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Third Viewing: New Facts!New theory! Red&Black!Colored phones, Blue keys, Whiteness!
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Joined: Dec 2001
Third Viewing: New Facts!Entirely new theory. Colored phones, Blue keys, Whiteness, Black & Red Signature Rita Hayworth Costumes! The Gilda poster Rita cops her identity from. Two black purses on the bed, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO BETTY? Adam Keshner as film history reference.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Third Viewing for me on Wednesday, December 5th. Paid a lot more attention to what both girls were wearing at all times. A question that arises is: where are Rita's clothes coming from in the dream? She wears a couple of different red and black bathrobes. On the first afternoon she wears a white outfit that doesn't make any statement. I find black and red and white and BLUE in the GILDA POSTER that you can find anywhere on the net. It is the same poster from which Rita copped her temporary identity. A copy of it is attached to this thread.
When Rita came down off Mulholland, she had the purse. Betty didn't have one until much later. When the two of them grabbed a cab to the Theatre De Silencio, Betty had one. Betty was wearing a red top and black pants then, Rita's signature colors. Rita was wearing the blonde wig and a sleeveless, maybe backless, white dress, the same colors Rita wore the first afternoon she got up from her sleep and still didn't know her name. Melville wrote a chapter on "Whiteness" in Moby Dick, but in this film whiteness means lack of identity for Rita. The donning of red and black by Betty for the theater trip suggests Betty has unconsciously begun to assume the role of Rita. At the theater, only Betty has a purse.
I have figured out why Rita spoke Spanish in her sleep. It is because before Rita Hayworth was Rita Hayworth, she was a heavyset Spanish girl named Mararita Carmen Cansino. Harry Cohn of Columbia would submit her low hairline to electrolosis and the pudginess to a diet. Rita in the film is remembering her past before she was Hayworth. When the low-browed heavy set woman begins to sing Crying in Spanish, Rita begins to cry and then Betty does too. The reason Rita cries is because that woman is the young girl Rita used to be, the pudgy Spanish Dancing Girl whose father raped her each night. The singing Hispanic girl falls near the end of the song, but the tape keeps playing. What does that mean? I'm not sure. It could mean her life as the low-browed, pudgy Hispanic dancer is interrupted when she becomes Hayworth, but the song
goes on with a new Rita. It is Betty who discovers the blue cube in HER purse, after the heavy Hispanic singer has fallen. The presumption is that both women want desperately to combine the contents -blue pyramid key and blue cube, each in a separate purse- back in Aunt Ruth's bedroom.
So how to explain the disappearance of Betty after a scene cut, in the bedroom, mystifying Rita, who takes down her own purse with the money in it in the hatbox, places it next to Betty's purse, and then walks to the door looking for Betty? She doesn't find her, nor do any of us ever see Betty again. Rita, her blonde Kim Novak wig still on, looks for the two purses on the bed, but now there is only one purse, one blue cube and one key. This little now-you-see-it, now-you-don't exercise was staged by author-director David Lynch. Betty must have grabbed that purse in the brief moment while Rita looked out the doorway. It fools many members of the audience. What has happened is Betty has taken the purse with the money in it after throwing the blue key onto the bed and pulling the box out of her OWN purse, leaving key, cube and one black purse still on the bed. Rita does not appear alarmed that one purse and its contents are missing. The audience thus mostly doesn't notice Betty has taken one of the purses and the money. Perhaps Rita thinks Betty and the purse will turn up later. She opens the blue box which will determine her future.
