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Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 5, 2011 by  



David Lynch is known for his dark, creepy and surreal films.  But if there is one film that showcased his style of filmmaking to the world, that film was “Blue Velvet”.  And with the new found footage, awesome picture and audio quality on Blu-ray, make no doubt about it, this is the definitive version of “Blue Velvet” yet!  Creepy, unsettling, dark and definitely a masterpiece in American cinema… David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 1986 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary

FILM RELEASE: 1986

DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French 5.1 DTS, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: MGM/20th Century Fox

RATED: R

Release Date: November 8, 2011

Written and Directed by David Lynch

Produced by Fred C. Caruso

Executive Produced by Richard A. Roth

Original Music by Angelo Badalamenti

Cinematography by Frederick Elmes

Edited by Duwayne Dunham

Casting by Pat Golden, Johanna Ray

Production Design by Patricia Norris

Set Decoration by Edward “Tantar” LeViseur

Starring:

Isabella Rosselini as Dorothy Vallens

Kyle MacLachlan as Jeffrey Beaumont

Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth

Laura Dern as Sandy Williams

Hope Lange as Mrs. Williams

Dean Stockwell as Ben

George Dickerson as Detective Williams

Priscilla Pointer as Mrs. Beaumont

Frances Bay as Aunt Barbara

From the mind of David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, “Twin Peaks”) comes a visionary story so startling, so provocative, so mysterious that it will open your eyes to a world you have never seen before. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment celebrates the anniversary of a groundbreaking American cinema classic when the BLUE VELVET: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION makes its curtain call on Blu-ray November 8. For the first time ever, fans will see over 50 minutes of deleted scenes from the film, thought to have been lost for the past 25 years, with a transfer and color correction supervised by Lynch himself.

Beneath the surface of small-town serenity lies a dark domain where innocence dare not tread and unpredictability is the norm. It is the haunting realm of BLUE VELVET. In this “shocking, deeply disturbing, startling mixture of the heartfelt and the horrific” (Newsweek), clean-cut Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks”) realizes his Mayberry-like hometown is not-so-normal when he discovers a human ear in a field. His investigation catapults him into an alluring, erotic murder mystery involving a disturbed nightclub singer (Isabella Rossellini, Death Becomes Her) and a drug-addicted sadist (Dennis Hopper, Speed). Soon, Jeffrey is led deeper into their depraved existence past the point of no return.

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Directing (Lynch) and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Hopper), BLUE VELVET features brilliant supporting performances from Laura Dern (Wild at Heart), Dean Stockwell (“Quantum Leap”), Hope Lange (Peyton Place) and David Lynch mainstay Jack Nance (Eraserhead).

There is no denying that writer/filmmaker David Lynch has always shown a consistency in creating films of ecstatic creepiness.  But its his venture to the surreal, dark and ominous settings that separate him from other filmmakers.

From his debut in 1977 with his surrealist film “Eraserhead” which has become a cult classic, to the sci-fi film “Dune” (1984) which paired him with actor Kyle MacLachlan for the first time,  the director would reach recognition for his TV series “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991).  And since “Twin Peaks”, David Lynch has done quite well for himself, especially establishing him as one of the most notable filmmakers and screenwriters in American cinema.

But if there is one film that fans of David Lynch have looked as a masterpiece in his oeuvre is the 1986 film “Blue Velvet”.

A film that probably is best not explaining but more of experiencing for its dark, ambiguous yet astonishing nature.  Unpredictable and surreal, “Blue Velvet” shows us a terrifying look at America in which characters may be normal during the day, but at night…Lynch unleashes paranoia and challenge your sensibility and quite literally… freak you out!

“Blue Velvet” written and directed by David Lynch reunited him with “Dune” actor Kyle MacLachlan, Kyle plays the main character Jeffrey Beaumont.

Jeffrey returns back home in the town of Lumberton from college after his father (played by Jack Harvey) suffered a stroke.  After visiting his father, while walking through a vacant lot, Jeffrey finds a severed ear.

Concerned, Jeffrey takes the ear to police detective John Williams (played by George Dickerson) and meets John’s daughter Sandy (played by Laura Dern).  Sandy explains to Jeffrey about the ear case and that it is suspected that the Snow Club owner, Dorothy Vallens (played by Isabella Rossellini) may be involved.  Detective Williams tells Jeffrey not to get involved but his curiosity gets the best of him and next thing you know, Jeffrey is doing his own investigation.

He goes to Dorothy’s apartment pretending to be an exterminator, meanwhile she is distracted by the Yellow Man (played by Fred Pickler) and Jeffrey manages to steal a spare key to her apartment.

As Jeffrey and Sandy go to Dorothy’s night club and watch her singing “Blue Velvet”, Jeffrey sneaks out to investigate her apartment.  But while looking, she arrives to her apartment and Jeffrey quickly hides in her closet. But Dorothy suspects that someone is in the closet and has a knife and threatens to kill him.

