Spanning 1966 through 1995, these are six short features covering David Lynch’s career from is very beginning to his current position as one of the most important voices in American cinema. The shorts are, in order: “Six Men Getting Sick,” “The Alphabet,” “The Grandmother,” “The Amputee” (two versions), “The Cowboy & The Frenchman” and “Lumière.” As one might expect from Lynch, there is a pretty heavy nightmare quotient here. The first three films have a lot of animation, and the result is n…t unlike the hallucinatory collaboration between Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and Norman MacLaren. The most substantial piece here is “The Grandmother,” a half-hour journey through a little boy’s hell and the grandmother he grows to protect him from his horrible parents. Lynch introduces each film, contextualizing it in his life and career, and there are shots of her first camera, the receipt for it, and the like. For Lynch fans, this is essential viewing. For film historians, ditto.
The audio is fine. When Lynch is speaking, the voice reproduction is perfectly clear. The rest of the time, the sound quality is dependent on the source material. Bear in mind that the early movies were made for next-to-nothing and are up to forty years old, so that they sound as good and as distortion-free as they do is actually rather amazing.
Amazing, too, is the fact that material such as “Six Men Getting Sick” is in watchable form at all, let alone looking as good as it does here. The photograph of Lynch’s first camera has some artifacting, but otherwise the grain and whatnot visible in the new footage is deliberate, and transfers of the actual films are very good indeed, with striking colours and black-and-white tones. Most of the prints, as mentioned, are in very good shape. “The Amputee” looks pretty rough, but one can’t expect miracles.
None as such, apart from a TV calibration option and the choice to play each movie separately or all of them as one program. Lynch’s introductions more than make up for this absence, though. The menu is scored, and its transitions are animated and scored.
A true delight (if one can say this about the cavalcade of nightmares one witnesses here).
Special Features List
- Introductions by David Lynch
- TV Calibration