I should start by saying that I've never paid much attention to talk of good and bad 'prints' of movies, and always regarded it as a bit of movie snobbery. Until now, I've never purchased a DVD that left me seriously unhappy with the quality of the image.
I'm afraid this DVD (by Prism Leisure Corporation) changed all that. Quite simply, it's dreadful. Ok, it's a budget DVD, but frankly, if someone offers you this DVD for *free* you should politely decline.
Blue Velvet is one of my favourite movies. I bought this DVD as an upgrade from my aging VHS version. But after 20 minutes of trying to watch the DVD, I ejected it and went back to my old VHS.
In this version, the colours are washed out and muddy; the contrast is terrible; the image is far from sharp. In the dark scenes (and there are a lot of them) you'll frequently find yourself staring at a black screen. In short, watching this DVD is like seeing the movie on a seriously sick TV.
Really, you should give this a miss. Watch it on tape, or on the (much more expensive) special edition DVD (which I've now discovered is much much better and does the movie justice).
I can't believe that I'm writing a 1-star review of Blue Velvet!!
For the movie, five stars, easily. But because of the quality of this DVD, I'm knocking off four of them (and would knock off all five if I could). The movie is stunning, powerful, harrowing. This DVD is just harrowing. Avoid it like the plague.
on 2 March 2016
This review will focus mainly on some of the special features of this double-disc set. The deleted scenes, thought to have been lost for years, were finally found and included on the second disc here, and what a treat they are. Around 45 minutes of footage which was wisely cut from the film but somehow expands the weird world which David Lynch concocted for the film- some of it is hilarious and some of it is creepy with noirish menace.
The film itself sounds and looks great, with Angelo Badalamenti's score clear and lush on the soundtrack. I also noticed that the dialogue is now clearer than ever, as it can sometimes be distorted in other David Lynch films.
on 5 February 2016
This Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and the recently found footage makes this a must buy for the film's fans.
- Mysteries of Love (SD; 1:10:45) is a comprehensive retrospective which gives a lot of background on Lynch's formulation of the project.
Interviews with most of the principal cast as well as Lynch are included, along with behind the scenes footage.
- Newly Discovered Lost Footage (HD; 51:42). This will be the big calling card in terms of supplements for longtime fans of the film. As Lynch somewhat cheekily includes as a prologue, "It's like the song 'Amazing Grace,' the footage was lost but now it's found." There's some expectedly outré stuff here, including several sequences featuring full frontal female nudity (which may have had at least something to do with those scenes not making it to the final cut of the film, since Lynch was already pushing the envelope to the breaking point with regard to Rossellini's nudity and other elements of her character). Keep an eye out for a very young Megan Mullally, replete with Farrah Fawcett hair, as Jeffrey's erstwhile girlfriend Louise.
- A Few Outtakes (HD; 1:33) offers some ad libs and silly moments.
- Siskel and Ebert 'At the Movies' (SD; 1:30) is the pair's 1986 summation of the film. One of them didn't exactly love the film.
- Vignettes offers I Like Coffee Shops (SD; 00:22), The Chicken Walk (SD; 00:55), The Robin (SD; 1:33), Sita (SD; 00:45), four snippets mixing moments from the film with interviews with Lynch, MacLachlan, Rossellini and others.
Theatrical Trailer (HD; 1:31)
TV Spot 1 (SD; 00:32)
TV Spot 2 (SD; 00:31
on 24 March 2002
Not meaning to contradict other reviewers, but I thought I'd lend my opinion about the controversy surrounding this DVD release. Basically, I put off buying this for so long simply because of many of the reviews on here complaining about the picture and quality on the region 2 version. The other day however, I DID buy it and was pleasantly surprised.
I own the 4Front video release and this DVD just trashes it in terms of picture quality and sound... in the video you can't see what's going on half the time because it's too dark, the colour is over-saturated and the sound is too low.
Sure, it hasn't been remastered or anything, much like the Castle release of 'Dune' but it IS a good transfer. MUCH better than the video, which really spoilt my enjoyment of the film.
