Criterion‘s May releases already had cinephiles counting down the months till its arrival with a wealth of stellar titles, including David Lynch‘s “Blue Velvet,” Michael Haneke‘s “Funny Games” and Claire Denis‘ “Let the Sunshine In.” It’s such a strong lineup that we’re packing our lunches to save money to buy them all. But the latest news around the release of Lynch’s masterpiece make May seem that much farther away. Indiewire reports that not only will “Blue Velvet” receive the standard Criterion Collection treatment with the immaculate print and glorious extras we’ve come to expect, but it will also include an astounding 51 minutes of lost footage, including the original introduction of Kyle MacLachlan‘s Jeffrey Beaumont.
Rather than first meeting Jeffrey en route to visit his father in the hospital, this deleted scene immediately puts the protagonist into the darker underworld of Lumberton. It’s literally underground, where Jeffrey indulges those voyeuristic tendencies we see later in the film, but this time in a basement where he observes a sex act. This, as well as the other deleted scenes and alternate takes, will be included on the Blu-Ray under the simple but weighty title “The Lost Footage,” and they’ve been compiled by the director.
Lynch discussed the footage almost a decade ago, saying:
“You know, there is a thing called b-negative, or outtakes, or lifts, that don’t make it into the film. And in the old days, those things sat around and maybe became dangerously close to being tossed away. So, one day I looked into seeing where the [‘Blue Velvet’] lifts were because some of these scenes on their own would be beautiful to see again . . . Lately, those have been found. Somewhere up in Seattle. It’s incredible. I’m seeing stuff I thought was gone forever.”
For those who haven’t seen the film, it follows MacLachlan’s Beaumont as he experiences the seedy underbelly of his peaceful small town of Lumberton. He meets a captivating nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), who must do everything sadistic crime boss Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) asks for the safety of her family.
For those who have seen “Blue Velvet,” May cannot come soon enough.