FWWM The Missing Pieces

Dom

White Lodge
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This brings to mind the old dugpa discussion about "Lynch fans" and "Peaks fans." (I can't recall if this particular discussion pre-dated The Return, or if it arose as the show was airing...although my suspicion is that it originated during the pre-Return build-up.) It's not that Lynch fans don't love TP, or that Peaks fans don't appreciate and love Lynch's other works, but it's just a fundamentally different approach to the work. Peaks fans have a much more nostalgic love for the original series and its ambiance (which makes sense and is totally reasonable). Lynch fans just want to see what insane, new, maddening, challenging, interesting thing is going to spring out of Lynch's head next and burrow its way into our collective psyches. Both are legit views, and neither is right or wrong. Different strokes. I honestly think that back in 2016 dugpa days, the board was pretty evenly divided between the two camps. Certainly, that "pure heroin" comment from Nevins drew a lot of cheers at the time.
Yeah. I'm a Twin Peaks fan, primarily, who loves quite a bit of David Lynch's other work. I love Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart and Lost Highway. I didn't care for Eraserhead, Mulholland Dr or Inland Empire. I thought FWWM was a brilliant synthesis of television Twin Peaks and 'movie David Lynch', although I remember a lot of Twin Peaks fans didn't like FWWM back in the day either. My Mum hated the film.

Perhaps proving how much I sit on the line between the two camps, I think my favourite Twin Peaks 'instalment' is FWWM and it's also my favourite David Lynch film. I've watched FWWM more than any Twin Peaks episode and more than any other David Lynch film. I find the film hypnotic: if I randomly put it in the player and start to watch it, I know I'll watch it through to the end every time, even if I have to cancel something more important I'm supposed to do! I saw it in the cinema the day it was released in the UK, owned the crappy Guild VHS, multiple DVDs, saw a horribly battered print at the BFI some years ago, and three different Blu-ray releases (I now have the Criterion).

The Missing Pieces is a terrific extra I'd longed to see. It's a shame they've been 'Lowry-ed' to death and look more like video than film - somewhat more like The Return. It's quite a shock when you put them on after the gorgeously filmic Criterion presentation of the main feature.

But 'video' Twin Peaks is something I accept now and, if Lynch uses it for a fourth season, so be it. If it's set in another reality, it's an easier sale for me than setting it in the original version of the town. Of course, it would be funny if Michael Ontkean turned up this time! ;)
 
The Missing Pieces is a terrific extra I'd longed to see. It's a shame they've been 'Lowry-ed' to death and look more like video than film - somewhat more like The Return.

?? Can you explain what you mean? The Missing Pieces look beautiful to me.

I can't believe there's a Lynch fan who dislikes Mulholland Drive. Wow.
 
?? Can you explain what you mean? The Missing Pieces look beautiful to me.
The Missing Pieces have been significantly noise-reduced and smoothed. If you compare them with the main feature, they lack any significant grain and have almost a video sheen. The grading is wildly different. They look very nice, but nothing like the actual film. If you ripped them and slotted the pieces into a rip the main feature, you'd have to do a lot of work to match them up. I will say that's my experience of the UK Criterion disc. I can't remember what they looked like in the old Complete Mystery Blu-ray set. I got rid of that set because of the dreadful audio sync issues. Even turning off 24p didn't help much. I remember The Missing Pieces had horrible sync on that set.

I can't believe there's a Lynch fan who dislikes Mulholland Drive. Wow.
There you go! You've met one! :D For me, upon watching it first time in the mid 2000s, it was 90 minutes of a rather mean-spirited TV pilot, with 45 minutes of weird bollocks shoved on the end. Fascinating weird bollocks, for sure - no one does watchable weird bollocks better than David Lynch! Good performances, interesting ideas, terrific moments and I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the TV show, had it been made. But the final film, as a whole, just doesn't click with me. It's not one I'd rush to watch more than once or twice. Then again, a couple of my friends adore Mulholland Dr and detest Lost Highway - one even got quite stroppy when I said I like Lost Highway better and he couldn't get me to change my mind - so these things are obviously subjective. Who knows? Maybe I'll look at Mulholland Dr again sometime and like it! It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. I didn't like either version of Suspiria when I watched them first time in their respective eras and now I love both of them!
 
