David Lynch's Clues to Unlock this Thriller

Original Poster
Joined: Apr 2004
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I got this off of Franks Reel Reviews movie board. Someone said the German DVD version has Lynchs "10 clues to unlock this thriller":


1.Take a good look at the beginning of the movie, two important hints are given already before the opening title.
2.When and where do red lamp screens play a role?
3.Pay attention to the name of the movie Adam Kesher is re-casting actresses for. Does the title appear somewhere else as well?
4.Take a good look at the crash site (where the car accident happened).
5.Who is giving whom a key, and why?
6.Pay attention to clothing, the ash-tray and the coffee cup.
7.Who do you take notice of in the club "Silencio"? what can you feel, see and get out of this place?
8.Is it only Camilla's talent that helps her?
9.Pay attention to the things happening around the man behind Winkies.
10.Where is aunt ruth?
Apr 27, 2004 5:59 AM
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Deepmovie, the wording of the clues is slightly incorrect.
This is the correct english wording:

(Sorry to be pedantic, but the words Lynch uses are important in a couple of them)
[list]2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.4. An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident.6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.8. Did talent alone help Camilla?10. Where is Aunt Ruth?[/list]Why don't you give us your thoughts on them?
Apr 27, 2004 6:50 AM
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This is just my opinion, but i think you have to consider the fact that lynch was pressured to come up with these clues by the french production company that was losing millions. When these were released the film was doing nothing at the box office and the general buzz at that time was there was no plot to figure out and those of us who were trying or had figured it out were fooling ourselves. I think they are important and relevant but not necessarily the 10 clues lynch would really give if he wanted us to figure out what his exact intentions were. He had said before these were released and after they were released that he would never reveal what MD meant to him, it was up to everyone to have their own vision.
Apr 27, 2004 8:23 AM
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I add one comment: my experience about these questions is that they all have TWO answers. One answer quit easy to find and the second one is much much more difficult and usually leads to many other subtilties in the movie.
Apr 27, 2004 9:59 AM
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gandalf36I add one comment: my experience about these questions is that they all have TWO answers. One answer quit easy to find and the second one is much much more difficult and usually leads to many other subtilties in the movie.

Should "my experience about these questions" be understood to be the same as saying "my guess or intuition about these questions" about these questions or should it be understood to mean "my knowledge of these questions" has led me to two answers for all questions?
Apr 27, 2004 1:33 PM
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blu-rivenDeepmovie, the wording of the clues is slightly incorrect.
This is the correct english wording:

(Sorry to be pedantic, but the words Lynch uses are important in a couple of them)
[list]2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.4. An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident.6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.8. Did talent alone help Camilla?10. Where is Aunt Ruth?[/list]Why don't you give us your thoughts on them?

[list]2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade. (The red lampshade appears later when she has a second dream,or fantasy where the phone rings to invite her to that party which I dont believe was real)4. An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident. (it was the same place the party was)6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup. (yes i think the ashtray is very important, you notice it during the couch scene with diane and camilla, before DeRosa picked it up)8. Did talent alone help Camilla? (maybe not, the mafia was involved probably)10. Where is Aunt Ruth?(possibly dead in my opinion)[/list]
Apr 27, 2004 2:04 PM
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richdubbyaThis is just my opinion, but i think you have to consider the fact that lynch was pressured to come up with these clues by the french production company that was losing millions.
With the release of the DVD, what is the balance sheet?

I want you to think about something. Will you do that for me?

MD cost $15 000 000.

Now, I want you to stop being a smart aleck and tell me how many Oscar nominated films have cost a similar amount of money?

Can you do that for me?
[Not you specifically richdubbya!]

Having looked at this post again it looks really snidey! It was meant for ALL - not at all specifically for Rich!!
Apr 27, 2004 2:27 PM
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OfframpWith the release of the DVD, what is the balance sheet?

I want you to think about something. Will you do that for me?

MD cost $15 000 000.

Now, I want you to stop being a smart aleck and tell me how many Oscar nominated films have cost a similar amount of money?

Can you do that for me?
[Not you specifically richdubbya!]

Having looked at this post again it looks really snidey! It was meant for ALL - not at all specifically for Rich!!
To be fair:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/MulhollandDr-1110157/numbers.php

Even DVD sales cannot have doubled the box office.

