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1. Monday, September 14, 2009 7:48 AM
bluefrank David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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I've got a keen interest in both artists and thought that I'd open up discussion in respect of their work etc.

 


 

 One person who (surprisingly) I don't see readily listed as a major influence or even a contemporary is the writer/dramatist Dennis Potter out of the UK and personally I feel that Potter has been some kind of influence on him, but I really don't know for sure.

 His brilliant 'Singing Detective' television drama was released the same year as Blue Velvet 1986...but the main body of Potter's work goes back much further.

 I have found many similarities between their work and in fact...one example, I would go as far to say that 'Inland Empire' has a very similar plot synopsis and themes to Potter's 'Karaoke'...written just before he died in 1994.

 

KARAOKE:

 During a four-day period in contemporary London, hard-drinking TV scripter Daniel Feeld (Albert Finney) has some unusual experiences in which life begins to mirror fiction. Despite pain, Feeld attempts to go about his daily routines but soon learns that his spastic colon is actually pancreatic cancer. He has written a TV drama titled "Karaoke", and scenes from production are viewed in an editing room by TV director Nick Balmer (Richard E. Grant). On the street and in restaurants, Feeld is startled to find people around London reciting dialogue he has written, and this leads him into a relationship with 22-year-old karaoke-bar hostess Sandra Sollars (Saffron Burrows), who has several synchronicities to a character in his script. As Feeld continues to see other striking parallels, he must decide how to protect Sandra from vicious gangster Arthur "Pig" Maillion (Hywel Bennett), another person from the pages of his script. Potter saw karaoke bars as a metaphor for life, as he noted, "Although you use your own voice, the words are written for you."  Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

 

INLAND EMPIRE:

A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they're shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, 47, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy. Written by Ted 

 

 Are there any 'Potter-Lynch' adherents about...if not be sure to check out Dennis Potter and his body of work?

 


 

Well...'lo & behold' (after much searching) there was an actual professional link between the 2 artists.

 

" In 1990, Dennis Potter wrote a draft version of a screenplay based on D.M. Thomas's novel The White Hotel for director David Lynch. Even if the screenplay was never produced (there seem to be current plans of an Emir Kusturica version), there is a professional connection between the two leading 1980s and 1990s postmodern TV 'authors' of audiovisual culture. Although there is much debate whether television is, or is not, a quintessentially postmodern medium (1), whether Lynch or Potter may justifiably be addressed as TV authors (2), and, in the case of Potter, to what extent he embraced the postmodernist aesthetic (3), there is a clear case for comparing their influential series as epitomes of the postmodernist revision of crime and detective formulae on the small screen. "

 

The article can be read here, if you're interested:

 

Postmodern TV Crime in The Singing Detective (1986) and Twin Peaks (1990-91)

 
2. Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:43 AM
hatter RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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I once read that Dennis Potter and Lynch were going to collaborate together on D M Thomas's The White Hotel

 
3. Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:31 AM
bluefrank RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Hi...thanks for the response.

 

Yes...they met in 1992 apparently, in respect of 'The White Hotel'.

 

In 1992 David Lynch met Dennis Potter, and there was subsequent talk of Lynch directing Potter's adaptation of D.M. Thomas' novel The White Hotel. Lynch and Potter would have made uneasy bedfellows, though there are several points of comparison between their works, including the interest in using lipsynched songs to convey emotions mere naturalism cannot adequately express. Then there is their dubious fascination with sexy amnesiac women who inspire homicidal thoughts (also shared by Martin Amis, whose novel Other People works as a sequel to his later London Fields). The best analogue to Mulholland Dr., in fact, is Potter's ill-fated 'Blackeyes', with its twinning of the jaded blonde ex-model and the 'fictional passive brunette - herself an amnesiac by the story's end - whom she bequeaths to her novelist uncle. Potter's writing frequently dealt with characters who fail (Cream in My Coffee) or succeed (The Singing Detective) in gathering up the shards of what he called their "sovereign" selves. This is especially instructive when contemplating a drama of deconstruction like Mulholland Dr. with its lost angel Diane, whose sovereignty has been fractured long before we enter her dream. 

http://www.lynchnet.com/mdrive/sightnsnd.html

 

Quite a startling visual comparison...don't you think, particularly Gina Bellman & Laura Harring?


 Betty & Rita (Diane & Camilla)

 

 

 Shelley (Carol Royale) & Blackeyes (Gina Bellman)

 

Blackeyes

In this intricately layered, dark story, a woman whose guardian sexually abused her tells her story. It seems that her guardian also used her life as the basis for a series of stories about a woman known as Blackeyes. The real-life woman (Shelley/Royale) and the fictional woman (Blackeyes/Bellman) each tell their stories, while attempting to cope with their lives in the present. Eventually, both commit suicide, but not before the real-life woman has taken revenge on the man who warped (and stole) her life. This story was brought to the screen by the prolific (and ailing) director Dennis Potter who was responsible for such stunning works as The Singing Detective. There is no evidence that Blackeyes has ever received a U.S. screening. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

 

 

Potter's work seems criminally forgotten (in the mainstream) imo and a part of me can't help but think that a certain 'media mogul' may have had some undue influence on this state of affairs, over the ensuing years. Potter naming his 'cancer' after and his prescient express warnings against 'Rupert' seem to have taken their toll, even beyond the grave...but I'm certain at least, that Potter wouldn't have had it any other way!

 

 

Subsequently I have found an interesting piece from a blog from a few years back...synchronistically titled This is not the Girl,  David Lynch versus Dennis Potter!

 

http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/002713.html#comments

 

The conclusion of which...I tend to agree with.

But in situating women as both dreamers and the dreamed, MD's examination of the desiring-trajectories of Hollywood’s factory of dreams, succeeded in a way that Blackeyes never did. 

