The Letter "A"

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Alacrates
 
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The Letter "A"

Postby Alacrates » 04 Jan 2015

I'm not sure if this has been brought up on this forum, but I can't remember reading about it here before...

I rewatched MD last night for the first time in a while, and one little connection I hadn't noticed before: an oddly prominent letter "A" on the windshield of the car in the scene where Camilla has Diane stay on set where Adam is demonstrating to an actor how to kiss Camilla.

The other "A" I was aware of in the film was in the scene where Betty is leaving her audition with the red-haired agent on the way to Adam Kesher's set: the elevator they are waiting for is labeled "A".

It kind of drew a connection between these scenes for me, and raised a few others:

- the word "kill" is emphasized in both: the agent phrases her words oddly, "he's got a project you will kill." (instead of something like, "He's got a role you'd kill for!") Adam Kesher shouts, "Kill the lights!"

- the music in both is similar, "16 Reasons" and "Every Little Star" have the same sort of romantic, late '50s rock sound as the background music in the scene with the onlooking Diane (though in the 'dream' sequence the music is diagetic whereas it seems non-diagetic in the 'reality' scene.)

- both scenes involve film sets and period costume

It made me think that in some ways the "on set" scene in the 'dream' portion of the film is somehow Diane's reworking/reimagining of her experience in her real life "on set" scene.

Any ideas on this (or pointers to threads where this has been discussed before - I've been absent for some time!) Thx!

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby ctyankee » 05 Jan 2015

If you check out the web site there should be articles that cover both "A"s

The "A" by the elevator is part of a movie riddle (for lack of a better word" It's followed by a clock prop with an orange theme .... thus "A Clockwork Orange"

The "A" on the windshield of the car may just be an "A" on the car windshield. It is a legitimate decal that was used for gas rationing purposes during World War II.

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Alacrates
 
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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Alacrates » 06 Jan 2015

I was aware of the Kubrick puzzle, and I like that idea ~ Lynch and Kubrick are closely connected in my mind, and anything to bolster the connection is welcomed!

I wasn't aware of the gas rationing fact, that is very interesting - I guess you could only get gasoline on the days that were your letter was up?

I still think that both those could be true, and that these A's could serve as a thruway between the two scenes.

One thing that struck me, coming back to this film after a while away, was the impression that (not quite sure how to phrase this) that moments and atmospheres of the last act of the film echo through the "dream" portion, moreso than characters in the dream portion having any fixed correspondences. To make myself more clear, for instance, in the engagement party, the moment where Coco pats Diane's hand, followed by the exaggerated grins between Adam and Camilla are pretty clearly echoed in the taxi scene, where Irene pats the the elderly man's knee as they grin strange, eerie grin at one another. To me the moment seems to echo clearly, but the conncetions between Irene, the elderly man, Adam, Camilla, Coco and Adam's Mom are all tenuous.

Those two A's seem to bring up another echo I hadn't noticed: in the 'reality' on-set scene, Diane is off to the side, humiliated, heart-broken, and cast-off, whereas in the 'dream' on-set scene, Betty gets to be the breath-taking ingénue, who captivates the director & steals his attention away from the girl who fate seemed intent on having the central role.

(btw, I think this is how dreams actually work, generally - the mind creates scenarios in dreams which recreate 'feeling-tones' of situations that occured in waking life, particularly moments were we repress our reactions to what is occuring, feelings of anger, jealousy, resentment, etc. I think there are also visonary sort of dreams, much clearer & more rare, that express something deeper & lead us to new places, but that's another matter :) )

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Bob
 
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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Bob » 08 Jan 2015

Alacrates wrote:I guess you could only get gasoline on the days that were your letter was up?


Check out http://www.prewarbuick.com/features/you ... _a_war_now

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby outofthewoods » 08 Jan 2015

It made me think that in some ways the "on set" scene in the 'dream' portion of the film is somehow Diane's reworking/reimagining of her experience in her real life "on set" scene.