And my local Toys 'R Us has got plenty of Kesher dolls left in the bargain bin...
Apr 27, 2004 2:41 PM
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blu-rivenTo be fair:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/MulhollandDr-1110157/numbers.php

Even DVD sales cannot have doubled the box office.

And my local Toys 'R Us has got plenty of Kesher dolls left in the bargain bin...
Those are bad not dollar one numbers.
But Europe would have brought in some money. They love Lynch over there.
Apr 27, 2004 3:22 PM
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jro
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deepmovie
[list][*]5. Who gives a key, and why? (to me the key might just represent a simple apt switching or the key to camillas apartment.maybe the key was given by camilla back to Diane, and has nothing to do with the hitman.)[/list]

Usually someone gives you a key so that you can open something with it. Who knows? Maybe David Lynch is trying to point that fact out for us.
Apr 27, 2004 3:50 PM
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It does not matter if the film has grossed 200 million by now, if you read what i said, it was that at the time lynch was pressured to come up with those 10 questions the film was a disaster financially. I'm going from memory but i think it had grossed like 2 or 3 million at that time, this was way before any dvd's came out, just because the questions were on a dvd does not mean thats where they originated. MD wasnt nominated for an oscar, just lynch and he was beaten by opie from mayberry. i'm not being "snidey" let's just say i know who isnt driving this buggy. (just kidding )
Apr 27, 2004 3:57 PM
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ctyankeeShould "my experience about these questions" be understood to be the same as saying "my guess or intuition about these questions" about these questions or should it be understood to mean "my knowledge of these questions" has led me to two answers for all questions?

For almost all these questions, MY knowledge of these questions has led me to at least two answers: a short one and a much longer one which explains many more things around the original question... now if you or others disagree with MY answers it is another problem...

for example

question 1 : jitterbug + Diane's adoptive parents + Rita's broken doll + Rita's cadaver on the rug ...

question 2 it is not the red lamp which is the most important but the phone and the ashtray with various cigarett butts near from it which leads to the affair between Camilla and Laura.

question 3 what is important is not the name of the movie itself but to what real movie it refers (maybe Sylvia 1965 ?)

question 4 : Rita's accident or Diane's ? (link with Ed, the black book ... Italy ?) it may explain Diane's adoptive parents too...

question 5 which key ? Ruth's or Joe's? What is the real meaning of the blue key (Rita's kidnapping and the ransom ?) what it SHOULD have opened

question 6 a) Which robe? the red one and the link with Diane's hallucination
the robe of the cadaver ... b) There are two ashtrays c) at least three different remarquable details about the coffee cups to notice

question 7) what is Cookie's link with the Silencio ... why Betty disappears, the electric chair, ... the meaning of Rita's blonde wig ...etc

question 8) Adam Kesher is not the real name of the director and it hides something. what about Luigi and Casablanca?

question 9) the blue box, the meaning of the bum, the link with Dan, the cradle in the cart, the coke opening system in the bag... the link with drug and Cookie...

question 10) Aunt Ruth as Louise Bonner's ghost, Ruth's real work ...

For each question I consider that one can furnish more than one page of explainations and developments...Even if my answers are incomplete and partially incorrect I think that it is clear that all these questions are complex.
Apr 27, 2004 4:16 PM
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gandalf36For almost all these questions, MY knowledge of these questions has led me to at least two answers: a short one and a much longer one which explains many more things around the original question... now if you or others disagree with MY answers it is another problem...

for example

question 1 : jitterbug + Diane's adoptive parents + Rita's broken doll + Rita's cadaver on the rug ...

snip ...

For each question I consider that one can furnish more than one page of explainations and developments...Even if my answers are incomplete and partially incorrect I think that it is clear that all these questions are complex.

I didn't mean you to go through a bunch of work - I merely wanted to understand your previous post.

I also believe that the clues are not particularly helpful - at least not for me.

However, rather than go through all 10 clues, let's just look at the first one.

Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits.

Why do you believe that the credits start with Justin Theroux versus starting with Alain Sarde Presents?
Apr 27, 2004 8:05 PM
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ctyankeeI didn't mean you to go through a bunch of work - I merely wanted to understand your previous post.

I also believe that the clues are not particularly helpful - at least not for me.

However, rather than go through all 10 clues, let's just look at the first one.

Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits.

Why do you believe that the credits start with Justin Theroux versus starting with Alain Sarde Presents?

