British Film
David Lynch
The Films of David Lynch: 50 Percent Sound
David Lynch
David Lynch: Fire Walk With Me

The Films of David Lynch

Authorship and the
Films of David Lynch
Chapter 1: Eraserhead
Chapter 2: Elephant Man/Dune
Chapter 3: Blue Velvet
Chapter 4: Wild At Heart
Matt Pearson 1997

50 Percent Sound
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Philip Halsall 2002


David Lynch


From Eraserhead to Mulholland Drive I have been able to explore and discover various elements that contribute to the overall audio-visual experience of Lynch's films. Throughout my research it has become more and more obvious that Lynch's various uses of sounds has given his films an added dimension, a dimension that reinforces the on-screen imagery, but at the same time creates a new depth that visual imagery cannot achieve. In addition to this Lynch has enhanced the audience's filmic experience through his carefully chosen soundtracks that have become synonymous with his films.

Throughout each chapter my research has led me to analyse Lynch's appropriation and subversion of sound in his films. Subversion of dialogue, prolonged use of silence and over-exaggerated background noises can appear to be out of context within his films, but they are an integral part of a network that enhances the audience's experience. By shifting the audience's focus between what they are watching and what they are hearing, Lynch has been able to create films that challenge the viewer. On one level simple entertainment can be achieved by merely watching Lynch's films as one would a Hollywood blockbuster. But on the other hand one can marvel at the intricacies and hidden depths that he has created through his subversion and exaggeration of sound in relation to the on-screen imagery.

Music, singing, speaking and abstract noises all congregate on and off screen in order to create a foundation that Lynch can use to strengthen the plot and atmosphere within his films. Apparent abstraction leads to knowledge via the use of particular sounds, or the effect can be reversed, in that meanings can be twisted or distorted through the use of sounds. Sound plays off image, image plays off sound, but somehow they join to bring a depth of beauty and intrigue to Lynch's films that are seldom seen in other directors' works. Lynch adopts sound as an unseen character intrinsic to the plot, an invisible narrator who creates confusion as much as they elucidate within the context of his films.

It is safe to say that Lynch has helped to define the role of sound and music within contemporary filmmaking. His development of ideas and ability to create unique examples of sound design has become his trademark when making films. Throughout my investigation I have come to understand that Lynch's unfailing desire for rich audio-visual filmic feasts has allowed for some of the most sonically engaging films ever to come alive. Whether they are critically or commercially successful is of little importance. What is important is that Lynch's films are noted for their unique approach to the role of sound and music in relation to what the audience experiences visually and sonically.