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HTF REVIEW: "Blue Velvet" Special Edition (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein

Blue Velvet

Studio: MGM
Year: 1986
Rated: R
Film Length: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

"Baby wants blue velvet"
The first time I watched Blue Velvet was
at a party back in the mid eighties. All that
I remember about the movie was that I was very
drunk and the film was very weird, despite the
fact that my drunken party mates were howling at
Dennis Hopper.

I never really wanted to watch this film again
until I discovered TWIN PEAKS. I began to
understand the genius of Director David Lynch and
his knack for bringing us wholesome settings
with strange characters that inhabit them. It is
these characters that are often repulsive, but
nonetheless, interesting to watch....at least,
this is my take on his work.

Blue Velvet has been described as "An
American Masterpiece". By all rights, it is a
finely crafted movie filled with stylish
photography with immense talent and attention
to detail. On the other hand, this is certainly
one of the most disturbing films in memory and
I'll be damned if I still understand the film's

Describing how this movie begins is the easy
part. An elderly man named Mr. Beaumont (Jack
Harvey) is watering his lawn when he suddenly
clutches his neck in pain and falls to the ground.
His son, Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) visits him in
the hospital. Returning home from his visit, he
finds a severed human ear in a field. He brings the
ear to his neighbor, Detective Williams (George
Dickerson). Williams makes Jeffrey promise he
won't pry into this matter -- but Jeffrey does anyway.
With the help of clues he receives from William's
daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), Jeffrey sneaks into
the apartment of nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens
(Isabella Rosselini). While hiding in her closet,
he witnesses a visitor named Frank Booth (Dennis
Hopper), a sick, violent and extremely dangerous
man who loves sadistic sex. Jefferey thinks there
is a connection with all these people and decides
to take a dangerous risk and investigate this matter
on his own.

In very much the same style of TWIN PEAKS, we are
introduced to a wholesome, innocent town that
harbors deep dark secrets. The film starts off
interestingly enough and manages to draw us into
a mystery that unfolds before our eyes. Suddenly,
however, it seems like we are thrown into a world
full of freak show characters and an ending that
doesn't quite explain itself.
Still, I walked away from this viewing with
a sort of appreciation for what I had just seen,
despite the fact that I feel this movie was only
meant to be understood by the Director himself.
How is the transfer?
I was disappointed in this new digital transfer
that was supervised by David Lynch. I don't know
how this film looked theatrically, but on DVD, it
doesn't impress.
While the outdoor shots are very clear, the
colors seem faded. Shots of indoor scenes
inside Dorothy Vallen's apartment look too soft
and muddy. Flesh tones run overly red, and there
is a noticeable amount of grain in the picture.
The 5.1 audio mix is also very disappointing.
While dialogue remains firmly in the center channel,
I could not hear any surround activity whatsoever
throughout the film. Later, I actually put my ear
up to the rear speaker and heard background
information being sent, but the volume of it is
so low that it was never clarified over the volume
of the front sound stage.
I realize that this is a brand new transfer, and
perhaps not seeing any previous transfers on former
formats may hinder my review. Perhaps this is the
best the film has ever looked on any format -- but
to be honest, compared to other remastered films
from this era, I just was not impressed by the
overall presentation.
Special Features

As with other recent MGM Special Edition titles,
Blue Velvet comes packaged in an attractive
slipcase cover. The cover mimics the exact artwork
on the actual DVD cover.

The DVD begins with an animated menu with scrolling
BLUE VELVET lettering and a small horizontal bar
that shows windows of scenes from the film.

