etc... | Mulholland Drive (2001) - my notes



Written by and updated by: Chuck Miller on September 14, 2013



I collected all this information from other sites. So, I don't take credit for all the notes. I organized it to contrast reality with the dream.






Diane Selwyn

Won a jitterbug contest that to lead interest in acting

Aspiring actress (but may not be very good)

Hollywood aunt died and left her $50,000

Lives at apt #17 2590 Sierra Bonita

Possibly a prostitute and or drug addicted?

Loved Camilla so much she wanted to be with her in death too?

May have been a waitress at Winkie's




Betty - waitress at Winkie's

Doppelganger for Diane

Diane used waitresses name (Betty) for her character in the dream






Betty Elms

Diane Selwyn's fantasy/idealized self

Lives in Aunt Ruth's apartment 1612 Havenhurst

Perky, confident, pretty and a great actress

Clothes don’t quite fit her right (a little too small)

Wears subdued, pale (pink) muted colors

Has a sexual relationship with Rita

Protagonist of the dream

Disappears just before Rita uses the key to open the blue box



Diane - waitress at Winkie's 

Doppelganger for Diane

Rita saw the name Diane (thinking it was her name) in the dream




Doppelganger for Diane


Not pretty or smart

Diane’s negative projection of herself. Maybe Diane was a prostitute too.

Gets into a blue van after conversation with Joe the hit man



Lorraine Kesher

Doppelganger for Diane

Adam's cheating wife  

Is mad at Adam for getting caught cheating on him 



Reality Dream


Camilla Rhodes

Brunette Camilla Rhodes in real life

Femme fatale

Glamorous movie star

Wears red and black

Engaged to director Adam Kesher

She really got the lead role in "The Sylvia North Story"

Gets the lead roles in films, but helps Diane get small roles

May be a good actress

Protagonist of the movie in reality?

Seems confident and content






Blonde Camilla Rhodes

The woman who kissed Camilla at Adam’s party

Makes Diane jealous













Diane’s real lover?

Looks like brunette Camilla

Lives at apt #12 2590 Sierra Bonita

Was Diane's roommate but moved out

Mostly unchanged from dream & reality

Somewhat manly looking




Brunette Camilla in Diane’s dream

Before the accident she was appears annoyed and pompous

After the accident she tumbles and is meek and somewhat demure

She's a blank slate for Diane to project onto because of amnesia

Takes her identity from Rita (Hayworth) "Gilda"  from a movie poster

Glinda is the name of the good witch in The Wizard of Oz

Survived a car accident (emotionally tragic event)

Diane's idealized lover

Wears red and black

May also represent Diane’s subconscious?

We see her sleep multiple times in the movie



Blonde Camilla Rhodes

Blonde Camilla in the photo resume handed to Adam at the meeting

“This is the girl”

Got the lead role in "The Sylvia North Story", but not because of talent

Represents Adam's humiliation by Hollywood executives

Wears pearl ear rings and pink clothes




Receives a phone call she can't miss

Seems irritated




Good singer auditioning for role in “The Sylvia North Story”

Pressures Adam for the lead role, but doesn't get it

Looks like brunette Camilla

May represent Diane's desire to be a movie star



Reality Dream



Adam Kesher

A movie director

Represents David Lynch?

His name is unchanged in the dream

Pulls Camilla away from Diane

His mother is Coco


Bob Brooker - director

Really directed "The Sylvia North Story"


Adam Kesher

Has lots of misfortune in Diane's dream

Wears black

Covers the family jewels and his clothes with pink paint (emasculated)

Auditions actresses for "The Sylvia North Story"

Represents directors that didn't hire Diane




Bob Brooker - director

Doppelganger for Adam?

The only one who doesn't think much of Betty's acting

Is a washed up old director making low grade movies in Diane's dream


Adam Kesher's mother 

Eats nuts           

Shows passive aggression at Camilla during the party

Shows sympathy for Diane at the party



Coco Lenoix

Landlady of aunt Ruth's apartment in the dream

Gives Betty a key

Warns Betty, "If there's trouble, get rid of it."

Coco = Cuckoo?