On to the film itself. 'Blue Velvet' is probably David Lynch's defining moment and masterpiece. Where as 'Eraserhead' and 'Twin Peaks' are strong cult films [and TV series], 'Blue Velvet' was a heavy blip on the timeline of American cinema. Certainly without it such films as 'American Beauty' wouldn't have come about, although that's not to say that this film is anything like that... Lynch's vision of the darkness beneath suburban USA and the human psyche is much darker and explicit.
It all starts with the discovery of a severed human ear in a field and spirals downward from there into a psychosexual thriller involving some of the best characterization I've ever seen, especially by Denis Hopper who is FANTASTIC as the evil Frank Booth. Simply put, this is a film you will NOT forget and will haunt your thoughts long afterwards. It's dark, it's elaborate, it's Lynch.
on 19 March 2011
David Lynch's Blue Velvet is a fantastic film and I recommend it highly. Thematically, the film concerns itself with desire, fantasy and violence. It is directed with thought and skill. The plot concerns a young man, Jeffrey Beaumont, who discovers a severed ear. This leads him, partly through his own unstoppable curiosity, to discover a dark underworld that coexists with his innocent and friendly town. Along the way he is assisted by the local detective's daughter Sandy, he discovers a strange young woman named Dorothy, and encounters a sinister and perverted individual named Frank Booth. Throughout the film, Jeffrey attempts to understand the meaning of the detached ear, and its connection to both Dorothy and Frank. But by pursuing this mystery, Jeffrey discovers a number of terrible truths and is himself caught up in this dark underworld.
Lynch's film depicts two worlds: on the one hand, there is the all-too-perfect world of Lumberton, with its white picket-fences and smiling firemen; on the other hand, there is the dark underworld of Frank Booth and his associates. Lynch stylistically separates these worlds through several contrasts: Lumberton is mostly presented in daylight and in reassuring places such as the family home or the school; whereas the underworld is presented at night and in places such as a nightclub and a seedy home belonging to one of Frank's associates. Each world, though, is structured according to fantasy: Lumberton's fantasies revolve around family life, education and dating, whilst Frank's world centres on intoxication, adrenaline, and sex.
Whilst it is tempting to see Lynch's world in terms of a good place and a corrupt underworld, this would leave out Dorothy and the mini-world of her apartment. It would also be hard to maintain such an interpretation in light of the fairly obvious satirical elements. Lumberton is depicted with heavy doses of irony: the smiling, waving fireman and his dog aboard the fire engine; the too-perfect red roses; and the billboard depicting the friendly town of Lumberton. But Dorothy and her apartment represent the biggest problem of interpretation here. Her space is dark, disturbing and the scene of two very different sexual encounters: Frank's and Jeffrey's. This world sits uneasily between Lumberton and Frank's underworld. It is neither too-perfect nor typically (and thus reassuringly) dark. It is a mini-world, a liminial space, a void. It is the place not of fantasy, but of pure desire. It is for this reason that it haunts Jeffrey and Frank, and by extension us.
Although both Frank and Jeffrey are made anxious by Dorothy and her apartment, each responds in a different way. Frank's fantasised sexual encounters with her are a means of violently repressing her sexual otherness (embodied in his repression of her gazing at him), whilst Jeffrey tries to place himself in the role of saviour, rescuing her from Frank and returning her son to her. However, despite both attempts, Dorothy still troubles both Frank and Jeffrey. There is a particularly poignent moment in the film when Dorothy breaks from her liminal space of pure desire and invades Sandy's innocent home. At this moment, desire invades Sandy's fantasy space and she cannot control herself, breaking into tears.
This is one of Lynch's great gifts to cinema (which he has repeated a number of times, albeit with differences): his stylistic and thematic choice of presenting the worlds of desire and fantasy separately. Unlike other films by Lynch, such as Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet ends on a quasi-happy note (though with plenty of irony still). Jeffrey vanquishes his enemy Frank, Dorothy's son is returned to her, and Jeffrey and Sandy live happily ever after. However, those ironic elements have the last say in the film: the fireman, the roses and that ludicrous robin almost smiling at Jeffrey and Sandy, and by extension us. The film is thus disturbingly hilarious and I found myself laughing at the end on some occassions, though with a sinister feeling too.