But she finds the fact that someone sneaking into her closet quite kinky and thinks that he did it because he is a voyeur, so while under knifepoint, she makes him undress and she starts to give him oral stimulation but they are interrupted by someone who arrives to Dorothy’s apartment..  She quickly hides Jeffrey in the closet and he watches as her visitor named Frank (played by Dennis Hopper) starts engaging in unusual sex with Dorothy which includes dry humping and S&M.

Frank surprises Jeffrey by his constant profanity and that he is quite violent when he has an orgasm brings out rage.  And we learn that Frank has kidnapped her husband and son and she is forced to perform sexual favors if she wants them back.

After Frank leaves, she tries to get Jeffrey int the mood and asks him to beat her (because she is so used to Frank treating her that way) but he refuses and leaves.

Jeffrey tells Sandy about what happened and in return, she tells him a story of about a dream she had about robins and that the birds are a sign of an improvement of humanity.  As the two talk, both have a sense they are attracted to each other but Sandy has a boyfriend already.

But as Jeffrey is attracted to Sandy, his investigation of both Dorothy and Frank becomes much deeper than before as he is pulled into a seedy underworld which he had never known and he what he finds out will shock him and possibly lead him to his own demise.

VIDEO:

“Blue Velvet” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1).  The film actually was supervised and color corrected by David Lynch, so what you get is a definitive look via HD of what David Lynch wanted.  Detail is amazing especially the use of the darker colors.  Cinematographer Frederick Elmes does a great job in capturing the surreal outlook of the film and for the most part, the darker hues look fantastic, detail on the clothing is noticeable and black levels are nice and deep.  I didn’t notice any banding or artifacts, if anything, picture quality for this 1986 film doesn’t look soft at all (I’m typically vocal about how many ’80s films tend to look on Blu-ray), but “Blue Velvet” looks fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Blue Velvet” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish Mono, French 5.1 DTS.  The lossless soundtrack lends to the eeriness of the film.  Dialogue is crystal clear as is the score by Angelo Badalamenti but the scene where you will hear immersive sound coming from the surround channels is during the Snow Club sequences.  Also, a few moments where LFE is used.

Overall, this creepy soundtrack definitely comes to life via lossless!

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Blue Velvet” comes with the following special feature:

  • Newly Discovered Lost Footage – (51:42) New to this Blu-ray release is the lost footage that was found (ie. full frontal nudity).  All presented in HD.
  • Mysteries of Love – (1:10:45) The original making-of featurette presented in standard definition.  Interviews with David Lynch and the cast of “Blue Velvet”.
  • Siskel & Ebert “At the Movies” Review – (1:30) A excerpt of George Siskel and Roger Ebert’s review of “Blue Velvet” back in 1986.
  • Vignettes – Featuring four vignettes (under one minute) “I Like Coffee Shops”, “The Chicken Walk”, “The Robin” and “Sita” with David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini and more.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (1:33:1)The original theatrical trailer for “Blue Velvet” in HD.
  • TV Spots – Featuring two TV commercials for “Blue Velvet” (both are about 30 seconds long).

“Blue Velvet” is a magnificent, dark and seedy mystery film that showcases David Lynch’s ability to take normalcy and twist it it around until it becomes weird or corrupt.  A film that resonates strongly with viewers especially at the time because compared to what American cinema was capable of at the time, “Blue Velvet” lacked the banality of typical American cinema.

It was American cinema that showcased surrealism with wonderful efficacy and a storyline that literally creeps the viewer out with its fine performance by Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosellini and most importantly, Dennis Hopper.  Suffice to say, this film was what reignited Hopper’s career and earned the actor various film awards (Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics) for “Best Supporting Actor”.

But as I look back at the experience of “Blue Velvet” than and now, it was one of those films that had these flawed characters that could easily be involved in this seedy underworld.  Not only was the nightlife dark and ominous, just the scene as Frank is having sex with Dorothy is shocking.  But also to see Jeffrey being taken to that world where he also experiences pleasure and rage when he ends up in bed with Dorothy.  We witness an innocent man’s corruption, where most viewers would expect the protagonist to become sort of hero to save the day, David Lynch is not the type of filmmaker to spoon-feed the viewer with what you would expect from cinema but to deliver the unexpected.  The sense of ambiguous characters in which you literally don’t know the film will end.

And it would be the style that he would carry on later for television and his films later on.  And as “Eraserhead” was an intriguing debut for David Lynch, “Blue Velvet” is the film that welcomed viewers to David Lynch’s world of darkness, strange humor and unsettling surrealness.

The Blu-ray release definitely delivers with its inclusion of the newly discovered lost footage and for those who enjoyed the film, could you imagine if any of these extra scenes did make it to the final cut of the film?  And as picture and audio quality are magnificent, I can easily say that this is the definitive version of “Blue Velvet” to date!

David Lynch films are not for the squeamish, nor are they for those who expect traditional Hollywood cinema.  This film shocked viewers in 1986 and if you have never seen this film before, I wouldn’t be surprised if it shocked you today.  It’s a film that holds up quite well 25-years-later and is definitely a film for the true cineaste who love Lynch’s work  that they will find worth owning.

Highly recommended!






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