Blu-ray Review: BLUE VELVET, Food for the Gods of Film
David Lynch is one of our greatest living American filmmakers. He's not only a master director, but a writer, musician and lyricist, and painter. Having started at art school(s) and shorts, his first feature film was the mighty weird Eraserhead. He then went on to make The Elephant Man, and Dune (starring long-time collaborator Kyle MacLachlan in their first project together), then the film that cemented his voice and tone --- Blue Velvet.
That tone of course, is the pervasive weirdness and happy, happy, happy kitsch of America, along with the crime-ridden underbelly of seemingly perfect small towns that otherwise may have sprung from Norman Rockwell paintings. A lot of these films blend the outward innocence of the 1950s with the 1980s or 1990s, depending on whichever year they were shot. Blue Velvet certainly had that eclectic blend going for it, which was to become a hallmark of Lynch's filmography.
Blue Velvet offers up the story of college boy Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan), who's come home to the fictional town of Lumberton after his dad has suffered a heart attack while watering the lawn and garden. While on the way home from the hospital, Jeffrey discovers a severed ear in a field. Naturally, he brings it to the attention of his neighborhood detective. Strangely enough, in a lack of real-life protocol that I'm sure crosses several lines, the detective is overly friendly and encourages Jeffrey a little too much.
As a result, Jeffrey becomes obsessed with what's going on, and finds out new details from the detective's daughter Sandy (Laura Dern). Then nothing can stop him, not fear, not societal niceties, and definitely not breaking and entering. He steals a key after entering the apartment under false pretenses --- the home of one Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a damaged lounge singer who's under the misogynist thumb of the brutal Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The plot continues to thicken and develop until there's some real craziness and bloodshed, in a nutshell.
This Criterion release offers a 4K digital restoration. The picture is gorgeous and the film sounds lovely, especially with Lynch's trademark love for sound design. His films have soundscapes, really, and what he's got in Blue Velvet is just wonderful. Now for the special features!
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, both supervised by director David Lynch
- Alternate original 2.0 surround soundtrack
- The Lost Footage, fifty-three minutes of deleted scenes and alternate takes assembled by Lynch
- “Blue Velvet” Revisited, a feature-length meditation on the making of the movie by Peter Braatz, filmed on-set during the production
- Mysteries of Love, a seventy-minute documentary from 2002 on the making of the film
- Interview from 2017 with composer Angelo Badalamenti
- It’s a Strange World: The Filming of “Blue Velvet,” a 2019 documentary featuring interviews with crew members and visits to the shooting locations
- Lynch reading from Room to Dream, a 2018 book he coauthored with Kristine McKenna
- PLUS: Excerpts by McKenna from Room to Dream
Cover by Fred Davis
It has been awhile since I've seen Blue Velvet, and so I hadn't seen what the film looked like on any previous Blu-ray release. If you haven't either, and consider yourself a Lynch fan, you're going to want this release. It was cool to see some of the locations of the film, as well as nearly an hour's worth of deleted or extended scenes. The interview with long-time Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti was great, and I enjoyed the Lynch-read excerpt from the book about him, "Room to Dream."
All in all, this release of Blue Velvet is a wonderful addition to any film lover's home library. Need to add this Lynch film to your collection? You can order and check out Criterion's Blu-ray release for Blue Velvet here.