Its a good idea to pause the film here to review where we are. Betty is wearing Rita's colors indicating she expects to BECOME Rita. Rita is wearing an all-white dress and Kim Novak's (Vertigo) blonde wig indicating two things: one, that she is a blank slate waiting for a new identity, since her amnesia has prevented her having one; and two that she will become Betty or Diane or
one of them, she is not sure which. Because it has now occurred to me that there really IS a Diane Selwyn, separate from Betty and Rita. She was asphyxiated by the blonde guy holding a blanket and pillow over her head in a scene which showed the bedcovers of her bed moving, right about the time Diane was leaving the airport with the old couple, after the jitterbug contest and plane ride, at the beginning of the film. Rita is Diane's prostitute consort or girlfriend who arranged to have Diane killed. It is not a dream, it has actually happened. She was taking a limo to meet the contract killer and pay him, when the driver decided to rob her of the money. Then the car was hit by teenage drag racers, Rita lost her memory, escaped down the hill with the money still intact, and met Betty the next day. The blonde guy is looking for Rita, not to kill her, but to get paid for snuffing Diane with a pillow.
The midget power-broker makes a phone call to a crew-cutted gent with a fat neck and walrus mustache. He is told that nothing has changed. The walrus mustache guy is presumed to be one of the Mogul Midget's stooges. But he also has a deal with the blonde hit man, whose hairy forearm reaches for the yellow kitchen phone on
the wall to be told by the Walrus that nothing has changed. He turns around and calls a black phone below a red shaded lamp with a pile of cigarette butts in the ashtray nearby. That is Diane Selwyn's phone, but why would the hitman call there, since he already knows Diane is lying dead? Because he is not looking for Diane, he is looking for her girlfriend, the woman who would be Rita Hayworth. The reason I know that it is Diane's phone is that it appears again in the last sequences at Diane's apartment, when Betty has BECOMEDiane.
"What's my motivation?" cries the actor to his Director. "We have a body" says the cop to his partner, "but who has the motive to commit this murder?" Good questions. Answering them in this movie may solve the mystery. Adam Keshner has the motivation to succeed. The Two Mafioso want to make the blonde Camilla Rhodes a star. I'm thinking the girl who was Rita and became Camilla, WAS an actress before she lost her memory. She was competing for a role in Keshner's film. She and the real Diane were lovers. Diane was afraid of losing her paramour and was threatening to spoil Rita's chances to get a part in the film by telling the producers "Rita" is a prostitute. The girl who would be Rita was one of Heidi Fleiss' LA prostitutes, the girls who serviced Charlie Sheen. She had arranged to sell Fleiss's legendary black book of famous clients to Fleiss competitors, the two guys in the front seat of the limo, for the $50,000 that was now in her purse. They decide to get their money back from "Rita" and keep the black book too. All plans go awry when the drag racers hit the limo, the guys in front are killed, and Rita loses her memory. Only the blonde guy has already killed Diane for the woman who would be Rita, and wants to be paid. The hit man finds the guy in the office with Heidi Fleiss' black book, after learning the man at the desk either was himself at the scene or had something to do with the two Pimps who were. He and the blonde guy are old friends, but the reason the
blonde hit man is talking to him is he is looking for "Rita." He doesn't initally care about the black book. He is really looking for the girl who would be Rita to pay him. But when the guy at the desk tells him about the black book in front of him, and the hit-man considers its worth, he decides on impulse to off his sometime pal and keep the book. This is why everything goes so wrong, and he has to kill two others, because he didn't plan the hit. But the numbers book itself evolves into little more than a Hitchcock "McGuffin" used by Lynch as a prop in the last Winky's scene with Diane-Betty to help this tale to make ultimate sense. The hitman who killed to get the book casually leaves the book in plain sight while he negotiates with Betty-Diane, because he does not know what exactly to do with it, doesn't know who to sell it to. It has become an afterthought. But the book of phone numbers acts as a time and motivation marker for the storyteller. It means the negotiation at Winky's took place after the real Diane had been killed, after the deskman and two others were killed, and since, in its way, it was part of the spiral of events that followed Diane's murder, its casual placement in front of the NEW DIANE indicates the hit man does not know the woman he is talking to has REPLACED the woman he snuffed and he is negotiating ANOTHER murder on the
NEW DIANE'S BEHALF of Camilla Rhodes, THE SAME PROSTITUTE-ACTRESS who hired him in an earlier manifestation, TO KILL DIANE! And he will be paid the same $50,000 he was to be paid to kill the first DIANE! We never find out for sure, because we don't find out what happened to the blonde hitman, but what a bozo he must be not to
put two and two together here. Thinking back, he was a little dense. Actually, these last are issues that would just complicate things for the Cowboy Magician David Lynch.