Indeed, that would fit with the common idea that the Winkie's scene with Diane and Joe, where Diane sees Dan, the creepy looking guy, standing "over there, by that counter," is what really happened, and the Winkies scenes during the dream are reworkings of that fateful, life-changing meeting. For me this has always been the strongest support for the dream->reality theory. That Winkies scene where Diane makes the hit contains all the elements that makeup the dream. We have the line "this is the girl." The photo resume of Camilla Rhodes, we have to purse filled with money, the blue key, the waitress nametag, Dan, etc. etc. and it's immediately followed by a POV shot that takes us to the man behind Winkies holding the blue box from which the old couple emerge. The old couple that we must remember are shown at the VERY beginning of the film along with Betty during the Jitterbug scene, and also welcome Betty into the City of Dreams.

I find the dream-> reality theory the most logical and intuitive one, but I'm also a very big fan of the dying dream/afterlife idea as well.

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Siku » 16 Jan 2015

Alacrates wrote:- the music in both is similar, "16 Reasons" and "Every Little Star" have the same sort of romantic, late '50s rock sound as the background music in the scene with the onlooking Diane (though in the 'dream' sequence the music is diagetic whereas it seems non-diagetic in the 'reality' scene.)

- both scenes involve film sets and period costume


16 Reasons, Every Little Star and the soundstage in the dream audition are 60s, it even says so in the pilot screenplay. The clothes and "A" rationing sticker definitely pin the 'reality' audition to the 40s. So an interesting case of the two scenes NOT matching, though I have no idea why.

This scatterbomb referencing of 20th century periods is interesting to me. The jitterbug is another example. There's a (more out there) theory that the story took place sometime in the past, Diane never killed herself and is now an old lady awash with memories and regrets, staring into her coffee in Winkies Diner.

ctyankee wrote:The "A" by the elevator is part of a movie riddle (for lack of a better word" It's followed by a clock prop with an orange theme .... thus "A Clockwork Orange"


I remain distinctly unconvinced by this. For one thing, we don't cut from the "A" outside the elevator straight to the clock. We cut to Carol and the clock is revealed as the camera dollys out. Secondly, the clock isn't orange, it's black and silver. There's orange in the set, along with pink, navy, baby blue and mint green. Pink and blue are vastly important symbols in MD, but orange not so much. Orange and pink IS a classic 60s colour combination, and the script calls for 60s. So I think it could just be a coincidence that we have the "A", the clock and the orange in close proximity.

Even more importantly, if there were a reference to A Clockwork Orange, then there must be a reason for it, a meaning, some connection to be made between Kubrick's film and this scene or moment. So what is the connection? To my knowledge no-one's ever come up with a suggestion for this. It's a long time since my single viewing of A Clockwork Orange, though I remember the story pretty well from tiresomely studying it at school; nothing springs to mind.

Any ideas very welcome as ever...

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Siku » 19 Jan 2015

Siku wrote:There's a (more out there) theory that the story took place sometime in the past, Diane never killed herself and is now an old lady awash with memories and regrets, staring into her coffee in Winkies Diner.


If anyone can find a link or ref to this I'd be very grateful. There's some discussion in this thread, but I'm sure I recall a full analysis with the story taking place in the golden age of Hollywood and Diane as an old lady. There was a connection with the old folks being Adam and Camilla, now also old and still laughing at Diane. Any of the regulars remember this? Bob or Blu?

In the meantime you might enjoy this similar theory from rougenoir.

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby blu » 16 Jun 2015

Siku wrote:
ctyankee wrote:The "A" by the elevator is part of a movie riddle (for lack of a better word" It's followed by a clock prop with an orange theme .... thus "A Clockwork Orange"


I remain distinctly unconvinced by this. For one thing, we don't cut from the "A" outside the elevator straight to the clock. We cut to Carol and the clock is revealed as the camera dollys out. Secondly, the clock isn't orange, it's black and silver. There's orange in the set, along with pink, navy, baby blue and mint green. Pink and blue are vastly important symbols in MD, but orange not so much. Orange and pink IS a classic 60s colour combination, and the script calls for 60s. So I think it could just be a coincidence that we have the "A", the clock and the orange in close proximity.

