Blue Velvet: Special Edition

Blue Velvet: Special Edition (1986)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper
Extras: Documentary, Deleted Scenes, Review, Still Gallery, Trailer, TV Spots, Production Notes

Following a bare-bone DVD release from February 2001, MGM now draws back the curtain to reveal a new Special Edition release of David Lynch’s ’Blue Velvet’. While this DVD contains several new elements (see below), the film ’Blue Velvet’ still remains the riveting conundrum that it’s always been. Kyle MacLachlan stars a Jeffrey Beaumont, a college student who has returned home to the small town of Lumberton due to his father’s sudden illness. While walking through a field, Jeffrey finds a severed human ear, which he promptly takes to the police, here represented by Detective Williams (George Dickerson). After visiting Williams to follow-up on the find, Jeffrey meets William’s daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), who has overheard some information involving the case. The ear seems to be tied to a lounge-singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini). Jeffrey decides to investigate the incident himself, by sneaking into Vallens apartment. What he discovers is a bizarre plot involving kidnapping and depravity. Jeffrey’s innocent curiosity threatens to suck him into this dark world.

While that plot synopsis make ’Blue Velvet’ sound fairly straightforward, don’t be fooled. After all, this is a David Lynch film. Underneath this seemingly linear plot are incredibly bizarre characters, who are put into situations that don’t always make sense. But, as with all of Lynch’s films, even if one doesn’t wholly understand what Lynch is trying to say, ’Blue Velvet’ still manages to create an emotional response in the viewer — be it a positive or negative one. Lynch fills the film with symbolism and the unusual soundtrack adds to the weirdness. Over 15 years later, ’Blue Velvet’ is still a strange trip.

This Special Edition DVD features a newly created anamorphic digital transfer of the film, which was supervised by Lynch himself. The image has been letterboxed at 2.35:1. The picture is very sharp and clear, showing only a small amount of grain at times. The film’s color palette is vast and wonderful, but there is some slight oversaturation at times, allowing for minor video distortion. However, artifacting and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. The new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio track is a toss-up. It offers clear dialogue and music reproduction, as well as excellent bass response, which highlights the deep rumbling which accompanies most every scene. Yet, the surround sound effects are kept to a minimum and used rather sparingly. This is surprising given the fact that the sound plays such a large part in the film.

The extras are kicked off by a 70-minute documentary entitled ’Mysteries of Love’. This feature offers new interviews with several cast and crew members, including MacLachlan, Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, producer Frank Caruso, and more. Unfortunately, the only comments from Lynch are taken from a 1986 interview. Still, this gives a ton of background information on the film and the work that it took to bring it to the screen. When ’Blue Velvet’ was cut for release, nearly two hours were lost from the film. This footage is apparently gone forever, but MGM has created a 20-minute Deleted Scene Montage using photos taken on the set. While this is intriguing, it is hard to tell exactly what these scenes would have been about. Siskel & Ebert argue about the film in the next extra, which if followed by the theatrical trailer for the film and two TV spots. The extras are rounded out by a in-depth still gallery, and production notes, which are located in the DVD booklet.