 
4. Wednesday, October 27, 2010 1:43 PM
bluefrank RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Update!!! 

Just passing the time so I'd thought I'd do this!!!

It seems that in hindsight....I had partly forgotten the contribution of Mark Frost (particularly in respect of the writing) to the Twin Peaks franchise.  Apologies to Mr Frost!

 

You won't catch me making that mistake again...no Sir!!!

 

From a recent interview:

 

LWLies:

Twin Peaks is littered with red herrings – the one armed man, the fish in the coffee percolator. Was there a sense that you were teasing audiences with all these seemingly important subplots? Were they really just catalysts to allow your weird and wonderful characters to bounce off each other?

 

Frost:

I’d determined very early on from a writing standpoint that I wanted to have a lot of fun with layering the show. The most seminal work in my development as a writer was probably that of Dennis Potter, particularly The Singing Detective and Pennies From Heaven.

I thought that if you could put that kind of detail and that amount of layering into an ongoing show, not just a limited six- or seven-part series, then you might really have something interesting. There was definitely a conscious effort from day one to try to fill people’s minds with details, and the effect was staggering. I remember about halfway through the airing of the first season, someone came in and dumped on my desk maybe 500 pages of internet chatter about the show – and this was at a point where the internet was only just emerging as something people used for basic communication. But here were these entire forums dedicated to exploring just one aspect of plotting, something which had taken maybe 15 minutes to think up, yet was clearly sending people off on these scavenger hunts through all of popular culture. We discovered that if we put a lot of detail in, there were people that would pay attention and look beneath the surface of things in anticipation of some payoff at a later date. That was a revelation at the time, and it certainly made the show a lot of fun to work on.

 

http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/interviews/mark-frost/

 

Nice to see Mark...referencing one of his biggest writing influences.

 

Oh and did they get the idea for the 'redroom' doppelgangers misted/white eyes...from Potters 'scarecrow'...in TSD?

 

 

 


The Singing Detective also had its own Brothel/Whorehouse too...SkinSkapes (with its nautical theme) ala 'One Eyed Jacks'.

 

 

 



 

And last but not least...we have 'the body in the water'....a la 'Laura Palmer'.  Dare I say though...that the river in Twin Peaks is far more picturesque than the Thames & Hammersmith Bridge!

 

 

I also could've mentioned 'the woods'/'forest' of which, both feature heavily in each series...Potter & Lynch both share a love/fascination with 'the woods'.

 

 

Damn...if these aren't the greatest 2 pieces of television ever created!!!

Seemingly a few aspects that bare similarities/influence...but totally different shows!!!

 

Am I right, or am I right!!!?

 
5. Saturday, August 13, 2011 10:47 PM
My0wl RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Ha.....

I`d put my money on David now,I think...

is Dennis Potter still alive then ...or hass he died of cancer ?????


Myowl

 
6. Sunday, August 14, 2011 10:00 AM
My0wl RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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So has Dennis Potter died of cancer then ?????


Myowl

 
7. Monday, December 12, 2011 1:57 AM
My0wl RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Good fella... worked hard all his life.. died in agony of lung cancer...

(lol)

no... (he died of some cancer or another didn't he)

I liked Dennis Hopper in a film called 'Tracks' he's a soilder in it escorting a body across the country on a train... its just a 2 hour observation of people travelling across the country on a train with a little east background music thrown in... but I must of watched it 100's of times for some funny reason...

its just an easy one to watch I think when you can't be bothered to 'concentrate' on watching anything...

Well,my favourite Dennis Hopper film anyway !!!!!!


Myowl

 
8. Monday, December 12, 2011 2:00 AM
My0wl RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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oh,hang on a minute...Dennis Potter....(who the hells he)

never heared of him....I thought you meant Dennis Hopper !!!!


Myowl

 
9. Monday, December 12, 2011 3:51 AM
giospurs RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Thanks for the research bluefrank.

I will be sure to check out The Singing Detective.

 
10. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 1:19 AM
bluefrank RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Great...I managed to get at least one person interested.

Gonna miss you guys.

 
11. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:42 AM
Booth RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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This is what I thought after my first viewing (July 27, 2008)

QUOTE:

The Singing Detective

Probably one of if not the best television series in its conception. Unfortunately it isn't really interesting to look at, I'm not a fan of the Britain around WWII aesthetic or the music used. But the script is top notch.

quoted from the last movie thread.

 
12. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 2:08 PM
one suave folk RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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QUOTE:

Great...I managed to get at least one person interested.

Gonna miss you guys.

 Nice points, Frankie. I'll have to have a Potter Fest now. Dennis, not Henry!!! (or Dennis HOPPER)
 

 
13. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:23 PM
REBEL RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter

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Love The Singing Detective, worth to watch!!!! Not Starring Robert Downing, Michaell Gambon Is the one!!!!

 
14. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:28 PM
B RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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QUOTE: I'll have to have a Potter Fest now. Dennis, not Henry!!! (or Dennis HOPPER)

Henry Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life"? Or Harry Potter? Never saw "It's a Wonderful Life." I'm going to try to watch it this Christmas season.


-B
 
15. Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:27 PM
one suave folk RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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QUOTE: QUOTE: I'll have to have a Potter Fest now. Dennis, not Henry!!! (or Dennis HOPPER) Henry Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life"? Or Harry Potter? Never saw "It's a Wonderful Life." I'm going to try to watch it this Christmas season.

 Yes, B, IAWL!!! Pefect film. Watch it NOW.

 
16. Monday, December 26, 2011 9:34 AM
B RE: David Lynch Vs Dennis Potter


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Watched "It's A Wonderful Life" after Christmas dinner.  Very nice.


-B
 

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