Even more importantly, if there were a reference to A Clockwork Orange, then there must be a reason for it, a meaning, some connection to be made between Kubrick's film and this scene or moment. So what is the connection? To my knowledge no-one's ever come up with a suggestion for this. It's a long time since my single viewing of A Clockwork Orange, though I remember the story pretty well from tiresomely studying it at school; nothing springs to mind.

Any ideas very welcome as ever...

Siku, old friend, hello pal.

No, quite right. We don't cut from the A directly to the clock, we cut directly from the A to a giant orange C. And then we slowly drift out and see the O of the clock.

A C O

And a clock that seems to be saying it's 5.45ish and that doesn't make sense

And the massive C is orange

A Clockwork Orange

17-06-2015 00-00-13.jpg

Could attempt to spin some bullshit around the infamous rape scene in ACO and try to link it to past theories that Diane was a rape victim, or ask "what is a Clockwork Orange?" and try to paint a picture where everything looks wonderful and peachy and natural on the outside but the inside is very different, but let's not kid ourselves that every single film David Lynch references in MD necessarily has thematic relevance. Look at some of the films we have discussed in the past as possible references in MD, and more widely in his other films. Some of it is just David being cute and playful and giving a nod. e.g. He references Mary Poppins in Blue Velvet. Explain the thematic relevance there.

;-)

A reference can be a reference without necessarily having a connection. But the reference is usually the first clue to a connection, even if some of them are dead ends/red herrings.

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Siku
 
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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Siku » 17 Jun 2015

blu wrote:Siku, old friend, hello pal.

Hey blu, good to have you back! Just as things start to liven up a bit after a very quiet spell, AND MD comes back to the London big screen. Very timely :up:

blu wrote:We don't cut from the A directly to the clock, we cut directly from the A to a giant orange C. And then we slowly drift out and see the O of the clock.

Ok, so I’ll bite and agree that the orange thing is a “C”, and the clock is an “O”. So, with A-C-O and a clock and some orange, that’s passed my coincidence horizon.

blu wrote:...a clock that seems to be saying it's 5.45ish and that doesn't make sense

Huh? What you thinking?

As to the meaning of the reference, Carol looks pretty fresh and alive, but she’s miming to a tape (it’s all an illusion). And Peachy Betty? Well what’s on the outside and what’s on the inside, Diane, are definitely at odds.

Here's Anthony Burgess from the introduction to the '86 publication of ACO:
"…a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State. It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice.

Clockwork oranges don’t exist, except in the speech of old Londoners. The image is a bizarre one, always used for a bizarre thing. “He’s as queer as a clockwork orange” meant he was queer to the limit of queerness. Europeans who translated the title as Arancia a Orologeria or Orange Mécanique could not understand its Cockney resonance and they assumed that it meant a hand grenade, a cheaper kind of explosive pineapple. I mean it to stand for the application of a mechanistic morality to a living organism oozing with juice and sweetness.
"

blu wrote:Some of it is just David being cute and playful and giving a nod. e.g. He references Mary Poppins in Blue Velvet.

Mary Poppins indeed? Do tell!

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby blu » 18 Jun 2015

Got out of the habit of checking in, but going to get it back in my daily routine as far as possible.

The time on the clock makes no sense so it's not working properly. I guess that's the weakest bit of evidence.

As for Mary Poppins and Blue Velvet. Clockwork Robins.

:holmes:

Image

Image

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Re: The Letter "A"

Postby Oldgoldtop » 25 Feb 2016

siku wrote:
"Here's Anthony Burgess from the introduction to the '86 publication of ACO:
"…a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State. It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice."


Wow very good! Very much relates to a powerful theme within this film for me! Thanks!
"A man's attitude determines to a large extent how his life will be."


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