There you go! You've met one! :D For me, upon watching it first time in the mid 2000s, it was 90 minutes of a rather mean-spirited TV pilot, with 45 minutes of weird bollocks shoved on the end. Fascinating weird bollocks, for sure - no one does watchable weird bollocks better than David Lynch! Good performances, interesting ideas, terrific moments and I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the TV show, had it been made. But the final film, as a whole, just doesn't click with me. It's not one I'd rush to watch more than once or twice. Then again, a couple of my friends adore Mulholland Dr and detest Lost Highway - one even got quite stroppy when I said I like Lost Highway better and he couldn't get me to change my mind - so these things are obviously subjective. Who knows? Maybe I'll look at Mulholland Dr again sometime and like it! It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. I didn't like either version of Suspiria when I watched them first time in their respective eras and now I love both of them!

I urge you to watch it again. While you're at it, please enjoy my favorite essay about it by Chris Stangl, that I really appreciate:


I'll quote it here for convenience:

The second film director we meet in Mulholland Dr., Wayne Grace (who yes, also shared an X-Files with Michael J. Anderson) as Bob Brooker, instructs Betty Elms during an audition. Established as an industry joke on the downward slope of his career arc, Brooker’s prompting is vague and emphatic (and, reportedly, not unlike the direction David Lynch gives actors). Naomi Watts as Betty pulls an indescribable expression that indicates this is a comic beat about the inscrutable techniques of pretentious directors. But it is the secret that explains Mulholland Dr.:

“It’s not a contest. The two of them, with themselves. Don’t play it for real until it gets real.”

David Lynch produces at least one era-defining/defying/best film per decade, triumphs of personal vision made in the margins of the industry production machine, previously unclassified film creatures which appear as singular anomalies and proceed to disrupt the cinema ecosystem for years after. The pervasive legacy and influence begins with Eraserhead in the late ‘70s, continues through Blue Velvet in the ‘80s, Twin Peaks in the ‘90s (and, less adored but just as seminal, Wild at Heart... can one imagine Kalifornia, True Romance, Natural Born Killers without Wild at Heart?). The Designated Lynch Classic of the ‘00s is Mulholland Dr., the single goddamnedest thing ever to earn its filmmaker an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.

The many entranced by Mulholland Dr. found that the spell lasts long after the final reel. Indeed, the hypnotism virtually begins with Betty Elms’ arrival at LAX, as she steps out of the terminal and soaks up her first rays of Southern California’s peculiar, brilliant sunshine. David Lynch has related a telling anecdote of being a new resident of the city, similarly enthralled by the unreal clarity of Los Angeles’ white gold light, its blasting, color-enhancing quality a beautiful-eerie contrast to the choked grime of Philadelphia. No, with this film that introduces its lead with a burst of sun, stepping out of the theater into the light (sunlight, marquee glow or street lights) does not dissipate the mystery.

For lovers of mystery, the problem with detective fiction is that it does not love mysteries back. It seeks to obliterate mystery; its pleasures are in rendering secrets legible. The sad fact with mystery stories is that they end with no mystery left. Lynch has gradually developed solutions to this conundrum, stories that preserve the pleasures of mystery itself while retaining basic of the shape of rational detective fiction. The feat is greater than simply paying off whodunits without reducing a film to an equation or riddle. The situation is not unlike Lynch’s entire relationship with narrative cinema itself. Narrative trades in the articulated, while Lynch comes to film as an abstract expressionist, mistrustful of over-articulation.