As I have just said I consider that there are for each question at least TWO answers: one short and one longer. The ambiguity that you mention could enter into the longer if you like... Personally I prefer Justin Theroux because the answer is much more interesting in that case...

You are free to put below your own pov about these questions, btw. It would be interesting to compare.
Apr 28, 2004 12:51 AM
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gandalf36As I have just said I consider that there are for each question at least TWO answers: one short and one longer. The ambiguity that you mention could enter into the longer if you like... Personally I prefer Justin Theroux because the answer is much more interesting in that case...

You are free to put below your own pov about these questions, btw. It would be interesting to compare.

a. "I have just said" comments infer that I'm not listening to what you are saying. That is not the case. I simply asked why you think that the credits don't start with the first person given an on-screen credit.
b. I don't believe that I mentioned ambiguity or anything like it. This is the point where I could be rude, but won't.
e. I think you are going full circle. Multiple answers are different from multiple clues. Lynch says he is giving us 10 clues and I take him at his word. To say it more specifically, Lynch's first clue is that there are "at least" two clues before the credits - a clue to clues if you will. Lynch's 10 clues may be quite tricky but he didn't mean that where the credits start should be interpreted two different ways. I'm guessing that they mean only one thing to him. It is figuring out what that means that is the difficult puzzle. So, it either means Alain Sarde Presents, Justin Theroux or the credits at the end of the film. Take your pick.
Apr 28, 2004 8:04 AM
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ctyankeea. "I have just said" comments infer that I'm not listening to what you are saying. That is not the case. I simply asked why you think that the credits don't start with the first person given an on-screen credit.
b. I don't believe that I mentioned ambiguity or anything like it. This is the point where I could be rude, but won't.
e. I think you are going full circle. Multiple answers are different from multiple clues. Lynch says he is giving us 10 clues and I take him at his word. To say it more specifically, Lynch's first clue is that there are "at least" two clues before the credits - a clue to clues if you will. Lynch's 10 clues may be quite tricky but he didn't mean that where the credits start should be interpreted two different ways. I'm guessing that they mean only one thing to him. It is figuring out what that means that is the difficult puzzle. So, it either means Alain Sarde Presents, Justin Theroux or the credits at the end of the film. Take your pick.


"Alain Sarde presents" appears on the screen in the first second of the movie, before any other image of MD, before the jitterbug scene, even before the jitterbug music. You know that and your comment seems not serious because it is impossible to find any clue about the movie before these words appear on the screen. (Even the title does not appear immediatly but I note that Mulholland Dr(eam) could be a clue itself).

Now that you have mentioned that little AMBIGUITY (be rude if you want but I don't see why you should), it is done once for all and the conclusion is that TO ME it is obvious that it can't be considered as the real start of the credits to which the first question refers. TO ME these credits start at the scene with the cadillac and 'Justin Theroux'. If you do not agree, anyway.

Concerning your point e) all these questions carry ambiguities (more important than the one you mention), and after a more or less simple answer, your are lead to ask yourself WHY Lynch has asked these particular questions. To me, each of them is the starting point of a deeper reflexion and to be COMPLETE about these questions, one has (according to me) to extend the discussion to these new subjects. Once again I don't ask you to agree with me. I am saying what I believe. Thus to me the point is not to select which answer is the very most pertinent to each question but to go deeper and deeper in all directions around them. Simply I believe this is the way these questions are supposed to UNLOCK the MD puzzle. You have to turn around and not to stick to the questions themselves.
Apr 28, 2004 9:13 AM
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I just discovered the ?SPOILER? tag. Just about everything in this forum is a spoiler if you?ve only seen the movie once or twice, so I?ll reserve this tag for stuff that goes beyond mere observation.

1. Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits. (At least? That?s an understatement!)

1. The images of dancing pairs while Dianne is seen without a partner.

2. The old couple, who later appear at LAX, in the bum?s bag and creep under Dianne?s door. [SPOILER] I believe they are Dianne?s grandparents, who raised her and abused her. [/SPOILER]

3. The fuzzy objects on the floor. [SPOILER] A headless doll? A cadaver? An aborted fetus? A Rorschach test? [/SPOILER]


4. The rich colors of sheets, blanket and pillow. [SPOILER] Later, they graduThe old couple, who later appear at LAX, in the bum?s bag and creep under Dianne?s door. [SPOILER] I believe they are Dianne?s grandparents, who raised her and abused her. [/SPOILER] gradually fade, indicating Dianne?s deepening depression. The gold blanket becomes dark green, like tarnished brass.[/SPOILER]

5. The POV of going to sleep?suggesting [SPOILER] that we are entering a dream [/SPOILER].

[font=Comic Sans MS]6.The credits don?t roll until the limo is halfway up the hill; on the way up MD, you have the hill on your right side and city lights on the left. [SPOILER] [/font]The limo just got off U.S. 101/Cal 2 and is heading south.[/SPOILER]

2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.

