David Lynch wrote and directed this look at two women who find themselves walking a fine line between truth and deception in the beautiful but dangerous netherworld of Hollywood. A beautiful woman (Laura Elena Harring) riding in a limousine along Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive is targeted by a would-be shooter, but before he can pull the trigger, she is injured when her limo is hit by another car. The woman stumbles from the wreck with a head wound, and in time makes her way into an apartment with no idea of where or who she is. As it turns out, the apartment is home to an elderly woman who is out of town, and is allowing her niece Betty (Naomi Watts) to stay there.
David Lynch originally conceived Mulholland Drive as the pilot film for a television series; after the ABC television network rejected the pilot and declined to air it, the French production film StudioCanal took over the project, and Lynch reshot and re-edited the material into a theatrical feature. The resulting version of Mulholland Drive premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where David Lynch shared Best Director honors with Joel Coen. The Hollywood Dream Factory reimagined as Nightmarish Torture Chamber. Naomi Watts is phenomenal. Originally filmed in 1999 on a budget of $8 million as a made-for-TV pilot, new scenes were filmed one year later on a $7 million budget given by the French film studio Studio Canal to wrap up the open ending which had been left unresolved in the original version so that a TV series could follow. David Lynch’s 10 Clues to Unlocking This Thriller:
Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits. Notice appearances of the red lampshade. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again? An accident is a terrible event… notice the location of the accident. Who gives a key, and why? Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup. What is felt, realized and gathered at the club Silencio? Did talent alone help Camilla? Notice the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkies. Where is Aunt Ruth? The film is dedicated to Jennifer Syme, a young actress whose story is startlingly similar to that of the character of Betty – but who in fact died after the bulk of the film was completed. The Region 1 DVD of the movie does not feature “chapters”; attempting to “skip” to the next scene or chapter takes you to the “DVD” logo animation at the very end of the movie after all the credits and ratings and so forth. Director David Lynch requested this himself, as he has done on previous releases, such as The Straight Story. By allowing the film to be on one chapter, Lynch believes people will be more inclined to view the feature in one sitting, as intended. Robert Zemeckis also used this idea on his laserdisc release of Forrest Gump. On the way to audition for her part as Camilla Rhodes/Rita, Laura Harring was in a minor car accident. Adam Kesher smashing the producers’ car windshield in with a golf club is a reference to the famous 1994 incident where Jack Nicholson did the same. Nicholson’s nickname is “Mulholland Man”. The Cowboy has no eyebrows. This was done to give the character a more subtle, disturbing appearance. David Lynch first came up with the idea for the story in the early 1990s, when his television show Twin Peaks was still on the air. Would the show have continued for a third season, Lynch would have entered into talks with ABC to spin-off the character of Audrey Horne, who would have survived her being trapped inside an exploding building in the Season 2 cliffhanger. The character(s) that Naomi Watts plays was originally intended to be Audrey; David Lynch has never revealed if Audrey would have had the same fate as Naomi Watts’ character(s) in the film. ABC executives rejected the original pilot version of the film because, they thought Naomi Watts and Laura Harring too old to be television stars, among other reasons. Chosen by “Les Cahiers du cinéma” (France) as the best picture of the decade (in 2010). Angelo Badalamenti: the soundtrack composer appears as the espresso-drinking movie exec at the beginning of the film. Cori Glazer: the script supervisor is playing the blue-haired lady. Charles Croughwell: the stunt coordinator is playing the vacuum man.