Specifications: Re-mastered Digital Transfer, supervised by David
Lynch, Widescreen 2.35:1, English 5.1 Surround, French Stereo Surround,
Spanish Mono, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese Subtitles
That candy-colored clown they call the sandman…three minutes that
revived the careers of both Dean Stockwell and Roy Orbison.
In the summer
of 1986, if you asked any hip college student for their beer of choice,
they would have to say "Heineken," to which the proper response was
"Heineken? F*** that! Pabst! Blue Ribbon!" Nobody really knew who
Dennis Hopper had been before Blue Velvet, but his menacing
and charismatic Frank Booth had seeped into the consciousness of the
Since then, many
storytellers have revisited the territory laid out by David Lynch
in this quintessentially Lynchian film, but none have done it nearly
as well. Even Lynch seemed to be slumming in his attempts until last
year's Mulholland Drive.
tells the story of Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLachlan), called home
from college after his father has a heart attack. After discovering
a severed ear in a field, Jeffrey gets pulled into a side of life
in his hometown that he never knew existed. With his burgeoning sweetheart
Sandy (Laura Dern), daughter of a police detective, Jeffrey investigates
the ear, becoming entangled with lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella
Rossellini) and her strange relationship with the dangerous Frank
In many ways,
the film defies easy description. Appropriate for an artist like Lynch,
the small town is painted in overbright, too perfect hues, slapped
over its dark underbelly. Frank's abuse of Dorothy (at least upon
first release) shocked, stunned, horrified and amused audiences. And
Dean Stockwell's brief appearance as the enigmatic Ben just needs
to be seen to be believed. The film is more accessible than Lynch's
debut Eraserhead, but in many ways it's far more disturbing,
as so much of its dream/nightmare logic has been cleverly disguised
as a Hardy Boys mystery gone horribly, horribly wrong.
oversaw the transfer of the print to this release, and it's a marked
improvement over an earlier DVD version. Lovingly photographed, the
film's rich color pops on the screen. The sound balances fairly well,
though perhaps overplays the ominous hum that Lynch uses to unsettle
the audience. It should be something that affects on a less conscious
level, but is way too obvious here.
What the disc
lacks in extra features, it makes up in quality. Lynch disdains commentary,
so the film itself has no extra track. (He has a point; his films
in particular beg discussion, not lecture.) But MGM has put together
a comprehensive documentary, Mysteries of Love, which combines
a rare 1987 Lynch interview with new interviews of the cast and crew.
Lynch clearly inspires loyalty and affection, and working on the film
changed a lot of the talents' path. (Hopper was on a comeback trail
already, having also shot Hoosiers around the same time, but
Blue Velvet gave him real viability as an actor.) The documentary
provides insight into just how fragile a creature the film was, and
just how amazing it is that Lynch got to make it.
there are no deleted scenes left. Lynch had a four-hour cut of the
film originally, and lopped it down to two hours. Everything lost
got swept up on the cutting room floor and literally thrown away.
For this disc, MGM has gathered together publicity shots and tried
to make some narrative sense of them. The effect is a little hallucinatory,
but they were right; you do get a sense of the scenes without any
dialogue. It's a testament to Lynch's visual power.
My favorite extra
is the inclusion of Siskel & Ebert's review. You want a taste of the
controversy this movie engendered? Here it is, from a time when that
two thumbs up thing really meant something.
stands out as a classic film, a must-have for a fan's collection.
With the cooperation of the filmmaker, MGM has put out a DVD worth
Velvet - Special Edition 25% off at Amazon