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Eraserhead Movie Review

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When David Lynch paid a visit to Berkeley in the ‘80s, an eager crowd begged for the secret of Baby Henry. Who or what had played the premature child of Henry Spencer, played by Jack Nance? Lynch wasn't talking, and no amount of groveling could persuade him to divulge this particular bit of casting for the benefit of posterity. And now Jack Nance (1943–96) is gone, so we're stuck with the crushingly confident speculations of film buffs. (My guess: An electrically charged lamb fetus.) As in the David Lynch films that followed this one, the currents of morality run strong and deep. Henry Spencer tries very hard to be a responsible father to Baby Henry, but his world is weird and strange and it's getting weirder and stranger by the second. Lynch received AFI funding to make Eraserhead, and for his very next feature, he received two Academy Award nominations for writing and directing The Elephant Man for Paramount! So make your first indie as bizarre and personal as you like; that way, everyone will get to know (and hire) the real you as you really are. You can't watch Eraser-head too often in a revival theatre, though. You might walk out of the lobby and find yourself trapped in Henry Spencer's world forever! Cast Note: Jennifer Lynch grew up to write The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and to direct Boxing Helena. PLUS: In an episode of TV's My So-Called Life, Jack Nance plays a scrupulously conventional innkeeper who tries to keep order when Patty Chase (Bess Armstrong) has too much to drink and nearly strips in the dining room, yelling, “I am a grown-up.” “That is a judgment call,” Nance snaps back.

1978 90m/B Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Anna Roberts, Laurel Near, V. Phipps-Willson, Jack Fisk, Jean Lange, Jennifer Lynch; D: David Lynch; W: David Lynch; C: Frederick Elmes, Herbert Cardwell; M: David Lynch, Fats Waller, Peter Ivers. VHS, LV

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