It is time, I thought to myself just a couple weeks ago; time, I thought, to watch Twin Peaks again. How I had missed Leland Palmer’s crazed dancing/crying jags, Agent Cooper’s straight-shooting cornball savvy, Audrey Horne’s tongue-in-cheek slinkiness, and the absolute nightmare of Bob. How I had especially missed the haunting score of Angelo Badalamenti and the ethereal interludes of Julee Cruise. Immersed now in the second season, I already mourn the premature end. But you can imagine my delight when I discovered the film above, a Lynch musical play scored by Badalamenti and showcasing the otherworldly voice of Cruise, who appears as “The Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman.” Cast as the actual heartbroken woman is Lynch stalwart Laura Dern, whose heart is broken over the phone by then-young-heartbreaker Nicolas Cage. Rounding out the cast is another familiar face, Michael J. Anderson—Twin Peaks’ “Little Man From Another Place”—appearing here as “Woodsman/Twin A.” Logs are sawn, neon signs flicker, dancers writhe, and Badalamenti’s twisted cool jazz lulls us into bizarre Lynchian neo-noir terrain.
Created as a live show during the filming of Wild at Heart, the play, Industrial Symphony No. 1: Dream of the Broken Hearted, made its on-stage debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1989. The filmed version above appeared in 1990, the same year Twin Peaks came to television. Much of the music, in fact, came directly from Badalamenti’s score for the upcoming series. Lynch, who wrote the lyrics for the ten Cruise songs, described the piece as “one great big, long mood”—an appropriate way, really, to characterize his entire body of work. “There isn’t much point in trying to decrypt its symbolism,” writes High-Def Digest. It’s “mostly a hodgepodge of images and motifs from the director’s earlier works. What little semblance of narrative construct it has is delivered in a video prologue starring Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage, obviously reprising their ‘Wild at Heart’ characters.” The title “Industrial Symphony” comes from a series of mosaic collages Lynch made while a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the piece has the feel of a mosaic of Lynchian elements coming together as mostly incoherent performance art. Some viewers may find the almost total lack of narrative sense off-putting, but this is “a must for fans of Cruise,” who delivers some powerfully affecting performances.