Lost in the Movies: Sunset Boulevard as TWIN PEAKS CINEMA #8 (podcast)

Sunset Boulevard as TWIN PEAKS CINEMA #8 (podcast)

"Get Gordon Cole." With that line, Sunset Boulevard solidifies its place not just as one of those films indirectly referenced by Twin Peaks, but as a direct presence inside the work itself. This is the perfect subject to wrap my "What's in a name?" trilogy with Laura and Vertigo. An FBI director named Gordon Cole is played by Lynch himself for three seasons, and Norma Desmond, like Laura's Waldo Lydecker, lends her name to two characters (at least one of whom I'm not sure I even mention in the podcast, given the density of other connections). Initially just a cheeky, trivial nod in early seasons, season three makes this throwaway line a critical onscreen plot point by using it as a trigger for Cooper to awaken from his "Dougie" state. In the process he nearly ends up like Sunset Boulevard's protagonist Joe Gillis (William Holden), a screenwriter who introduces himself to us when he's already dead - although given Joe's watery resting place he may have a closer link to Laura Palmer. Billy Wilder's 1950 classic, the ultimate Hollywood self-portrait, is in many ways quite far from Twin Peaks' texture and locale...if not so much that of certain other Lynch films. However, its central conceit - silent star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) locked away on her overgrown estate, refusing to believe the world has moved on without her - ripples out into many corners of Twin Peaks both onscreen and off, embracing the older Audrey's domestic entrapment, Cooper's quasi-quixotic self-conception(s), and even David Lynch himself as the auteur lost in his own dream world, frequently forced to pay a price for this immersion.

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