color; 2:15)

The David Lynch Project Part VII

Here’s a statement that will probably be disputed among several readers: David Lynch’s films really aren’t that hard to understand. Oh sure, we may not know what every symbol or image represents (if anything), we may not know if a certain character is a real person or a representation of something else, on and on. Such things we can debate forever, but the basic stories of most of Lynch’s films are pretty clear if you understand one thing:

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) Carl Franklin

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
Directed by Carl Franklin
Screenplay by Carl Franklin, based on the book by Walter Mosley
Produced by Jesse Beaton, Jonathan Demme, Donna Gigliotti, Gary Goetzman, Thomas A. Imperato, Walter Mosley, Edward Saxon
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto
Editing by Carole Dravetz
Costumes by Sharen Davis
Twilight Time Blu-ray (1:42)

The story may be typical noir, but the look, feel, and performances in Devil in a Blue Dress make it anything but typical. The film is based on the first book in the Easy Rawlins mystery series by Walter Mosley and it’s a pity no other books were adapted.

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Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) Otto Preminger

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Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
Directed by Otto Preminger
Produced by Otto Preminger and Martin C. Schute
Based on a novel by Marryam Modell (as Evelyn Piper)
Screenplay by John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, Ira Levin (uncredited)
Cinematography by Denys N. Coop
Edited by Peter Thornton
Title designs by Saul Bass
Columbia Pictures
Twilight Time Blu-ray (1:47)

If you read almost any reviews of Bunny Lake is Missing, you’ll find that most critics praise the first two-thirds of the film, lamenting that the structure crumbles to ruins during the final half hour or so. I’m not so sure I agree with that assessment. I simply do not believe that Otto Preminger – a director so meticulous with camera angles, direction of actors, and absolute (i.e. tyrannical) control of his films – simply didn’t know what he was doing with the ending. I think he knew exactly what he was doing. Perhaps some of the problems stem from scenes that linger too long after the reveal of what really happened or, more likely, an ending whose familiarity is embedded into our cinematic consciousness after these many years.

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Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) Tim Burton

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Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) Tim Burton
Warner DVD – library (1:30)

I watched a lot of movies in the mid-80s, but Pee-wee’s Big Adventure wasn’t one of them. Maybe that’s because I was hearing “Tequila” on the radio every five minutes or watching one of my junior high band students doing the Pee-wee dance as they were walking down the halls. But after hearing about the new movie Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, I decided to try the original, 30+ years later.

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