- David Lynch
- Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini
David Lynch’s classic thriller about sex, drugs, pain, severed body parts, and a bunch of other fun stuff. The film that spawned Twin Peaks features one of the late Dennis Hopper’s most memorable roles.
“Although Hopper worked steadily his entire life, Blue Velvet brought him back to the forefront of independent cinema. His character Frank Booth is one of the most famous bad guys in film, and a role he demanded from Lynch. The director was hesitant at first because of Hopper’s reputation, but his then-recent work on another movie had gone smoothly, so Hopper was hired. Lynch said in an interview in the book Lynch on Lynch, “Dennis was Frank, but luckily he was also someone else too, so it worked out extremely well.” (Rodley, Chris, ed., Lynch on Lynch, Faber and Faber, 2005, p. 142.) I’m assuming that the film Lynch refers to is River’s Edge, another favorite Hopper role of mine; Hopper plays the desperate Feck, whose only companion is a blow-up doll and the teens who come to visit him for his really good weed and advice on how to deal with a dead schoolmate. No one else could have played Frank Booth, the psychopathic mobster whose sexual proclivities could have given Krafft-Ebing fodder for a sequel to Psychopathia Sexualis. A twisted, sadistic, gas-huffing freak, Booth tortures the gorgeous siren Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) mentally and physically, hitting her, raping her, choking her with blue velvet, and threatening her life and the lives of the ones she loves. He plays psycho sex games in “the dark” with Vallens; first he’s the daddy, then he’s the baby, and she’s the mommy. Hopper owns every scene he’s in, and no matter how bizarre or foul Booth’s actions are, Hopper dives in without blinking. It’s not just David Lynch’s crazy screenplay that made Booth’s words a part of the cultural lexicon, but Hopper himself. “Why are there people like Frank? Why is there so much trouble in this world?” asks naïve young Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), who stumbles into the underbelly of his small town by finding a severed ear. That question goes unanswered, because in Blue Velvet, Frank Booth is this sleepy town’s heart of darkness.” (Jenni Miller, Cinematical)