The Sound of Blue Velvet
In Dreams You’re Mine Forever….is this Frank’s line, or is David Lynch speaking to the audience? Blue Velvet opens surrealistically with a dream-like/nightmarish introduction to suburbia. Amid the red roses posed against the white picket fence framed by the blue sky dwells a world of voyeurism, sadomasochism, the American dream, and naiveté. Lynch takes no time in getting to the dichotomizing nature of the film. Within the first few minutes, the viewer is shown what appears to by an idyllic town setting complete with a waving fireman, then a traditional middle class home where a man is watering his lawn. Inexplicably, the man collapses and the true nature of the film commences. As we follow the camera to the ground where the man has fallen, we get a close up view of the dirt below the grass where hideous beetles squirm and make horrific sounds. It is a warning that all is not well in Lumberton, and something unseen is eating away at suburban morality. Indeed, the film offers a virtual plethora of deviant behavior captured in stunning visual contrasts, but with equally surprising music and sound.
The score for the film was composed by Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti. It has a nostalgic suspense film sound that is periodically injected with well-known crooner tunes like the title song, “Blue Velvet” sung by Dorothy, and Roy Orbison’s, “In Dreams”, that is disturbingly sung by the drag queen character played by Stockwell. Lynch uses diegetic sounds masterfully to create suspense, most notably the final scenes when Jeffrey goes to Dorothy’s apartment. There are no sounds except his footsteps, and realistic sounds such as keys and the buzzing of the broken television. It is silently ominous until the police radio in the dead man’s pocket comes to life, causing even the dead man to jump. In this scene there is a startling duality between the violence and the love song soundtrack. Diegetic sound was used in a humorous way by...
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