13 O’Clock Movie Retrospective: Mulholland Drive

It’s a Jenny-only movie review (Tom will hopefully be back for the next one), discussing one of her favorite movies EVER, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive from 2001. There are MASSIVE spoilers herein, and I would recommend watching the movie before listening to this show, because otherwise you won’t have the faintest clue what the hell I’m rambling on about. Enjoy, and if you’d like even more obsessive theorizing about Mulholland Drive, please go to this page here and waste several happy hours, just as I did.

Things I meant to mention and forgot, because this was already too long:
1. The monstrous bum behind the diner, even though referred to as a man in the scene with Dan and Herb, is actually played by a woman, which is significant in light of the fact that she is supposed to represent the darkest part of Diane’s psyche. The bum’s face and Diane/Betty’s face are even partially overlaid near the end of the movie.

2. The reason for the “bumbling hit man” scene in the fantasy portion of the film is simply Diane trying to hold out hope that the hit man she hired to kill Camilla was so incompetent that he possibly could have botched the job, meaning Camilla might still be alive.

3. I totally failed to mention the creepy old people who come out of the box at the end. I agree with Alan Shaw’s essay in that these people probably represent her grandparents, and that there is an implication that Diane was molested by her grandfather (or other father figure; hence the audition scene with Woody) as a child. Also note that when these creepy old people leave the airport after parting with Betty, the car they are in is directly behind a square blue van, which is an analogue for the blue box that they come out of later in the movie.

4. There is a further implication about Diane working as a prostitute during the “phone chain” scene early in the film, and also in regards to the black book. I also think at least one of the mobsters from the dream was not a mobster at all, but one of her “clients.” Note she sees one of the Castigliane brothers at the party in the reality portion of the movie, and he’s staring at her significantly.

5. There are more Wizard of Oz references with Mr. Roque and also with the bum behind the diner, both acting as “the man behind the curtain.” Same kind of thing with the Club Silencio scene.

6. The reason Diane recasts herself as “Betty” in her fantasy is because she saw the name tag of the waitress that read Betty right before the hit man showed her the blue key; therefore, “Betty” represents a time of innocence, before she set the murder into motion. Diane is trying to recast herself as an innocent, and trying to return to a time when she was full of hope and promise, when she first got to LA, before everything went to shit.

7. Likewise, the reason she casts Dan as the person who died from seeing the bum is because he was a random guy she saw in the diner in real life right AFTER the hit man had showed her the key. So Dan is an analogue for the knowledge of the evil she has done, a stand-in for the “point of no return.”

8. It’s also significant that “Rita” takes her name from the poster of the noir film Gilda, starring Rita Hayworth. The actress playing Rita/Camilla, Laura Elena Harring, is Mexican, and in the movie is “pretending to be someone else,” and at one point wears a blonde wig to look like Betty. Likewise, Rita Hayworth was of Spanish ancestry, but dyed her hair red and changed her name after she was told she looked “too Mediterranean.” In fact, in her earliest roles, she acted under the name Rita Cansino and usually portrayed an “exotic foreigner.”

Told you I was a dork about this movie. 🙂

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