At bottom, understanding this movie involves melding the motivations of everyone who WANTS SOMETHING in this
film, into a solution that rewards nearly ALL of them. The Magician who brings it all off is the Cowboy. I will show how later. Adam Keshner wants to make this groundbreaking movie. The Castigliano Brothers want to MAKE the blonde Camilla Rhodes the lead. The Actress-Prostitute who would be Rita Hayworth, wanted a part in Kesher's movie BEFORE she had the real Diane killed when she knew her own identity. And presumably, even while foraging for a new identity, she subconsciously still wants to. Betty hasn't much experience in Hollywood, she is a fledgling with stars in her eyes. She doesn't know how things really work. She is a brilliant actress, as we see in the audition, but the film's overview is that counts for hardly anything.
In a way, the Cowboy is a magician who has been in charge of everything from the beginning. It was he who ultimately controlled Adam Keshner's destiny. Even the Munchkin behind the glass in the Bowels of the Studio, issuing barely discernible commands to the Harvey Weinstein (Miramax)-like white-haired jewish man is only a pawn in the Cowboy's game. That understanding is at the heart of why the Cowboy gives Keshner such crap for being a "Smart Alec" to him. Keshner does not understand who he is dealing with here; the Cowboy is the Prince of Darkness. The Cowboy controls the dreams, the scenario- he is Lynch the storyteller in disguise, and a Hitchcock Manque (see his walk-on in the background at the Mulholland party for Rita, very Hitch-like). The sequence up to the point of Rita's opening the blue box has been written by he and Lynch; its a secret morality tale. Betty and Rita have been exchanging identities, yes, but the two purses and the separate choices they represent, will determine which girl will occupy the moral high ground. Who will make the right choice and who the wrong. It is not obvious to the Audience which choice is the correct one. The Audience doesn't even understand HOW IT IS a choice, that this moment is the very climax of the entire film. To find it out, they will have to go back and parse every detail in order to find the climax that Lynch, like his mentor Hitchcock, has hidden in plain sight.
Betty, ironically, makes the first choice, leaving the innocent Rita with no choice at all. By running off with the $50,000, Betty has left Rita with a Hobson's choice. The irony, then, is that Rita's correct choice was taken out of no higher morality at all, but simply taking what was left over. She took the chance, opened the blue box and discovered her future. But, see, that WAS an innocent thing for her to do. There is an enormous flaw here, though. Why would Betty run off with the $50,000? She has shown no inclinations like this. Except for the overwrought scene she played with Chad Everett, actually rewriting her part on her feet by playing aggressively AGAINST the passive lines she had been faxed, Betty has shown no unwholesome signs. She is a nice girl from Canada. Perhaps Lynch is trying to tell us she has a very gnarled and twisted subconscious struggling to subvert Betty's placid surface, well maybe. Perhaps there is something to that. Because later, as the twisted Diane, she uses the $50,000 to pay the same hit man who killed the original Diane, to kill the new Dark Star Camilla Rhodes. Perhaps one of the readers of this screed has other information about Diane's diabolical true nature.