Many admirers of Mulholland Dr. spent 2001 making notes and timelines, sorting clues and developing elaborate theories, seeking to sort the chronology, explain the symbols and solve the mysteries of the film. The quest that fuels its first two acts, as we follow Betty and her amnesiac houseguest Rita as they try to track Rita’s identity, is derailed when the women find a dead body, attend a show at Club Silencio and promptly disappear, leaving behind a mysterious blue box. The game becomes something else, the locating of connections between the story up to this point and the third act, where names, personalities, relationships and circumstances have scrambled. Prevalent theories, in descending order of popularity — sadly, not necessarily in increasing order of outlandishness — include explaining the split between the Betty and Rita Mystery Solvers! section and that in which the leads have transmuted into Diane and Camilla as dream, psychotic delusion, masturbatory fantasy, deathbed reverie, fugue state, repressed memory of sexual abuse or parallel dimensions.

The film encourages these approaches with one beckoning finger, and bats them back with a flyswatter with the other hand. Mulholland Dr. is a rich environment in which to play games, but single-minded clue-sorting theories are literalist and reductive. Too many readings seek to iron out the curves and illuminate the shadows of Mulholland Dr., but even a literalist approach requires the puzzle-solver to evaluate what the film is about, to read it on multiple levels. Conversely, to read the film is to begin positing a theory of its narrative.

Listening to someone else’s Mulholland Dr. theory is like hearing a recounting of their dreams. Fascinating to the dreamer, and no one else really needs to hear it but a therapist. It is also a non sequitur to say it is “wrong.” And though Betty and Diane’s stories call and echo to one another through the blue box (“one chants out between two worlds...”), and signs and signals both underlined and parenthetical fly through the frame, when Diane has her coffee refilled by a waitress whose nametag reads “Betty,” (and here is the secret that explains Mulholland Dr.), no one needs to grope in the dark for meaning and clarity. The sensation of spooky, electric frisson flows directly out of Betty’s nametag and into the theatre.

Like a birdwatcher’s diary, the Mulholland Dr. theorist’s list of clues spotted and jotted is just a record. Besides imposing data that is not there onto the lopsided halves of the narrative, these threads are not knitted up into a holistic view of the film. In a film very much about the dark dazzle of the film image, to say Betty’s story is Diane’s dream, full stop, quite misses that Diane’s reality is no realer than Betty’s or Henry Spencer’s, Norma Desmond’s or Cruella DeVille’s. They dream each other. If Special Agent Dale Cooper famously woke from a dream to declare “my dream is a code: crack the code, solve the crime,” he eventually learns that the dream was something far more. In forwards-backwards-simultaneous time, the wised-up Agent Jeffries would mutter in Fire Walk With Me: “We live inside a dream.” It’s not a contest. The two of them, with themselves.

Betty and Diane do not live in Twin Peaks, they live in Los Angeles. Most often understood as a fable of a would-be starlet’s Hollywood dreams shattered by grim reality, Mulholland Dr. is certainly a bitterly funny portrait of the film industry as Kafka nightmare-fable, but it is not so one-sided nor so acrimonious about the artform itself. At Club Silencio, the emcee tells the audience that though we hear a band, there is no band. Rebekah Del Rio performs a captivating rendition of a Roy Orbison number, and collapses midway as the singing continues, revealing: No hay banda. There is no band. Why should we be surprised or awed, when we have just been told, no hay banda? Why, when standard film production reality is that musical numbers are customarily lipsynched? Was it any less involving a performance? Coming shortly before the film’s splashiest narrative fracture, this is the secret that explains Mulholland Dr.

“Hollywood” is vernacular for the American entertainment industry, and talismanic shorthand for the dream of studio system era Movie Stardom, the whole of the art, business and legend in one monolithic word, as if Hollywood were a single organization, collective mind, and symbol at once. But Hollywood is really a place, and you can go there — live there, even— and discover how strange it is, how wrong it feels, to actually walk on Hollywood Blvd. A clogged-by-day, abandoned-by-night tourist attraction with no attractions, the street is composed of approximately 300 tattoo parlors, smoking paraphernalia shops and stores that sell platform shoes to sex industry workers. The majority of the real, literal, physical Hollywood is a collection of neighborhoods where people walk dogs and eat fish tacos and sit in traffic. That big white sign is a leftover advertisement for a housing development.

