5.6/10
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The Amputee (1974)

| Short, Comedy
A double leg amputated woman sits and writes a long meandering letter while her ineffective nurse attempts to attend to her stumps.

Director:

David Lynch

Writer:

David Lynch
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Catherine E. Coulson ... Amputee (as Catherine Coulson)
David Lynch ... Nurse
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Storyline

In this plotless 5 minute short, Catherine Coulson plays a legless double-amputee who, throughout the film, is going over a letter she is writing. She makes marks on the letter, and we hear a voice-over of her reading through it. The letter is a sort of mini soap opera; she writes about things happening among a group of her acquaintances, about feelings, about who said certain offensive or endearing things. Very quickly, the droning monotony of Coulson's letter becomes a background noise which gets lost in the actions of her nurse, played by David Lynch. Lynch enters after a minute or so in a nurse costume, his hair in a long ponytail flipped over one shoulder. He begins readying his instruments, then unwraps one of Coulson's stumps. He snips away at something in the wound, probably stitches, though it sounds like he's cutting thick wire. He uses a sort of syringe to flush the wound with water and has a rubber ball that works like a turkey baster to suck fluid out of the wound. ... Written by Adam Walter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Also Known As:

The Amputee See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Woman with amputation to the legs: This isn't what I am telling you. You weren't in the room when Jim said that. And I was. And he really did. He told me that everything was fine between Helen and him. And I knew that even if he didn't say it, that it was true. He knew it then. No one else did. You maybe thought you did but I knew you didn't. And it makes me furious when you tell me I didn't know about Helen. She was my best friend. She even told me about that time she drank gin with you. So maybe now you'll believe me. After ...
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Connections

Edited into The Short Films of David Lynch (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
meh, but it goes without saying...
4 June 2006 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Maybe the lesser of the bunch of David Lynch shorts I've seen, the only real interest are in some seconds here and there within the four minute un-broken shot of some nasty, black-death humor that's ingrained into the material. Unfortunately, it's almost a waste to watch the film as it is by admission of Lynch himself a technical 'throaway', something to just get onto film to bite back at the AFI for possibly switching to video. Therefore we get what could be comparable to what Godard did around the same time- tool around with the possibilities of video by just going for something off-putting within the frame. It could've worked maybe as something worth watching more, but it's really a bit too un-pleasant even in its own biting sense-of-what-the-hell way. It's just an amputee who writes a confessional letter (heard in voice-over) as a wacko doctor plugs away at one of her stumps. He also, at the end, just runs away in a hurry, perhaps as to just add that last bit of "whoa" for Lynch to work with. That part is actually a nice bit of surreal whimsy, but the work is just too simplistic and deranged to really give any sense of visual amazement like in the other shot works of Lynch, or to build on the outrageousness like in Eraserhead. Worth a watch, once, then never again unless you have a thing for, well, stumps, and confessional letters written during their upheaval.


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