See, taking the $50,000 determined which role the Magician-Lynch-The Cowboy would assign Diane. Morally, the Auteur knew the money was the low road. This is all but confirmed in the few moments after Rita has put the blue key in the lock, opened the box to her future, and then dropped the box to the floor. Betty's Aunt Ruth
next comes in the room and finds nothing, indicating that all traces of this elusive drama have been removed, like magic, from the bedroom. Lynch seismically shifts down the Hall with an earthquake shake effect or two and we are lingering in Diane Selwyn's apartment. The same dead corpse with a black dress is still in the bed. Now comes the magic moment, when the Cowboy knocks on the door and tells the dead Diane, "time to get
up." This comes in a cutaway. When we cut back to the corpse, it is stirring and it no longer wears a black dress. It is Betty clad in a blue nightgown. What has happened to the Diane Corpse and the smell and the awfulness and the horror, which the waking Betty-Diane is totally unaware of? It has been removed by the magician cowboy and the Author. Rita has retained her persona and added the "real" Camilla Rhodes' persona but not her looks. It is possible she has taken Betty's obvious acting talent along in the bargain as well. The Cowboy has magically transformed everyone's fortunes with one bold stroke, telling Diane it is time to
wake up. In the dumpster behind Winky's, the ruined and charred husk of the undead horror that is Diane contemplates the blue box and the key about which she knows nothing. The area behind the dumpster is the dumping ground for all the extra parts that don't fit the dreams that are coming true and not coming true in real life. All of the left-overs including Diane are here.
Why they are all down behind the dumpster at Winky's I ask? The dead Diane exists in a twilight zone, a limbo stage, where at one point we see her contemplating the empty blue box and the key that disappeared from Aunt Ruth's bedroom. Contemplating Betty-Diane's lost future, Diane is now the quintessence of nothingness. She is not Betty-Diane, she is dead and a husk, and shares the dead relics of the dreams that are pursued inside Winky's and up on Mulholland. The Black Ogre is a non-player in events, real or in dreams. The area behind the dumpster is the slag-heap of realized dreams, the antithesis of dreamland and Hollywood.
Betty-Diane is now forced to deal with the issues about "Camilla Rhodes" that the "real" Diane had while alive. Sheis in love with Camilla still, but Camilla has achieved the stardom and love and lust are now elusive for Betty-Diane. The placement of the key in the last scenes in Betty's apartment indicate Camilla has been successfully killed, its blueness an ironic comment on the Blue Magic that sent Rita-Camilla to the heights of stardom. The first scene with Diane shows the key, then Diane "seeing" Camilla, only it is only the lost vision of the beloved Camilla after death. The key tells us the vision can't be true, Camilla is not there, and when Diane makes a single cup of coffee, we know it was only a vision of Camilla. There are other scenes with Camilla, out of order on purpose, to deceive the audience about whether Camilla-Rita is alive or not. Lynch hiding the truth in plain sight. The limo ride to Mulholland where the Limo stops unexpectedly (usual cheap director trick reference to the original Rita Limo unexpectedly stops)and Camilla-Rita walks Diane-Betty up the hill to the party, where Coco is now Adam Kesper's mother. I don't have an explanation for this, except that she maybe always was his mother and it didn't come up. Everybody knows somebody in the Industry after all. These scenes are attempts to keep the audience guessing about whether Camilla-Rita is still alive. Well, she isn't.
The scenes also show Betty-Diane's increasing grief about her choice. There is no certainty that she knows the taking of the $50,000 sealed her fate. Adam Kesper announces his engagement to the new star. Betty-Diane is forced to masturbate because Camilla isn't having sex with her. Another scene has Camilla failing to
have sex on terms Betty-Diane likes. Its all spiralling downward. There is a discussion of Camilla's role in the movie with some friends at the party on Mulholland. The young tousle-haired guy contributes a fact about that movie that I didn't quite get, but I suspect cast much light on this shadowed film. Anyway, Iwas wrong about the jalopy scene with Grace Kelly playing the Country Girl against Camille and Adam in theopen car. The open car scene is actually like a scene from Hitch's To Catch A Thief, when heroine Grace Kelly caromes at maddening speed along a mountain road scaring poor Cary Grant nearly to death. Adam is showing Camilla how to play a love scene in the car, while Betty-Diane has morphed into the icy Grace Kelly blonde who is SUPPOSED to be in that car with the hero, not Camilla-Rita. You can see Betty-Diane-Grace's
grief that another girl is getting her guy. Fairytale images of Princesses and Kingdoms obtrude into the mythology of the scene because while making that film near Monaco, the real Grace met the Prince who would make her a Princess. And along that road the real Princess Grace drove her car off the mountain and died in real life. The tip-off that this is the classy Grace from Thief is the pair of white gloves she clutches as she watches the jalopy. For reasons I don't have an answer for, Betty-Diane-Grace's lips are plastered with an enormous amount of red lipstick. There must be a symbolic reason but I don't know what it is.
