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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #1

And so we begin our year-long journey through Blue Velvet, stopping every 47 seconds. Although released in the U.S. in September 1986, the film lingered at the dark edges of the imagination until the spring of the following year, when it was released on home video by Karl-Lorimar. The rapid ascendency of the VCR and the proliferation of rental stores (in 1980 there were only approximately 2,500 rental stores in the U.S.; by 1987 this had increased to over 27,000) meant that Blue Velvet found its way into the very same sort of leafy small towns as Lumberton. The titles (by Van Der Veer Photo Effects) in their cursive elegance recall a by-gone era, and echo the fluid titles of classical-era films such as George Cukor’s A Double Life (1947). Dennis Hopper’s name—itself a tangle of associations serving as cultural knot points in American culture, ranging from his first film Rebel Without a Cause (1955) to Easy Rider (1969) to Apocalypse Now (1979) — appears against the undulating blue velvet curtain that frames the film’s narrative. The same year as Blue Velvet he would star in Hoosiers playing Shooter, a reverse-image doppelgänger of Frank Booth.

For a complete archive of the project, click here.

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