A note on the DVD: I strongly warn people not to buy the version published by Prism Leisure. This version is by far the worst available. It is watchable, but if possible I recommend getting a different copy. The version released by Sanctuary Visual Entertainment, which is a 2-disc edition and region free, is an excellent version of the film. It has both stereo and 5.1 surround sound options, two documentaries and a nice 16 page booklet.
on 15 February 2003
I rarely comment about DVD quality unless there is a glaring issue. In the case of this DVD, there are several. The sound track is extremely, extremely important in this film; much of the dialogue is played at near-whisper and the sound effects are much more important to the impact of the film than in most others. Unfortunately, the sound quality here is just muddy enough to undercut the overall effect. The visuals are also surprisingly weak, heavy with digital pixilation that is particularly noticeable in the film's shadowy scenes--of which there are a great many. As for the bonus material, any one purchasing this "special edition" for them may be disappointed: the documentary is so-so (and I might add that the picture quality there is often flatly atrocious), but the "deleted scenes" indicated are simply not there. These scenes have never been recovered, and the DVD offers only a handful of sequences recreated from still photographs and without dialogue of any kind. Although I am not a great fan of David Lynch per se, I do indeed recognize the importance and influence of both this film and his overall vision, and frankly BLUE VELVET deserves much better than it receives here.
All of that said--I saw this film in its first theatrical release, and at the time I did not like it; it struck me as incredibly pretentious and wildly derrivative of numerous European directors, particularly of Hitchcock, Bunuel and Fellini. (Indeed, I recall remarking to a friend that it was very much like Fellini meets Chuck Waters.) I had no intention of revisiting the film until a friend expressed an interest in seeing it--and so, rather reluctantly, I agreed to sit through it one more time. And on this occasion I was pleasantly surprised. It wears extremely well.
That is not to say that there are not problems with the film. Kyle MacLachlan is a remarkably wooden actor; the plot frequently falls apart; and Lynch's bursts of surrealism are occasionally miscalculated and actually tend to get in the way of any coherent statement. But what BLUE VELVET does well, it does very, very well indeed. The story is a bit convoluted, but in general it concerns a young man (the eternally wooden MacLachlan) who comes home from university when his father is taken ill. While walking to the hospital he discovers a severed human ear--and when the police fail to give him information re his discovery his own curiosity leads him into investigation. His investigations center on beautiful singer Dorothy Vallen (Isabella Rossellini), who is rumored to be involved with local underworld figures--and in the process he becomes directly involved with both Vallen and the dark forces that surround her.
David Lynch uses this storyline as the hook on which to hang his dark statements about the nature of sexual awakening, moral choice, and the deadly evil to which we strive to remain oblivious but which nonetheless lurks very close to the surface of otherwise ordinary lives. And while many aspects of the film can be justly criticized, in this the film is entirely--and unnervingly--successful. In BLUE VELVET, sex and violence are ruthlessly connected, and both are forever simmering just under the skin.
At the time of its release, and even today, BLUE VELVET was extremely, extremely controversial for its nightmarish depiction of sexual attraction and violence--and deservedly so, for the film repeatedly focuses on a horrific sexual humiliation of the mysterious Dorothy Vallen by the predators that surround her; the rape sequence (which is genuinely horrific), her endurance of repeated physical and sexual assault, her sado-masochistic edge that implies a certain complicity in her own abuse are front and center throughout the film and is all deeply disturbing. Strangely, however, the film contains considerably less nudity and graphic violence than one might expect; much of the effect arises more from the on-going dark, surrealistic visuals and disquieting sound effects than from any one single scene.
With the exception of MacLaughlin, the cast is very fine here. Laura Dern has seldom been so effectively used in any film as she is here, but the real standouts are Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper; Rossellini was a relative newcomer at the time, but she gives an incredible performance, and Hopper virtually re-invented his languishing career in the role of her psychotic tormenter, and Dean Stockwell's against-type cameo was so startling that it drew tremendous critical fanfare.