Mysteries Of Love is an all-new documentary
that is broken down into 8 chapters. Origins
introduces us to Director and screenwriter, David
Lynch who describes how the film started with
Bobby Vinton's song. An idea came to him about
doing a mystery that took place in a small city.
Four drafts and several years later, a script was
ready. Kyle MacLachlan recalls the first meeting
with David Lynch, shortly after DUNE. After reading
the script, he was just amazed by its energy. We
learn that Dino DeLaurentis did not want to make
the film at its $10 million budget, so Lynch agreed
to take a pay cut and gain full artistic control in
order to make this film. The entire cast is
reassembled here, talking about their involvement
with the film. Most interesting is Dennis Hopper,
who explains he had just come out of rehab when he
was offered the part. His agent advised him against
taking the part, as it was not a redeeming role.
Dennis took the role, and the rest is history. In
The Eagle Scout, we meet the painter who
became a film Director, David Lynch. Cast members
and film cinematographer talk about his unique
vision and the worlds he creates. In Goin'
Down to Lumberton, we go to North Carolina
and on location as cast members talk about the
challenges they had filming the movie. Kyle
Maclachlan nervously reminisces about having to
drop his shorts in front of Isabella Rossellini
while she held a knife to him. Isabella and
Dennis Hopper recall the scene where Dorothy
Vallens shows Frank Booth her vagina -- and trust
me, the scene was done without panties being worn.
Hey, Neighbor compares the similarities of
character Jeffrey Beaumont to Director David Lynch.
After all, many have stated that this film is part
autobiography. This segment mainly deals with
putting the characters under a microscope with each
actor (Maclachlan, Rosselini, Hopper and Dern)
dissecting their characteristics. Dust Bunnies
further explores the creative mind of David Lynch,
and his obsessiveness to detail. It's interesting
to listen to cinematographer Frederick Elmes describe
how the colors embedded in every character's home
was a reflection of that character's personality.
In Softer Than Satin, we are introduced to
film composer Angelo Badalamenti who talks about the
challenges of using Bobby Vinton's song in the
soundtrack. Isabella recalls her working with Angelo
in getting the tone of the song down just right.
Uncommon Sounds acquaints us with the late
Alan Splet, who was the sound designer on the film.
His signature sound is one of the most important
elements in the film, including the journey into
the severed ear, and insects gnawing beneath the
grass's soil. Legacy explores the post
release phenomenon of the film. Though the film
was not initially well received, it eventually rode
a word-of-mouth wave that made it a "must see" film.
Much of David Lynch's original cut of the film
was trimmed down to its final theatrical version.
The scenes that were cut have been lost forever,
but, in a deleted scenes montage, the lost
scenes have been reconstructed using surviving
publicity stills. There is a phone call made by
Jeffrey at a college; Jeffrey visiting the hospital;
Jeffrey having coffee with Mrs. Williams; A scene
with Dorothy and Jeffrey on the rooftop; a bar room
sequence with Frank Booth and the film's epilogue.
(length: approx. 10 minutes)

Something I would love to see more of, is the
inclusion of critic reaction to the film. What
better critics to include than Siskel and Ebert.
Their short 1985 televised review is included on
this DVD.
There are dozens of Photo Gallery pictures
included on this DVD. Most of them are production
stills taken on location, including some great shots
of gruesome makeup being applied to the actors for
the gore scenes. Photographer Peter Braatz provides
some very rare black & white "on location" shots.
The film's original theatrical trailer as
well as two television spots are included
on this disc.
Final Thoughts
Without having seen any former incarnations of
Blue Velvet on a home video format, I don't
know if this transfer is the best the film has
looked. I was just a bit disappointed by both
the video and audio quality.
I must also admit that while I was mesmerized
by this movie, I can't say that I am was truly
as inspired by it as I was by TWIN PEAKS. Perhaps
it's the fact that Blue Velvet goes way over
the top in its shock value.
While I agree that this is a film that everyone
must experience in their lifetime, the choice of
purchasing this title is only recommended to those
familiar with the film. To its fans, the added
material is worth the purchase alone. To newcomers,
may I suggest renting it first.
Release Date: June 4, 2002

Aryn Leroux

Aug 19, 2001
Thanks for the review Ron. This is my alltime favorite Lynch film. I sold off the previous dvd release a few weeks back and i look forward to picking up the SE on June 4th.

Anthony Thorne

Supporting Actor
Oct 10, 2000
I think (but can't be sure) that BLUE VELVET has always looked a little muddy. Older LD and VHS transfers represented this fairly prominently, from memory. The extras sound good and I'm a fan of the movie (probably more so than I am of TWIN PEAKS, which I encountered later and viewed as something of a rip-off of the atmosphere and surrealism established by Lynch in VELVET) so I'll be happy to get this disc. I hope WILD AT HEART joins it on the shelf someday.

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
I would like to add to my review that

this transfer was supervised by David Lynch.

I have been informed by MGM that the way

this film looks and sounds is the way that

Mr. Lynch wanted it.


