Sometimes you form a relationship with a film that changes over the years based on expectations and experiences. Sometimes you like the film. Sometimes you hate it. Often things are complicated, but you just can’t stop watching it every few years. Such is my viewing affair with David Lynch’s Wild At Heart. I was lucky enough to see a preview in early August of 1990. It was a hot summer night and they people hosting the screening gave me a Wild At Heart t-shirt that said, “Hotter Than Georgia Asphalt.” After the success of Twin Peaks, there were major expectations when the lights went down in the theater. When the lights came back up, I sat there pondering so much of the film. The weirdness was in complete overdrive. I even bought Barry Gifford’s novel to get an insight into the weirdness only to realize that anything normal in the film was taken from his pages. The weirdness was pure Lynch. Over the years I’ve rewatched the movie on VHS, DVD and even 35mm. Each viewing I embrace more of the film. The release of Wild At Heart: Collector’s Edition has me passionate about the film thanks to 76 more minutes of scenes
Sailor (Valley Girl‘s Nicolas Cage) gets out of prison years after he killed a man. It wasn’t Sailor’s fault since the guy struck first, but the law didn’t care. He’s excited to get back in touch with his girlfriend Lula (Blue Velvet‘s Laura Dern). But Lula’s mother (Chinatown‘s Laura Dern) doesn’t want Sailor anywhere near her daughter. That’s that reason she hired the killer-turned-corpse to attack Sailor. But there’s no stopping Lula from reuniting with Sailor. She brings him his convertible and snakeskin jacket. The jacket is important as Sailor explains to all, “This is a snakeskin jacket! And for me it’s a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom.” In order to be free, the duo hit the road even if it means breaking parole. Mama ain’t happy and sends her lover private detective Johnnie Farragut (Alien‘s Harry Dean Stanton) to track them down and bring back Lula. Just for safety, she also pays Marcello Santos (J. E. Freeman) to kill Sailor. Can their love overcome that much action on the road? Can they survive the arrival of Bobby Peru (Platoon‘s Willem Dafoe)?
That’s a description of the normal elements of the film. There’s a lot of weirdness on the screen including Crispin Glover, the mysterious Mr. Reindeer, a bloody armed robbery and lots of Wizard of Oz references. Among my frustrations when I saw the film was Nic Cage’s doing the entire film with an Elvis’s accent and mannerisms. It also felt bad that Lynch opens the film in North Carolina yet really shot in Los Angeles. He had made Blue Velvet in Wilmington, N.C. Now he was faking the state in Hollywood. But I’ve changed my attitude on these two items. The budget was rather low so Lynch couldn’t drag the crew to the East Coast. More importantly I’ve embraced Cage’s performance as essential to the film. Blue Velvet was referred to as “The Hardy Boys go to Hell.” Wild At Heart is the Elvis road movie where the King of Rock goes down the Highway to Hell.
The passionate relationship between Sailor and Lula feels more intense than when I saw the preview of the film. They are connected so deeply. He will do anything to protect her because she means that much to him. And getting to see the 76 minutes of deleted scenes has fleshed out their bond. Nearly three decades later, Wild At Heart has made a deeper connection with me.
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the details in Sailor’s jacket. Frederick Elmes’ cinematography is pops during intense scenes. Audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. Both mixes bring out the road trip that gets weirder by the minute. The movie is subtitled.
Deleted Scenes (76:10) is a treasure trove of missing moments that flesh out odd moments. Crispin Glover’s character does more than expected. Nick sings in a hotel. Luckily we get more time with Harry Dean Stanton. Tracey Walter (Repo Man) gets picked up hitchhiking by Sailor and Lulu. The resolution is all over the place, but you just want to see them. It’s up there with The Blue Velvet outtakes.
Interview With Novelist Barry Gifford (30:06) is amazing in that author enjoys what Lynch did to his book. He talks about the crazy world around Sailor and Lula.
Uncensored Bobby Peru Scene (0:44) is what Lynch had to alter to get an R rating instead of NC-17. It’s pretty nasty.
Love, Death, Elvis and Oz: The Making of Wild At Heart (29:52) comes from the original DVD release. Lynch, Dern, Cage, Dafoem Gifford and others revisit the film and their choices in the film.
Dell’s Lunch Counter: Extended Interviews (21:06) is more from the previous feature. Gifford talks how the book came to him while staying near the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.
Specific Spontaneity: Focus On David Lynch (7:16) has the actors and cinematographer talk about working with David Lynch on the set.
Lynch On The DVD Process (2:46) has the director talk about color correcting and timing.
Original 1990 Making Of EPK (6:55) has the moments they’d send out to shows and TV stations to make a fake interview with Lynch and the cast.
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:52) shows the passion of two lovers being kept apart by an angry mother.
TV Spots (1:08) sells the film as from the guy behind Twin Peaks.
Image Gallery (2:11) is a montage of production shots and promotional material.
Shout! Factory presents Wild At Heart: Collector’s Edition. Directed by David Lynch. Screenplay by: David Lynch. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Crispin Glover, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini & Harry Dean Stanton. Rated: R. Running Time: 124 minutes. Released: August 21, 2018.
Tags: David Lynch, Nic Cage, Shout Select, Wild at Heart