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DVD Review: Another brilliant shade of 'Blue Velvet'

November 12, 2011|By Andy Klein

Count me among those who consider David Lynch's “Blue Velvet” to be the greatest American film of the 1980s. (Sorry, “Raging Bull,” better luck next time.) There was a passable DVD release in 2000 and a much better “Special Edition” in 2002.

Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, MGM has released a Blu-ray edition (with a DVD presumably to follow). It appears to be from the same hi-def transfer used for the 2002 DVD, but with the usual improvement in clarity and detail that Blu-ray's higher definition allows. “Mysteries of Love” — the fine 70-minute restrospective documentary made for the 2002 release — is ported over (not boosted to Blu-ray resolution), as are a few other minor extras.

That's dandy, but the real news flash here is the inclusion of 51 minutes of deleted scenes, thankfully not reintegrated into the final cut, but presented on their own. And it's not the kind of rough, unmixed footage that is often dredged up as a home video extra. Lynch has gone to great pains to resurrect these orphans to match the technical quality of the film itself. They could have been reintegrated almost seamlessly, if Lynch had had the urge, which (wisely) he didn't. Most of these sections are large blocks of five to 10 minutes; and in every case Lynch was correct to remove them — not because they're inferior, but rather because they unnecessarily slow down the action.

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In the film, for example, the opening Idyllic Small Town montage is followed almost directly by Jeffrey visiting his father and then discovering the severed ear. Now we get to see more than 10 minutes of unnecessary exposition and plot movement, including some significant moments that we never knew we had missed. If anything, their removal made the film more richly ambiguous. Nonetheless, there are several wonderful scenes that must have been hard to cut: This is really a great anniversary present for fans.

ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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