Wears the same clothes in reality and the dream






Diane’s conscience?

He wakes her up after the dream

He tells Adam what the right thing to do is

Cryptic enforcer of rules

God (he talks to Adam)?

Mr. Roque’s opposite?

Speaks in the dream to both Diane & Adam



Joe Messing - hit man

Diane pays him money to have Camilla "This is the girl" killed

Can represent Diane?

Laughs about what the key opens when Diane asks





Joe Messing - hitman

Inept killer

Kills Ed, and another man and woman in Ed's office

Steals black book from Ed

Has a conversation with prostitute outside of Pink's.




Is shot dead by Joe

Doppelganger for Camilla?

Keeper of the black book




The name Dan sounds like Diane

Was seen at Winkie's when Diane ordered the hit on Camilla



Had the same dream twice but they were exactly the same

Says Herb was in both dreams

Dan represents Diane

Dies after seeing the bum behind Winkie's

Quote, "I hope that I never see that face outside of a dream."

Quote, "I had a dream about this place." referring to Winkie's




A therapist or friend to Dan

Can also represent Camilla or hit man Joe

He is dismissive of Dan's dream

Coaxes Dan to his death behind Winkie's


Reality Dream




Blue key

Means Camilla is dead













Blue key

Unlocks the blue box

Betty disappears before Rita uses the key to open the blue box



Blue Box

Rita opens the box and disappears

Awareness of reality?

Diane’s heart?

Betty’s un-doing

Contains the truth about Camilla’s death?

Smaller version of Club Silencio

Repressed memories?



Club Silencio

Home for broken hearts and insomniacs

Highlights the difference between reality and perception

"No Hay Banda" - There is no band

Exposes pretense

Represents the blue box but larger

Transitory place between life and death?

Has a red curtain

Is where the blue-haired lady resides

Where Betty and Rita are close together and look the same




Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed by Joe

She sits where Rita/Herb sat and he sits where Diane/Dan sat

The point of no return for Diane

Diane may have been a waitress here at one time?

Diane says, "This is the girl" when handing the photo resume to Joe

Diane sees waitress name tag Betty and adopts that name in the dream

Diane hands money over to Joe



Herb & Dan meet

Dan mentions half-night light (Sunset...)

Dan sees Herb standing, just as Diane sees Joe standing near cashier

Dan dies/faints behind Winkie's after seeing the bum

Dan doesn't eat his meal



Betty uses the phone outside the restaurant to call police

Rita & Betty meet here to figure out Rita's identity

Betty sits where the dreamer Dan sat earlier

Rita sits where Herb sat earlier

Rita sees waitress with name tag Diane and it sparks a memory






Mr. Roque

Diane's brain?

Works behind the scenes

Represents the top Hollywood executives?

Listens in on the meeting with Adam at Ryan Entertainment

May have ordered the hit on Rita and or the actress change in the movie

May represent the wizard of Oz




Old couple

Diane’s grandparents (according to the script)

Judges from the jitterbug contest that set her on her quest to be a star?

They are not looking out for Diane’s Best interest  

Chase her to her bedroom and death at the end 

Represent Adam and Camilla in the future?     

Diane’s judgmental super-ego?




Detectives McKnight and Domgaard

Doppelgangers for Rita and Betty?

Required characters for a noir film? (odd stilted conversation)



Aunt Ruth Elms

Is dead

Left a sum of money to Diane when she died

Lived in Hollywood and was involved in the movie industry


Aunt Ruth Elms

Is in Canada making a movie

Just out of reach for Betty (she departs just before Betty arrives)

Doppelganger for casting agent Linney James

Is not very observant (doesn't see Rita under kitchen table)

Walks in to see nothing after the opened blue box makes Rita disappear




Blue-haired lady

Her left side earring sparkles at the very end of the movie

Represents aunt Ruth?

Doppelganger for Camilla?

A patron or owner of club Silencio?

Rita also spoke Spanish and also said Silencio in the dream

Quote, "Silencio." is the last word spoken in the movie




Louise Bonner

Fortune teller/ messenger

Symbolizes Diane's remorse?

Cloaked in black

Resembles the bum behind Winkie's





Monster or bum behind Winkie's appears to be burned not just dirty?

