MGM and Fox present David Lynchís Blue Velvet in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this dual-layer disc in a new 1080p/24hz transfer.
I was previously fairly pleased with the DVDís presentation but this new Blu-ray still manages to offer a significant improvement. Lynch apparently looked over this transfer and I think that shows overall. The transfer looks to have had some noise reduction done but I think overall the image remains sharp and crisp, allowing for some stronger, fine details, and film grain is noticeable but not at all heavy. I believe Lynch was going for a softer look for the film so I canít say anything truly pops like one might expect from a high-def transfer, but this is certainly the sharpest and cleanest Iíve seen the film. Colours look absolutely wonderful, with sharp, crisp blues, and perfectly rendered reds, with no distortion or noise present. Blacks can be a bit washed but in general theyíre fairly deep and detail manages to hold up rather well.
The print is also in spotless condition and I cannot recall a blemish of any sort. Also, other than maybe some mild noise in some low lit sequences I donít recall anything in the way of artifacts. In all this is a nice, film-like transfer, and a large step up from the previous DVD edition. 8/10
All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.
MGM carries over (and improves upon!) all of the supplements found on the original MGM special edition DVD, starting with the 71-minute documentary called Mysteries of Love, which is a retrospective piece gathering together members of the cast and crew including, but not limited to, Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. Not surprisingly Lynch is missing except from older clips, but despite his absence we still get a strong look at the making of the film from its early inception, its actual shoot, and then release. Itís an entertaining if not overly remarkable documentary, not offering much in the way of insight into the film (though maybe it was unfair to expect some), but like most MGM documentaries itís incredibly thorough and engaging.
What should have most fans excited is the newly found lost footage, discovered recently and compiled together by Lynch exclusively for this edition. The old DVD edition presented its own deleted scenes feature but it was made up of stills and text descriptions since the footage was thought to be lost. But now we get 51-minutes of actual footage edited together, giving an idea of a completely different flow and feel to the film. A lot of the excised footage deals with Jeffreyís old college life, particularly his having to leave it because of his dadís health, and then thereís more involving him and Sandy. Looking to have been edited in order it basically would have added another 45-minutes or so to the first half of the film (before Jeffreyís joyride with Frank) except for one scene, shown first and out of sequence, which involves Frank taking Jeffrey to a bar with the scene concluding with a stripper lighting her nipples on fire, or so I think. Itís interesting to see how this film could have been but I feel Lynch was probably right in cutting most of this material. The current opening works so much better at putting the viewer off guard and the extra exposition would have ruined that, plus some of the scenes would have brought the film to a crawl, though maybe that would have made the ďjoyrideĒ even more frightening and unexected. At any rate itís here and, surprisingly, itís not only given a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track but itís also presented in 1080p with a high bitrate and looks to have been restored: the scenes almost look as good as the filmís presentation. (In a nice touch Lynch ends the scenes with a cast list of all of those who participated, but apologizes in a note about how he was unable to find the names of all of those involved.)
Another new addition (and also presented in 1080p) are a minute and a half of outtakes, which contain a couple of mildly amusing goofs but sadly can probably be skipped. Still, itís odd to think of such a feature for a David Lynch film.
Carried over from the DVD edition is a one and a half minute clip from Siskel & Ebert featuring the two critics arguing briefly about the film, Ebert calling it trash because of what it subjected its actors to, and then Siskel defending and praising it, informing Ebert heís taking it too personally. A nice touch though I do wish Lynch had included the full segment.
Vignettes presents four quick clips that I assume were excised from the documentary, starting with a 22-second archival clip where Lynch talks about his favourite combo at McDonaldís, a 55-second clip of MacLachlan talks about the chicken walk, a 90-second discussion about getting the robin at the end, and then a 45-second clip with Rossellini defending the film from criticisms of misogyny. Surprised these didnít make it to the doc as they do prove interesting, but I guess they donít really fit neatly into it. At least MGM includes them.
The disc then closes with a theatrical trailer and 2 TV spots.
In the end it still manages to be another improvement over the previous DVD. It includes everything found there and then adds on the extensive collection of deleted material, edited together in such a way that it manages to show us how different the film could have been. While more scholarly material would have been great, MGM and Lynch have done a nice enough job with it. 7/10