There are still post-production houses, DVD mastering companies and film equipment and prop rental houses in the neighborhood. The Paramount backlot is the only remaining major studio production facility in the area (unless, as district zoning would have it, one includes Universal City, which makes no sense). There are television soundstages and landmark movie theatres, none of which do or “mean” what they did when Hollywood was “Hollywood.” It is not accurate to say that Hollywood does not make movies, but neither is it proper to imply that it produces a majority of what we casually designate “Hollywood” product. “Hollywood” is not in Hollywood.

Mulholland Dr. is about both of those Hollywoods. One of those Hollywoods does not exist anywhere. That doesn’t make it less real.

Here is the secret that explains Mulholland Dr.: it is very much like the experience of driving Mulholland Drive at night. The meandering road looks a little wiggly but more-or-less straight on a map, and connects two stretches of US 101 (which, confusingly, shifts alignment and starts running east-west just to be contrary). Mulholland twists up through the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains, providing a spectacular Olympian view of both L.A. proper and the Valley, the city glowing below like a gilded lava spill. The road runs along a precipitous drop, occasionally shielded by scrape-covered guardrails. It is so wracked with tight turns and blessed with so few streetlights that one can inch along for an hour and barely get anywhere. Meanwhile, traffic is thin, but residents familiar with the curves will rush by at terrorizing, reckless speed. By night, Mulholland Drive is dark, it is dangerous, and it is extremely pretty.
 
?? Can you explain what you mean? The Missing Pieces look beautiful to me.
Same here, Jordan. It seems like quite an exaggeration to claim that The Missing Pieces look more like The Return than Fire Walk With Me.

For the record, Dom, I do not believe they were altered for the Criterion disc from their original appearance in the boxset.

I may be misremembering this, but wasn't it The Missing Pieces that caused Lynch to fall in love with celluloid again? I understand the remastering process they underwent and how things can sometimes go wrong-ish in the digital age, but they still look more or less in line with Fire Walk With Me to me. At least to the point that I've never thought twice about their appearance, throughout half a dozen viewings, always right after viewing the film.

Also, Jordan, I know of at least a couple other posters here who count Mulholland Drive among their least favorite Lynch films.
 
Same here, Jordan. It seems like quite an exaggeration to claim that The Missing Pieces look more like The Return than Fire Walk With Me.

For the record, Dom, I do not believe they were altered for the Criterion disc from their original appearance in the boxset.
Hmm... Interesting. They look very different on my disc. I'm not saying they were 'altered': that's highly improbable. They look similar to films that have had the Lowry process done on them, but I'm wondering if there's an encoding issue. Are we all talking specifically about the UK Criterion edition here, to be clear, because that's the one I'm talking about? I'll take another look - unnecessary, since I've spent years doing QC work and I know I'm not imagining it! ;) - but the look of The Missing Pieces actually surprised me after watching the film because they were so different.

I may be misremembering this, but wasn't it The Missing Pieces that caused Lynch to fall in love with celluloid again? I understand the remastering process they underwent and how things can sometimes go wrong-ish in the digital age, but they still look more or less in line with Fire Walk With Me to me. At least to the point that I've never thought twice about their appearance, throughout half a dozen viewings, always right after viewing the film.
So, like I say, possibly encoding on the UK disc (speaking of which, it's 2am here so I need to get some sleep!! :D)

Also, Jordan, I know of at least a couple other posters here who count Mulholland Drive among their least favorite Lynch films.
Yeah, I wanted to like it. I was really looking forward to seeing it. I was really disappointed. Watched it more than once. I like bits of it, hate others. The film, as a whole, failed to gel for me.
 
Ok, this is weird. I just did a quick comparison of FWWM to TMP, particularly focusing on scenes that occur in both. If anything, TMP has MORE grain than the main film. (I looked at both the US disc included with The Entire Mystery and ‘From Z to A,’ as well as the US Criterion release.)
 
