spends his whole time on the screen busy, busy,
busy-threatening, hurting, smashing and,
eventually, killing. Thanks largely to this engag-
ingly nasty creation-unlike Eraserhead, whose
pacing was deliberately slow-watching Blue
Velvet is like falling down a well.
"fIn terms of writing,'' Lynch says, ''I wrote
four drafts for the film, but Frank's character
was pretty nearly defined for me in the first one.
His dialogue and activities just poured right out
of me. You hear writers say about a character
they create: 'The guy started talking, and I
couldn't shut him up.' That's how it was with
Frank. I just tried to keey uy wit/i hiw.''
But Frank Booth is not the oddest character in
the film. Stranger still are the sensibilities of its
protagonist, Jeffrey Beaumont. At first glance
the kid is Joe College. Well-mannered, earnest,
handsome in a sort of blockish way, well-mean-
ing, even heroic. In some ways Beaumont
seems a throwback to an earlier age, the Fifties
or early Sixties. Aid, considering the down-and-
dirty world which he invades, watching Jeffrey
wind his way into Frank Booth's grisly realm is
like watching The Hardy Boys Visit Need/e Park.
But what's freaky here is the depths to which
young Jeffrey is willing to sink, even while risking
his life to rescue the thoroughly spaced-out Ms.
Rosselini. Here's a guy who's something of a
voyeur, a borderline pervert with a bit of a taste
for the good ole S & M himself.
Lynch says that the genesis of Blue Ve/verwas
almost accidental, a result of a conversation he
had with Richard Roth, producer of Julia, in a
Hamburger Hamlet near the American Film Insti
tute where he'd created Eraserheadas a student
half a dozen years before.
''Richard told me he'd read Ronnie Rocket,
another film I'd written and hoped to see pro-
duce, and he told me that he wa sorry but the
story ust wasn't his cup of tea, and did I/have
any other scripts?
'Well, do you have any other ideas?'
'No. Well, one '
'It's half baked.'
' 'W hat s it'
'Well, I've always wanted to sneak into a
girl's room at night' ''-as does the enterprising
Mr. Beaumont in the film-'' 'and stay there
and watch her'
''Richard says, 'Say no more. I love this David.
You work on this David and come see me '
''That's how it all started. I spun the story out
at Warner Bros. in the form of two drafts. Bob
Shapiro (Warner Bros.' Director of Develop-
ment) hated it. Didn't dislike it, but hatedit. He'd
screamn over the phone how much he hated it.
''From there Blue Velvet went into turn-
around''- which usually means that the script is
released by the studio and reverts to the wrnter's
control''A couple of years went by, and Dino
(DeLaurentiis) became very interested in it. He
says, 'You own?' I say, 'You beth' He says, 'Fine.
We do.' But I find out, o and behold, I didn't own
it.'' Because of an obscure clause in his con-
tract, the rights had reverted back to Warner
Bros. Lynch thought the project was doomed.
f course, it wouldn't have been the first
time. David Lynch was born in Montana
and spent his grade school years in Idaho,
where his father worked as a research scientist
for the Department of Agriculture.
His parents moved to Virginia shortly thereaf-
ter, and it was there that Lynch first aspired to
become a painter. After graduation from high
school, he went to the Boston Museum School
and to work for one Michael Angelo.
''He was a painter, an abstract expressionist
from New York Actually, he was a criminal. He
pulled a gun on me one day. A pretty incredible
guy. He had the legs of a nine year old and the
torso of Paul Bunyan. I worked for him first in his
frame shop, then he fired me for scratching a
frame and hired me as a janitor. He paid me in
food and paint. He'd give me money, then make
me go to the store and bring back what I'd
bought and show him. I/had a terrible time get-