One of the most exciting titles in Criterion's list of upcoming May releases is Blue Velvet. Over 30 years after it originally hit theaters in 1986, David Lynch's surreal neo-noir is joining the Criterion Collection with a new 4K digital restoration, a 70-minute documentary on the making of his cult classic, and numerous other special features – including, most notably, 51 minutes of previously lost footage. As IndieWire notes, Lynch first revealed the existence of this footage back in 2011, when the enigmatic director told KCRW that he'd discovered a rough cut of the film:
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.
That footage was actually included as part of the special features on the 25th anniversary edition of Blue Velvet, released on Blu-ray in 2011, though its existence was barely publicized. The unused footage features a different introduction for Kyle MacLachlan's protagonist, Jeffrey Beaumont: In the theatrical version, we meet Jeffrey as he's on his way to visit his dad in the hospital, but in the unused version, Jeffrey is introduced as he spies on a sex scene in a basement. Along with the 70-minute documentary and a feature-length exploration of the film and its themes hosted by filmmaker Peter Braatz, this previously lost footage makes the upcoming Criterion edition the definitive must-have for Lynchophiles.