The Blue Velvet Project, #4
Jeffrey’s father has just suffered a stroke while watering his front yard, and has fallen to his back, writhing in pain, the hose that he still holds—in a sad and funny and helpless way—spraying water all around. That shot is followed by this one, as the camera pans slowly down, the background a blur, capturing the water in mid-air as Bobby Vinton sings “Blue Velvet,” which he had released in 1963, several months before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The song, written by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris, dates back to 1950. Wayne was a prolific composer, who wrote at least two other songs with Lynchian resonance: “A Patch of Blue” (with Jerry Goldsmith) from the movie of the same name and the jingle “Chock Full O’Nuts is the Heavenly Coffee,” which would have been right at home in Twin Peaks. This frame at second #188 is one of those transitional moments that you tend to forget about when you think of the movie later. It’s subsumed by the power of the sequence itself, which ends with the ferocious images and roar of the death-locked beetles in the grass. The shot lasts about 3 seconds, and although it’s not as shocking or memorable as others in the sequence, it provides a brief moment of respite from the intensity of what comes before and after. And it’s these quiet, in-between moments—as much as the shocking ones—that give the movie its spell-casting mystery.
Over the period of one full year — three days per week — The Blue Velvet Project will seize a frame every 47 seconds of David Lynch’s classic to explore. These posts will run until second 7,200 in August 2012. For a complete archive of the project, click here. And here is the introduction to the project.