David Lynch, consumer watchdog?
The legendary director has been known for being particular about the quality of his home entertainment releases in the past, and now he’s voicing his displeasure with a new release of one of his classics.
“Dear Twitter Friends,” Lynch wrote. “A Blu-ray of LOST HIGHWAY will be released very soon. It was made from old elements and NOT from a restoration of the original negative. I hope that a version from the restoration of the original negative will happen as soon as possible.”
“Lost Highway” has never received a Blu-ray release in the U.S. The only Blu-ray available on Amazon for purchase is a Region 2 release. The reason for this is that Lynch has been extremely exacting when it comes to delivering the highest possible sound and image quality for the home entertainment releases of his films. Some of his movies in took a bit longer to reach DVD, as a result, and often with unusual stipulations: his DVD releases often come without chapter breaks because Lynch believes a film is meant to be experienced as a temporal whole in the time allotted and should not be paused or broken up. The experience of its running length itself is as important as the sound and image.
That ex-U.S. “Lost Highway” release was overseen by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, for which Lynch presumably gave up some of his right to curate its technical specifications. The fact he appears to have lost control of its initial U.S. release is surprising. But a possible explanation may be that its original distributor, October Films, was bought by Universal and then shuttered in 1999.
Lynch’s last major work was “Twin Peaks: The Return,” which aired across 18 hour-long episodes on Showtime in 2018. Many consider it among the finest works of his career, with Jim Jarmusch going so far as to call it the best American film of the decade. The Criterion Channel is currently hosting a retrospective of several of his features — but “Lost Highway” is not one of them. Arriving halfway between “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and his G-rated Disney film “The Straight Story,” “Lost Highway” starred Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, and Balthazar Getty — plus a stunning supporting cast that included Robert Blake, Richard Pryor, Robert Loggia, Gary Busey, and Marilyn Manson.
IndieWire has reached out to a representative for Lynch for further elaboration on his “Lost Highway” comments.