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David Lynch: Beautiful Dark (Filmmakers) (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series) [Hardcover]

Greg Olson

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Book Description

28 Sep 2008 The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series (Book 126)
For nearly 40 years, David Lynch's works have enthralled, mystified, and provoked viewers. Lynch's films delve into the subjective consciousness of his characters to reveal both the depraved darkness and luminous spirituality of human nature. From his experimental shorts of the 1960s to feature films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and INLAND EMPIRE, Lynch has pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. In David Lynch: Beautiful Dark, author Greg Olson explores the surreal intricacies of the director's unique visual and visceral style not only in his full-length films but also his early forays into painting and short films, as well as his television landmark, Twin Peaks. This in-depth exploration is the first full-length work to analyze the intimate symbiosis between Lynch's life experience and artistic expressions: from the small-town child to the teenage painter to the 60-year-old Internet and digital media experimenter. To fully delineate the director's life and art, Olson received unprecedented participation from Lynch, his parents, siblings, old school friends, romantic partners, children, and decades of professional colleagues, as well as on-set access to the director during the production of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Throughout this study, Olson provides thorough analyses of the filmmaker's works as Lynch conceived, crafted, and completed them. Consequently, David Lynch: Beautiful Dark is the definitive study of one of the most influential and idiosyncratic directors of the last four decades.

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A thorough-going critical study of Lynch's works in all media that is firmly embedded in a clear biographical narrative and backed by lengthy interviews with almost everyone in his life...The result is exactly the kind of complex, keen-eyed but sympathetic critical biography one wishes every great filmmaker could receive. Dga Quarterly With unprecedented access to Lynch, his parents, family, and colleagues, Olson has captured and defined the raw, mysterious energy that flows through the works of this iconoclastic auteur. College & Research Libraries News, February 2009 Olson's comprehensive biography of this highly original filmmaker contains a wealth of information, much of it previously unpublished. CHOICE, June 2009 Simply put, the book, "Beautiful Dark" by Greg Olsen is a work of art...The one thing that hits you about this book is the amount of passion that Olsen has put into his work...Olsen covers nearly every imaginable work that Lynch has ever done to date and does so with great enthusiasm and passion. He insightfully moves between Lynch's works with a precision that is both refreshing and exhaustive at the same time. The result is a chance between two worlds...into a place where no one has gone before...So if you were hesitating picking this one up, as Coop would say, "Every day, once a day, give yourself a present..." And grab this book today! -- Brian Kursar Dugpa.Com, 10/4/08

About the Author

Greg Olson is the Film Curator of the Seattle Art Museum. He has written on film for several publications including The Seattle Times, Moviemaker, Premiere and Film Comment. He has contributed to the books Vietnam War Films and Contemporary Literary Criticism. He is a board member of the Film Noir Foundation and a juror for the American Film Institute's annual 100 Years...100 Movies television programs.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Dark - A work of art... 17 Oct 2008
By dugpa - Published on Amazon.com
Simply put, the book, "Beautiful Dark" by Greg Olson is a work of art. Even though I had seen it coming for years now, I never expected it to affect me the way it did. I have to admit, that for years, being a long time fan of Lynch, I have read practically every Lynch related book, news article, and watched every interview that I could possibly get my hands on. After reading this book, I was overwhelmed to find out how much I didn't know about the man, and how much more I have come to appreciate what a beautiful person David Lynch truly is.

The one thing that hits you about this book is the amount of passion that Olson has put into this work. From the first page, Olson brings the reader into the personal world of David Lynch. Through interviews and conversations with Lynch, his family members, close friends, romantic partners, and professional colleagues, the result is an unprecedented, up close and personal view of Lynch's life that has never been seen before.

Olson crafts this work in a beautiful narrative that places the reader right up there with Lynch as he grows up and discovers art, film, music, life, and love. You are there beside Lynch through his relationships with his romantic partners, through his hardships, his pain, and his victories. At the same time, having written this book over the course of 10 years, Olson weaves seamlessly to narrate back to the perspective of a onlooker, detailing what it was like during various times over the years of how the public and media were reacting to Lynch's work, and what it was like to be alive and experiencing Lynch's work as it was happening.

Olson covers nearly every imaginable work that Lynch has ever done to date and does so with great enthusiasm and passion. He insightfully moves between Lynch's works with a precision that is both refreshing and exhaustive at the same time.

The result is a chance between two worlds... into a place where no one has gone before. Olson brings you to a seat at a table in a New York restaurant owned by Dino Laurentiis where across from you Lynch is laying his eyes on Isabella Rossellini for the first time. You are given rare access to stories from the set of Twin Peaks where we are told where the idea of creamed corn came from and what Mark Frost's reaction to it. Olson takes you on a magical journey to the set of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as you watch Lynch gently kiss Sheryl Lee on the cheek. You become an onlooker of a tragic car crash that brings Lynch and his ex-wife together to care for their daughter, Jennifer through months of multiple back surgeries. As you listen to Jennifer, you come to realize why it is so important for Jennifer to follow in her father's footsteps.

