Blue Velvet Meets Twin Peaks: Characters, Birds, And An Ear

Nobody can deny that Blue Velvet takes place in the same universe as Twin Peaks.

The investigative Jeffrey Beaumont acts exactly like you’d expect of a young Dale Cooper, throwing around the occasional (Tibetan?) rock, and quotes like “There are opportunities in life for gaining knowledge and experience.  Sometimes it is necessary to take a risk.” He still prefers Heineken (“Man, I like Heineken”) over coffee (“Damn good coffee”), but that will not last long.

Then there’s the fire and logging trucks a plenty, Mrs. Tremond (actress Frances Bay) who claims to be Jeffrey’s aunt Barbara, and Angelo Badalamenti playing the keys for a Julee Cruise-like Dorothy Vallens. Even the brokerage service used for the movie likely gave David Lynch the idea for the name of the Great Northern Hotel. But the intratextuality is probably most apparent with Blue Velvet’s closing shot of the robin and Twin Peak’s opening shot of the Bewick’s Wren female Varied Thrush on a branch.

And most recently, there’s the report that even a certain, unusual prop appeared in both of David Lynch’s works. You’d never guess: there was a dismembered ear in Cooper’s dream. Twin Peaks Archive has the scoop:

Lynch asks the crew member to assemble 12 candles and a mound of dirt. Well, this is what he did. Unsatisfied, Lynch asks the crew member to go back out to the truck and find ‘something’ to add to the pile of dirt. Rather confused, he goes to the truck, grabs a few items and returns only to discover that Lynch is still unsatisfied with the items he has brought.

Suddenly, Lynch exclaims, “I know what we need”! Lynch then proceeds to carefully pull from his pocket, the prop severed ear from Blue Velvet (wrapped in plastic) The ear was apparently in his pocket the entire time. With no explanation as to it’s meaning or significance, Lynch very carefully partially submerges the ear into the center of the pile of dirt and the closeup is filmed.

It’s hard to see even though I’ve brightened the screencap below quite a bit, but there’s indeed “something” in the center of that pile of dirt. I never wondered what it was, but now I cannot unsee it ever again. I love you, David Lynch.

Blue Velvet Ear in Twin Peaks

The 12 candles shot appears in Cooper’s dream at the end of “Zen, Or The Skill To Catch A Killer” (season 1, episode 3).

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Written by Pieter Dom

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.

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  1. I completely agree – seems to me like Twin Peaks is a development of many themes/ideas in Blue Velvet. I just saw the film for the first time but have been a Twin Peaks fan since it first aired and the first thing that struck me was that Geoffrey Beaumont is a young Dale Cooper! Note also the diner scenes which seem to be extended and developed further in Twin Peaks. Every time I saw Geoffrey in there, I half expected him to order cherry pie.. Dorothy Vallens I thought was a cross between Julee Cruise in TP and Josie Packard, which is not that odd I guess if you remember Chen took over when she dropped out. Also, Sandy struck me as being a little like Donna Hayward, and her father like Harry Truman.
    The scenes where Dennis Hopper is with Isabella Rosellini in the flat and sort of roars in slow motion were almost *exactly* like Bob! Just minus the long hair. In fact, I wonder if Bob developed out of the character of Frank. Has David Lynch ever mentioned anything on the similarities between Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks?

  2. There are definite connections. The bird and primal scream/slo-mo connections sealed it for me. These two media properties illustrate the same kind of American tension interpreted through drastically different natural environments.

  3. In this case is not called “intertextuality, is “intratextuality” instead. The former is when a certain author’s work of fiction meets one of another author. The later is when works from the same author meet.

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