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Ok, this is weird. I just did a quick comparison of FWWM to TMP, particularly focusing on scenes that occur in both. If anything, TMP has MORE grain than the main film. (I looked at both the US disc included with The Entire Mystery and ‘From Z to A,’ as well as the US Criterion release).
I'll take a look over the weekend. Does sound odd. Have to get some sleep now! Night all! :)
 
As someone who is considering investing in the Criterion FWWM (I already own The Complete Mystery and am also getting fed up with the sound issues) I would be happy to know if the encoding is different in the UK version.

Besides potential color grade and encoding issues with TMP I did find that the choices to use InlandEmpire type effects and cutting pulled me out of the film due to how it clashes with the style of everything else - fx in the extended scene of BoB trying to possess Laura (The "I want to taste through your mouth..." scene). I understand that it is tempting to use those tools, especially if you are essentially working with scraps of film, but even so I think more emphasis could have been put to make every effect look a bit more 1992. However, I don't recall that thinking that the general look of TMP in Complete Mystery was world's apart from the film itself.
 
I could be mistaken but didn’t Lynch edit together TMP for the DVD of FWWM before legal issues got in the way? If so it would’ve been in an era of mastering in 1080p vs the 2K/4K standard by 2014(before anyone says anything, I know DVDs aren’t in 1080p, just talking about mastering). If that’s the case I could imagine it would probably have been easier and cheaper to just polish up the old assembly instead of completely starting from scratch again.

Also, as far as the new effects not being true to the era, almost every Lynch film with released deleted scenes has been presented as almost a whole new project. More Things That Happened (IE), The Missing Pieces, The Lost Footage (BV), and Wild at Heart’s Deleted scenes have all been created as their own films in a way to compliment the film they’re salvaged from. Often with opening and closing credits instead of being stuck onto a DVD menu and unpolished. Even WAH (only from a VHS copy of a work print) has been given a completely reworked sound mix). And at the end of the day Lynch isn’t an archivist he’s an artist and when you consider these deleted scenes being created in the days closer to when his website was up and running and digital editing was a fascinating tool for him, I don’t think it’s surprising he’d just prefer to experiment. And I’ll just say it right out, Laura’s smile under the fan is one of my favorite images in all of TP and it wouldn’t be possible without digital tools.
 
It could be that The Missing Pieces was a 2K scan and finished in 2k and the film was a 4K scan. That could make a difference. I know there was supposed to be a 4K FWWM release, but supposedly there's an issue with the digital master - file corruption or something. It can happen unfortunately. Synapse's Suspiria was delayed for that very reason a few years ago!
 
It could be that The Missing Pieces was a 2K scan and finished in 2k and the film was a 4K scan. That could make a difference.
I think you may have hit the nail on the head here. Looking at TMP with my eyeballs less than an inch from the screen, there is more grain than the main film, but the grain looks more compressed (more like a DVD). You'd know better than I, but perhaps the cause is as you say that it was mastered in 2K?

In terms of what Sparky said in the other post (about Lynch starting on the deleted scenes years earlier), I'm not sure. I know there was talk of him putting them together for the 2002 New Line DVD release, and due to rights issues that never came to be. But I'm not sure whether or not he actually did any work on them at the time before the endeavor got shut down. It's certainly possible, though.

I agree with Sparky about the digitally-altered Laura/Bob scene, it's so creepy and cool. And there is some precedent for this type of thing in the 1990s anyway: the Josie drawer-pull CGI in Episode 23, and also the weird psychedelic Bob shot that aired outside the US in Episode 8 (as pointed out by eyeboogers a few weeks ago).
 
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FWWM 1.pngTMP 1.pngFWWM 2A.pngTMP 2.pngFWWM 3.pngTMP 3.pngFWWM 4A.pngTMP 4.png
From the UK Criterion Blu-ray. Top is FWWM and bottom is TMP. Sorry if I've done this wrong: I've never used the photo function before. TMP has a more 'television' look, I guess. There's less contrast, less dynamic range in the image, the grain field is more chunky. The motion, which I can't show here, is more digital and processed looking than the film. FWWM looks gorgeous and very filmic. TMP would be lovely on a TV show Blu-ray, but obviously pales in comparison to the look of the movie.
 
