20 January, 2010
It was a certain Graham Linehan who first put us on to Shadowplay, the ultimate cineaste blog. Its author, DCairns, has forgotten more about niche cinema, B-movies and hidden gems than Martin Scorcese has ever known. The blog is as wide ranging as it is prolific with Cairns reserving particular love for early Hitchcock, Powell and Pressburger, Orson Welles and a seemingly endless parade of curiosities from 20’s and 30’s cinema pulled from some magical vault. Of particular interest to Areaman was his recent post on David Lynch and his influences from the world of film. Lynch began his career as a painter and conceptual artist and was never formally trained in filmmaking. It is the director's often stated claim that he is not influenced greatly by other movies which Cairns takes issue with in his post. He cites a series of noirs and mainstream titles (Yojimbo, Kiss Me Dealdly, The Wizard of Oz) which Lynch either borrows from or makes reference to across his own output.
With particular reference to Twin Peaks, Cairns details the show’s final episode and the likely influence of Tales of Hoffman, with nods to Fellini and The Prisoner. We would humbly suggest that there is a more fundamental cinematic influence at play from the very beginning of the series which begins the morning after the death of Laura Palmer. Otto Preminger’s 1944 film “Laura”, is a fairly low rent noir starring nobody of note but perfectly serviceable for a rainy Saturday afternoon. The movie opens the morning after the death of Laura, who we never see, but whose character is revealed to us through the series of people who are giving evidence to the police investigating her death. As with Laura Palmer, this Laura seemed to have a different persona for everyone in her life. As with Twin Peaks, the Laura character is present in many of the scenes in the form of a large, dominant portrait hanging above the fireplace in her home where much of the film takes place. The obvious echo here is the prom queen photo of Laura Palmer which seems to permeate the entire first season of Twin Peaks. It is no co-incidence then that the detective played by Dana Andrews gets his first big break in the case through a dream. Certainly worth a view for fans of Twin Peaks. Akin to watching L.A. Takedown after having seen HEAT.
The original article by DCairns is here: http://dcairns.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/the-naked-lynch/
You can follow him on Twitter too: @dcairns