I won't spoil the any more for you, however, I will say that this book gets my highest possible recommendation. Olson goes above and beyond to bring us a rare glimpse into the life of David Lynch and brings home the goods! So if you were hesitating picking this one up, as Coop would say... Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.... And grab this book today!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever Wanted Someone To Explain Something But Not Ruin It? 15 Feb 2009
By William M. Neal - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a gem. If even you're not a fan of Lynch, or movies, it can inspire you to great heights with the spiritual search of an artist...sure, there's plenty left out, and, in some cases, you really don't want to meet your heroes...but, so what? You get a sense that here is a person on a spiritual quest, not just a workaholic, or some kind of weird, driven "monster".
I've always wanted someone to tell me what they think, of what I saw, and this guy does it with elan. He goes through and, though maybe he just says his point of view, but for me, it explains a lot about the films I've seen, which, until now; a lot of them have been opaque. And, if you like a little mystery revealed, it is not so good. It's quite painful in fact. There's pain of course here, in learning of the lives of Lynch and his family and family of friends and co-conspirators, but plenty of pleasure as well. By the end of this heavy and very long (Almost 700 pages! Which read fast.) you sure wish like anything you too could write; or paint, or dream on canvas; and produce so much work that people got into it as much as you do.
Check out the book. Learn about Olson, Lynch, his family, friends, co-workers, and YOU!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Sunshine Bores the Daylights Out of Me" 22 Nov 2011
By Suzinne Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Such was a line from one of the Stones finest songs ("Rocks Off"), and it easily applies to the psyche of film director, David Lynch. His work has fascinated me for quite a while now, and it all started way back when in 1980 (or thereabouts) which was when my introduction to David Lynch took place. First saw "Eraserhead" at the Waverly in the West Village here in New York City. Clearly, I remember gazing up at the poster in the theatre window and having serious trepidation about seeing this. "Should we?" "Shouldn't we?" I was scared. Well, all I can say is there has never been another film even remotely like it. Strange doesn't even begin to describe it. Suggestion: it's not the kind of movie you can munch popcorn to because the overwhelming feeling in the audience is nausea!

Okay, onto this book. Picked this up at my local library and first off was a little surprised at the heft of this. I mean David Lynch hasn't really made that many films. What I found out was the reason for the extreme length is the author's downright ridiculous detail of all the movie plots. I would enjoy hearing about how Lynch came up w/ his screenplays and the process of filming, but not a play by play of each scene. On the other hand, Greg Olson does shed some light (no!) on "Mulholland Drive," which was a very opaque movie. I saw the film after reading the raves, but damn if I didn't have a clue what was going on. And, as par for the course w/ Lynch, this film moves at what seems a snail's pace. It drove me crazy. Actor Naomi Watts contributes here about her experience on the film and what just might be the role of her career.

No discussion of Lynch would be complete w/o including Lynch's piece de resistance, "Blue Velvet." This biography gives some nice detail of the posturing by a variety of actors to secure the truly outrageous role of Frank Booth. But there was only one man born to play that role, and that man was Dennis Hopper. And knowing a golden opportunity, Hopper simply stated to David Lynch "I AM Frank Booth." No joke - Dennis Hopper was pretty much that same drug fueled psychotic while filming Apocalypse Now! in the Philippines circa 1976.

Other interesting tangents include "Twin Peaks" and Kyle McLagen. Also, singer Julie Cruise admits she was traumatized by her working relationship w/ David Lynch. Love the music they created together and have enjoyed the CD that resulted from their collaboration. That said, this book offers a straightforward portrait of one of the weirdest directors to have ever graced this planet. My only major criticism would be tighter editing because there's TMI (too much information) about the individual films.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive, Enlightening, Exhausting 17 April 2009
By Matthew J. Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
It's taken me a couple of months to (almost) get through this book, which goes into great detail summarizing and interpreting each of Lynch's works. It definitely provides some insights into Lynch's worldview and his artistic approach, and of course the meaning of his rather mysterious movies. There is, of necessity in such a long book, some minor repetition, mainly to point out repetition in themes and elements in Lynch's work. It could probably have been broken into about 6 or 7 separate books, each handling one movie. Its only major flaw is that it takes until about page 573 until it offers even the slightest negative observation about the man or his work, so solid is its hagiographic belief in the man as an artistic and human genius. One gets the feeling (which the author admits is shared by Lynch) that some of the author's observations of artistic qualities in Lynch's works are probably accidental, incidental, or coincidental. But much of the insights are enlightening and insightful. I have not yet read the final chapter, on Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE, which I have not yet finished watching, as the analyses of the earlier movies would have definitely spoiled my experience if I hadn't seen the movies already- especially Mulholland Drive, which was fun to figure out on one's own. After watching the first two hours of INLAND EMPIRE, I am not so sure that it is worth the effort of trying to figure that one out on my own- it seems almost like a parody of a David Lynch movie in its utter incomprehensibility and confusion and interchangeability of space, time and characters- so I might just skip back to this book. If you are a fan of Lynch's works and want to understand them better, I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 7 April 2013
By Jan Baross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Greg Olson has been showing films for the Seattle Art Musem Series for about thirty years. He knows the world of films like no other. His depth of knowledge about David Lynch runs deep. HIs research has taken years. He is careful, methodical and an extremely fine writer on the subject of films.

Jan Baross
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