1. The lamp, phone, ashtray, butts and light on the wall are identical in the dream (hairy-arm call) and in the two-second flashback call. [SPOILER] I believe this flashback call may be Joe calling to tell Dianne, ?Meet me at Winkies in five minutes to close the deal.? I believe this ?real-life? phone call is the basis for the hair-arm call in the dream. [/SPOILER]

2. In the other flashback call ,about the party, the light is different and the ashtray is there, but we can?t see if the butts are in it. [SPOILER] I believe this call and the party are also ?real?. [/SPOILER]

3. When the neighbor collects her stuff, [SPOILER] I believe the red lampshade and base are hidden in the box of dishes. [/SPOILER] We see her pickup a bare light fixture with electric cord attached and a paper thing over the bulb. [SPOILER] If it is the neighbor?s red lamp, that means it was in #17 both before and after the apartment switch. For Dianne to be answering that phone, she had to be in #17, whether she had officially moved in or not. [/SPOILER] The deaper mystery is: Where the heck did all those butts come from?

4. When Dianne?s masturbation is interrupted, she looks at the phone [SPOILER] and the red light is not reflected in her eyes because the neighbor has collected it. [/SPOILER]

5. By the way, the phone by the red lamp must be connected [SPOILER] to the answering machine beside the bed; you can ring that phone by calling the number in the phone book or, if the hairy-arm part of the dream is accurate, by dialing extension 4 (some think 3) in a local network. [/SPOILER]

3. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?


1. [i]Sylvia North Story,[/i] in the dream, [SPOILER] is directed by Adam Kesher, who is forced to cast blonde Camilla Rhodes in the lead. In ?real life? (seen in flashback) Adam has cast brunette Camilla Rhodes as the lead in another 1950's movie, with Dianne in a bit part.

2.At the party, we learn the ?real-life? SNS [SPOILER] was directed (perhaps years ago) by Bob Booker who cast dark-haired Camilla Rhodes as the lead. [/SPOILER]

3. Is SNS about a real person? Is it an allusion to the real movie Sylvia? I don?t have the answers.

4. An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident.

1. I don?t know the significance, but the accident was not quite at the same place where Dianne was met by Camilla at the shortcut trail. The most obvious giveaway is the street light, [SPOILER] which is seen thru the windshield at the accident scene and not at the bottom of the shortcut trail. I believe the trail comes down the southeast side of Adams place; the accident was on the northwest side. See the aerial photos & maps at Map of 6980 Mulholland Dr.[/SPOILER]

5. Who gives a key, and why? (At least three keys are given to Dianne/Betty.)

1. In the dream, Coco places the key to Ruth?s apartment in Betty?s hand and continues to hold it there, while talking, for about a minute. [SPOILER] Could this be a red herring? [/SPOILER]

2. The second key given to Betty is the triangular blue key. Actually, Betty merely takes it out of Rita?s purse and puts it back. [SPOILER] I believe the blue box and its key are ?real?. The box was given to Dianne by Ruth, who told her to whisper her family secrets (about sexual abuse) into the box and lock them up in silence for ever. Rita having the key to the blue box signifies that Camilla know about the sexual abuse. [/SPOILER]

3. The blue key given to Dianne by Joe at Winkies (in ?reality?) is a cryptic message to avoid self-incrimination (in case she is bugged or the phone tapped) when he tells her the job is done. [SPOILER] I believe he told her in an earlier meeting or by phone, that a blue key would be used for that purpose, but she never saw it until that particular meeting at Winkies. [/SPOILER]

6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.

1. Dianne hauls her sorry *** out of bed and puts on a dingy gray robe; the neighbor collects the piano-shaped ashtray which is next to the blue key; Dianne sees [SPOILER] (hallucinates) [/SPOILER] Camilla, makes a pot of ultra-weak coffee, and carries the cup (which she stole from Winkies) toward the couch. We see Dianne (or her body double) in the gray robe approaching [SPOILER] the hallucination of [/SPOILER] Camilla on the couch.