Senior HTF Member
Dec 11, 2000
Real Name
Steve Gonzales
Yep, the interior shots in the film have always been a bit muddy. Anyway, thanks for the review. Time to upgrade again!


Senior HTF Member
Mar 4, 2001
Thanks for the review. I love Lynch's films, and BLUE VELVET is one of my favorites of his work, so I can't wait to pick up this disc! Dennis Hopper is perfect in this film!


Jan 14, 2000
Can't wait. I hope DVD editions of Lost Highway and Wild at Heart are not far behind.

Can someone remind me-what was Siskel's reaction to the film? I know Ebert famously hated it, but did Siskel like it?

Bill McA

Senior HTF Member
Oct 18, 2000
Those screenshots from the film are WAAAAY too dark!

That is definitely NOT how the film looks in the cinema or in previous video formats (VHS/LD/DVD)

Something wrong with your DVD-Rom, Ron?


Supporting Actor
Sep 14, 2001
I never sold my dvd of this title when the new dvd was announced and don't plan on it. I'm quite happy how the original dvd looks. I will rent this new version to take a look at the supplements. I'm just a bit sick of replacing titles all the time and this is the dvd where I draw the line. It doesn't sound as if there is a drastic improvement in the video.

Patrick McCart

Senior HTF Member
May 16, 2001
Georgia (the state)
Real Name
Patrick McCart
I never sold my dvd of this title when the new dvd was announced and don't plan on it. I'm quite happy how the original dvd looks. I will rent this new version to take a look at the supplements. I'm just a bit sick of replacing titles all the time and this is the dvd where I draw the line. It doesn't sound as if there is a drastic improvement in the video.
The original DVD is a laserdisc transfer 16x9-ized that wasn't supervised by the director at all. Dolby 2.0 surround, too.

The SE has a high-def originated 16x9 transfer completely supervised by the director, plus a 5.1 track of the soundtrack remixed by the director.

I think SE's should be put off in favor of first-time-on-dvd titles, but I'd call this one of the few times an SE is really neccesary.

Douglas R

Senior HTF Member
Dec 30, 2000
London, United Kingdom
Real Name
I saw the film when it was first released in cinemas and it looked great - sharp and bright. I don't understand why every home video format version has looked so bad. One problem is that it seems to have passed through vaious different distributors and I suspect original elements may have been unavailable or mislaid.

Jeff Adkins

Senior HTF Member
Sep 18, 1998
Tampa, FL
Real Name
Jeff Adkins
The original DVD is a laserdisc transfer 16x9-ized that wasn't supervised by the director at all. Dolby 2.0 surround, too.
I'm not sure which LD release you are referring to. The original DVD is an entirely different transfer from the Warner Home Video LD released in North America.


Rich Malloy

Senior HTF Member
Apr 9, 2000
I thought the previous DVD release was very serviceable and certainly better than my old VHS dub! I traded it away after I heard that an SE was announced, but I seem to recall some fairly vivid colors and at least some degree of surround activity. I would think that there's been quite a bit of tweaking since then, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was transferred a tad darker and more subdued.

What's got me salivating, however, are the "Mysteries of Love" documentary (yes!!!) and the deleted scene reconstruction (which sounds a little like the "Behzin Meadow" reconstruction on Criterion's Eisenstein Boxset). Both of these extras, especially the former, look to be fantastic!


Jan 14, 2000

Look at the screenshots. On the menu screen, it says "Scene Selections."

Enrique B Chamorro

Supporting Actor
Sep 2, 1999
I had the original disc and it had chapter stops.

The review notes 8 chapters for the documentary,

I just wanted to make sure the Scene Selections

was for the movie and not for the documentary.

With Mulholland Drive and The Straight Story having

zero chapters stops per Mr. Lynch, I was concerned

about the new edition of Blue Velvet.

I would still like to know how many chapters

Blue Velvet will be broken up into?


Supporting Actor
May 26, 1999
Wow, I guess I does look like the film itself may have chapter stops.

Ron, is that true? I wonder if that was Lynch's idea.


Jan 14, 2000
MGM may not have offered him the choice. I don't guess I understand the infatuation with chapter stops.
I can't wait for this. I haven't seen this film in a long while, and it'll be my first viewing as an unofficial Lynch fan. :emoji_thumbsup:

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