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From the UK Criterion Blu-ray. Top is FWWM and bottom is TMP. Sorry if I've done this wrong: I've never used the photo function before. TMP has a more 'television' look, I guess. There's less contrast, the grain field is more chunky.
Probably because (I would assume) FWWM’s color timing was done chemically and TMP’s would have been done digitally from the camera negative. I don’t have my disc on hand but the Criterion edition will go at length on the remastering process. My guess is it’s a 4K scan from a print and not the camera negative.
 
Probably because (I would assume) FWWM’s color timing was done chemically and TMP’s would have been done digitally from the camera negative. I don’t have my disc on hand but the Criterion edition will go at length on the remastering process. My guess is it’s a 4K scan from a print and not the camera negative.
FWWM was digitally scanned from the negative and would thus have been regraded from scratch. It was finished in 4K. No indication of the source for TMP, but I suspect it was a 2K scan. The Jefferies scene really shows the difference.
 
I agree with Sparky about the digitally-altered Laura/Bob scene, it's so creepy and cool. And there is some precedent for this type of thing in the 1990s anyway: the Josie drawer-pull CGI in Episode 23, and also the weird psychedelic Bob shot that aired outside the US in Episode 8 (as pointed out by eyeboogers a few weeks ago).
Interesting. I didn't know the smile scene was digitally altered. It's my favourite missing piece. It's supremely creepy, followed by a silly moment with Sarah, that then pays double creepy dividends when Sarah start's sobbing and says 'It's happening again! It's happening again!' which ties into Maddie's murder!

My God! Watching that scene again on YouTube just now underlines whyI love FWWM so much. I've said it before: I think it represents possibly the best transition of any TV show into cinema. Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director's Edition is possibly the only other (TWOK is great, but it's a big budget expanded TV episode, while The Motion Picture is pure cinematic spectacle.) The original Dark Shadows movies were interesting too, I guess, but as a rule, TV shows that go into the cinema struggle to shake off their television series origins.
 
I didn't know the smile was FX either...

I've actually always thought TMP looked more "television" too, and looking at the comparisons I do think the difference is largely visual, but I also attribute it to the fact that TMP favored takes of wide shots that had a feel reminescent of the series.
 
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From the UK Criterion Blu-ray. Top is FWWM and bottom is TMP. Sorry if I've done this wrong: I've never used the photo function before. TMP has a more 'television' look, I guess. There's less contrast, less dynamic range in the image, the grain field is more chunky. The motion, which I can't show here, is more digital and processed looking than the film. FWWM looks gorgeous and very filmic. TMP would be lovely on a TV show Blu-ray, but obviously pales in comparison to the look of the movie.
Ok, I see what you're talking about, particularly in the scene with Jack at Hap's; it seems like a matter of a different choice in color timing. Although on my disc, the Missing Pieces version doesn't look as "yellow" as it does in your screenshot of Jack, there is a difference. I think your choice of screengrabs for the Laura/fan scene isn't great, because the FWWM one is from a shot where the light is blowing out the image, whereas the Missing Pieces one is from a shot where there's normal room lighting, so the two can't really be compared...they're just different moments from within the same scene where the lighting is fluctuating radically. I agree that the grain field in TMP is "more chunky," as I had essentially noted in a previous post...it looks more pixelated, more like a DVD. As you speculated previously, I wonder if this was because it was mastered at a lower resolution, or possibly even that TMP was just allotted less space on the disc than the main feature.
 
I didn't know the smile was FX either...

I've actually always thought TMP looked more "television" too, and looking at the comparisons I do think the difference is largely visual, but I also attribute it to the fact that TMP favored takes of wide shots that had a feel reminescent of the series.
The wide shots and the long lingering pauses between dialogue are what make me most think of The Return, and of Lynch amping up to that style, moreso than anything about the visual look of TMP. In other words, the way TMP most evokes The Return for me is in the editing.
 
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