Senior HTF Member
- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
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
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
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
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
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.
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