The movie is over, Diane-Betty has killed herself mostly in remorse for the loss of Camilla-Rita, but also for her lost career. The scene shifts back up on Mulholland, whitened dissolves of Betty, Rita and one or two of their various personnas float over Mulholland in the Daytime (comes the dawn?). The scene shifts suddenly to the Theater De Silencio. The Camera dollies for a Nora Desmond on the old woman. I have finally figured out who she is. She is the wizened, alzheimered Rita Hayworth, perhaps existing in a netherland between life and death, coiffed in a wig like the dead mother who IS Hitch's Norman Bates, rendering perhaps the only remark that can escape her, given her state: "Silencio!" What does it mean? It means there is no longer anything left to say about the events that have transpired in the film. It means the dark shroud of Hollywood has rolled over Betty, "Rita," Diane and herself. There is nothing left to say. And there is noone who knows anything, left to speak. And perhaps there is noone left to hear either, except the Audience and the Cowboy, David Lynch.
A postscript on who Adam Kesher is modelled on: Francois Trauffaut, the brilliant French director who idolized and emulated Alfred Hitchcock. Trauffaut was an indifferent student, who began writing about Hitchcock and films in general for Cahiers Du Cinema, the French publication that ushered in the New Wave in French Films of the Sixties. Cahiers also brought a new understanding to American Films that had eluded American critics and even the geniuses who had made the films. Cahiers is probably responsible for the revival of old films with Bogart and others in film festivals that broke out on college campuses everywhere in the sixties. The tip-off that Kesher is based on Truffaut is the thick bows on his glasses and the dramatically arched dark hair affected by the Kesher character. Truffaut hired a young man who looked like him to act in several of his films like Day For Night. That actor wore those frames in at least one film. I think it is possible Truffaut wore those same frames in real life, but I could not find a pic of him doing so on the Net. He also directed Jules and Jim and the 400 Blows. Truffaut inevitably wrote a biography of Hitch in the sixties, appeared in some of his own films, and Spielberg's Close Encounters of a Third Kind. He died of a brain tumour at age 52 in 1984.
The three groups of men in the conference room: the white-haired jewish studio exec who ultimately reported to the actor who was a munchkin in 1939 Oz, seemed modelled on Harvey Weinstein, the public member of the Weinstein Brothers who brought Miramax to Disney. The guy on his left looked a hell of a lot like Michael Ovitz, who came to Disney for awhile, then left with a big pile of money, but has not been able to reassume his position as the king of deals among Hollywood's Agents. The pink paint on Kesher's wife's jewelry and inevitably on his black outfit: It looked wonderful, but I am unable to say that it signified anything. Most of the Kesher scenes are used to drive home the political and economic pressure the director was feeling from all sides. He, Betty, Rita, Diane, the real Camilla and all the players were looking for solutions to their separate dilemmas. Diane Selwyn and Betty struck out, Adam fluorished for a time, but is a bit player in this drama. The real Camilla slipped back into obscurity. Camilla-Rita Rhodes paid for her fame with her life, so I guess there is a lot of silence around. I wonder what happened to that hitman, who in one scene outside Pinkies, a copycat to Winkies, and a puzzle-nudge to the audience by the director, queried a new piece of meat on the Sunset Boulevard Bordello; he asked whether she had seen Rita, even while the hit-man Pimp helped the other guy pack her -so willingly she went- into the van, where she would join the lower rungs of Hollywood Stardom. It seems to me the Theater of Silence is a Hallway in which to contemplate the three stages of Rita Hayworth: the young portly rhumba queen, the Waspy high-foreheaded Star, and the wizened Rita who began losing her memory at age 42 and died at 68. In silence.
Dec 6, 2001 5:26 PM
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