2. [SPOILER] Time warp! Dianne may still be hallucinating; she definitely has trouble distinguishing fantasy, memory and reality. I think what comes next is a ?real? past event between Dianne and Camilla on that couch?possibly in a different apartment. [/SPOILER]

3. Now, Dianne appears topless in cutoff blue jeans holding a glass of Coke [SPOILER] (a commercial for CocaCola, not an allusion to cocaine or alcohol); [/SPOILER]the piano-shaped ashtray is back, the blue key is gone.

7. What is felt, realized and gathered at the club Silencio ?

1. ?Felt?? Must be sorrow. (I?m not into feelings, so don?t ask me to elaborate.


2. ?Realized?, as in ?becomes real?? Everything about that scene is SUR-real. ?Realized?, as in ?becomes known?? I suppose Betty & Rita realize that they are unreal [SPOILER]?just dream characters. [/SPOILER]

3. Gathered? Obviously, the blue box?and a case of heebejeebies.

8. Did talent alone help Camilla?

1. Nobody makes it in Hollyweird on talent alone.

2. However, I believe Camilla was talented, [SPOILER] and her superior knowledge of Spanish helped her beat Dianne for the lead in SNS [/SPOILER]? contrary to Dianne?s perception.

9. Notice the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkies.

1. What man? That was a woman who appeared to have been doused with gasoline and set afire. [SPOILER] Could be Dianne?s idea of how Camilla will/did die.[/SPOILER]

2. Seems like somebody always kicks the bucket when she appears.

10. Where is Aunt Ruth ?

1. As Dianne explains at the party [SPOILER] (which really happened) [/SPOILER] , Aunt Ruth died before Dianne came to Hollywood.
2. The visages of Aunt Ruth, near the beginning and end of the dream, are identical. [SPOILER]The red hair is symbolic of life; that is probably how she looked the last time Dianne saw her alive. It has been suggested that other redheads, like the woman seen with luggage at Sierra Bonita, also represent Aunt Ruth.[/SPOILER]
[indent][indent]3. [SPOILER] I believe the Blue-haired Lady at Club Silencio is Aunt Ruth in death. [/SPOILER]
[/indent]
I hate this RT message editor!
I had to change the size, color and font of each little piece because ^A can't select text across spoiler tags, question marks, italics or "^". I had it perfect; then I clicked "enter" at the end, and lost my list format. The more I try to fix it, the worse it gets. Another half hour wasted!
[/indent]
Apr 28, 2004 11:51 AM
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jro
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 791
mdholic
1. The images of dancing pairs while Dianne is seen without a partner.


Mdholic! Could it possibly be that you and I agree on something? Even further, Diane says at the party that she won a jitterbug contest. And how could anyone possibly jitterbug alone? Yes, indeed...

Incidentally, speaking of Diane jitterbugging alone, what about her answering machine message in her dream? "Hello, it's me. Leave a message." Obviously she doesn't particularly care whether anyone knows who "me" is. And her voice isn't unpleasant, but it seems subdued and even a bit listless. Also, judging from the condition her apartment is in, she doesn't get around to things in any big hurry, so I can't see her changing her answering machine message all that often. For how long has she been in her current state? Quite awhile, I'd guess.
Apr 28, 2004 11:56 AM
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mdholic,

it was surely a bit of work, so wonna thank you for all the efforts.
Worthwhile reading...:up:
May 1, 2004 10:35 AM
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jro
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 791
mdholic

2. In the other flashback call ,about the party, the light is different and the ashtray is there, but we can?t see if the butts are in it. [SPOILER] I believe this call and the party are also ?real?. [/SPOILER]


You believe they are; I believe they aren't. Neither of us is going to prove anything just by saying "I believe."

mdholic

5. By the way, the phone by the red lamp must be connected [SPOILER] to the answering machine beside the bed; you can ring that phone by calling the number in the phone book or, if the hairy-arm part of the dream is accurate, by dialing extension 4 (some think 3) in a local network. [/SPOILER]

Not that it really matters, inasmuch as this is a dream, but just how plausible is it that the hairy-arm guy is supposed to calling Diane? Yes, the red lamp phone rings after he dials, but that may be nothing more than an association of images. And what "local network" would Diane be on, anyway?
May 2, 2004 9:02 AM
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