Is the last holder of the blue box

Diane’s ID?

Blue haired lady?

Louise Bonner doppelganger?





Camilla doppelganger? (black clothes & red pillow)

A combination of both Diane and Camilla?

Resembles the bum behind Winkie's too




Random observations and ideas:


Wizard of Oz parallels

Betty - Yellow cab = Dorothy - yellow brick road

L. A. (Hollywood) = Oz (Dorothy opens her door to the full color land of Oz = Betty walks out of the airport to see L. A.)

Winkie's has lots of green inside like the Emerald city

Smoke as Oz appears = smoke as Camilla appears after the car crash = smoke in Diane's bedroom at her death

Ruth Elms = Auntie Em

The cowardly lion faints at the site of Oz behind the curtain. Dan dies or faints when seeing the bum behind the wall at Winkie's

Does Diane have a dream within a dream?  Dorothy falls asleep in the field of poppies on the way to Oz

Diane kills the antagonist Camilla = Dorothy's house lands on the wicked witch killing her

Mr. Rogue (wheel-chair bound = The tin man bound by the metal he is made of)

Castigliane bothers - like the cowardly lion are full of bluster, but without much to back it up

The Cowboy = the scare crow who is concerned with intelligence and earthiness


Winkie's diner

Where Diane orders the hit on Camilla with Joe

Where Rita gets the name Diane (Selwyn)  for their investigation

Where Dan and Herb talk and Dan is very afraid

Dan dies behind Winkie's after seeing the bum/monster (point of no return for Diane and Dan)


The Silvia North Story

May also be the Diane Selwyn story

A masterpiece movie

Where Diane and Camilla met

Brunette Camilla really got the lead part

Actually directed by Bob Brooker


Biblical theory

Adam = Adam

Cowboy = god?

Diane = Judas

Aunt Ruth is an angel?

Blue-haired lady = might be god or an angel?

Adams house = Eden

Havenhurst = Heaven

Sierra Bonita = hell or purgatory?

Adams pool = the gene pool (Gene the pool man with snake t-shirt)

Rita = Jesus Christ (comes out alive after the assassination in he dream)

Phone call chain = spread the word of god

Vincenzo Castigliane = the Devil (shirt has an X’ed out cross on it)

Physical life = a dream

Jewelry = divinity


Color Symbolism:

Pink/red = lies, fantasies

- Pink is Betty and blonde Camilla's color in the dream

- Adam covers himself and the (family) jewels with pink paint

- Pink's (where we see Joe and Laney outside) = sexual reference and phallic image

- Red curtains in Club Silencio from which the actors/musicians come and go

- Pink = vagina

- Aunt Ruth's hair color is red


Blue = truth, reality

- Blue key opens the blue box (reality)

- Blue Box holds reality

- Club Silencio (reveals that it's all an illusion)

- Blue haired woman



- Winkies


Gene the (gene) pool man is there to clean Adam's pool


The movie starts with loud jitterbug music and ends with loud music and a gun shot.


The older couple send Betty off in L. A. in the beginning and chase Diane to her death at the end.


The whole first part of the movie may be a dream “Rita” had before breaking into Aunt Ruth’s bungalow?

Because we see Aunt Ruth come in at the end dressed as she was when she left.


Aunt Ruth has several doppelgangers (woman getting into cabs with suitcases) in the movie.


Scene with Laney & the hit man leaving Pink’s is like the scene with hit man and Diane at Winkie’s? He gives Laney a cigarette in the dream and shows Diane the blue key at Winkie's.


Diane's dream starts with Diane’s head on the pillow and ends with the Cowboy saying, “Wake up pretty girl.”


Rita sleeps multiple times in the movie

- outside before going into Aunt Ruth's apartment

- under the kitchen table in the apartment of Aunt Ruth's apartment

- on Ruth's bed after meeting Betty

- after consummating the sexual relationship with Betty


Some of the big dream may be Rita's dream too!


Some say they can see the blue box briefly in the drawer that Diane pulls the gun out of at the end of the film.


Diane is apparently happily re-united with Camilla at the end of the movie.





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