But now we come to the final question. Do I like the film? No. Even though I can now watch it and appreciate it, and although I certainly recognize its importance and influence, and although I grant it status as art, I still do not like BLUE VELVET and I remain dubious about director David Lynch in general. It seems to me that he lacks the discipline to create a cohesive statement. But do I recommend it? Absolutely. Those who admire Lynch admire him with a passion, and you may be among those. And even if you are not--BLUE VELVET is an important film in so many respects that no one seriously interested in film can afford to miss seeing it at least once.
on 17 August 2002
I remember my parents watching Twin Peaks when I was little and we had the soundtrack, a haunting, melodious collection of music that had me spellbound when I first heard it. However it wasn't till I was older and saw Blue Velvet that David Lynch began to take over my mind. . .
If you've never seen David Lynch this is a good place to start as it has a combination of his trademark obscurity (seen perhaps best in Eraserhead, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks FWWM) and a reasonably linear structure (though not as coherent as The Straight Story), so incorporating some of the finest techniques of his work. The plot is bizarre, complex and perverse leaving unanswered questions and disturbing imagery firmly impressioned on the mind. Blue Velvet creates a remarkably hokey smalltown American town and explores the sinister mechanics behind the seemingly placid facade. No one else can combine tacky diners, convenience stores, picket fences and tweeting robins with the sadomasochistic underworld quite like Lynch can.
Watch it and you'll never forget it. Watch any more of his films and you'll never think about cinema the same again!!
on 14 October 2012
David Lynch's Blue Velvet is a masterpiece. For those who haven't seen the film, be prepared for a cinematic experience that you rarely come across nowadays. For those who have seen the film, be prepared for a fantastic restoration in this Blu-Ray. It looks stunning.
Blue Velvet follows Jeffrey Beaumont, who after finding a severed human ear, stumbles upon a horrific underworld lying beneath his idyllic suburban home town.
When diving into a David Lynch film, you have to be prepared to roll with whatever is presented to you. I remember after the first time I saw Blue Velvet I was just stunned, I couldn't quite work out what I was feeling. It stirred me in a way that I couldn't put into words. The film is mesmerizing. It completely absorbs the viewer with the story, the direction, the cinematography, the acting, you will not be able to look away.
Isabella Rossellini is fantastic as the fragile and broken Dorothy Vallens. Also a mention to Dennis Hopper as the terrifying Frank Booth.
The Blu-Ray is great. The film comes alive in a completely new way with the HD transfer. I felt like I was watching it for the first time again. The special features are good, not in HD, but very interesting content.
For those who haven't seen the film, please give it go.
Everyone who loves the film already, don't hesitate to buy this fantastic Blu-Ray.
on 25 December 2011
This isn't a review as such, as I imagine that most movie buffs will have already made up their mind whether or not they like Blue Velvet and want to spring for a blu-ray. But praise to this 25th Anniversary edition for a splendid transfer of the film itself and some truly eye-opening extras, not least almost a full hour of deleted scenes. And bear in mind that these aren't a bunch of scrappy outtakes made up of grainy workprint footage - we're talking fully-formed sequences that have been edited and scored.
No, my main reason for writing this review is just to forewarn anyone buying the disc that it has a very peculiar design. There is no main menu and when you play the disc it just jumps straight into the movie. If you then press the menu button, it says there isn't one. Took me a good 15 minutes of fumbling around to figure out how to access the extras. Basically, you let the film start playing, then press the 'Up' arrow on your handset and a pop-up menu appears that asks if you want to continue watching the film or go to the extras, then you use the other arrows to navigate through the extras while the film continues to play under the pop-up menu. Once you've selected an extra by pressing 'Enter', the movie stops and you jump to your selection.
I've never come across a menu selection quite as weird as this - in fact, for a while I was convinced the disc was defective! So full marks for the movie and extras, points lost for the baffling disc design.
on 9 March 2004
The term post modernism is used so loosely these days, David Lynch however secures the winning title of a post modern piece of film.
A mixture of narcotic fuelled sex and violence, drugs and alcohol abuse contrasted with the aesthetics of a 1940/1950`s exterior. The stranger would think nothing of this little town within America but look through the voyeuristic eyes of Jeffrey and you will be sucked into a world not even you could imagine.
This film isn`t for the faint hearted but is a genuine masterpiece from the movie genius that is David Lynch.