Only seven months after releasing the second season of the David Lynch/Mark Frost television landmark Twin Peaks, Paramount Home Video has delivered the rumored comprehensive, 10-disc set Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition. While purchasers of season two may righteously feel peeved at needing to reopen their purses so soon, there’s no question that this is the Holy Grail for Twin Peaks fanatics.
Not surprisingly, what it doesn’t include is Lynch’s 1992 prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which really is a separate, stand-alone work – so different in tone that many fans (myself included) initially dismissed it. But the set does seem to be an obsessively complete record of the TV show: Among the extras are such trivia as 12 on-air promos and eight bumper variations (“Twin Peaks will be back after these commercials”).
What makes the new release absolutely necessary, even for those who purchased the individual season sets, is the inclusion of the pilot episode, never before available on American DVD. (There was an easily obtainable Taiwanese import that was one of the two or three worst transfers I’ve ever seen.) And even the American VHS version of the pilot was the so-called “international version” – made as a contractual obligation – in which the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder is ludicrously solved in an extra 20 minutes of tacked-on footage (the most interesting parts of which Lynch later cannibalized for the series).
Disc one contains both forms of the pilot: the broadcast version, aka the “correct” cut, and the international version, which is more of a creative curio than anything else. We also have the option of watching just the tacked-on material. The seven episodes of season one are on the next two discs; discs four through nine hold season two’s 22 episodes. Disc nine also has four deleted scenes that don’t add up to much; they are basically fragments of a subplot centering on Audrey Horne’s disturbed brother that was discarded.
The rest of the extras are on the final disc. You get the two Twin Peaks bits from Kyle MacLachlan’s stint hosting Saturday Night Live; the music video of Julee Cruise’s “Falling,” the show’s theme; and a 20-minute tour of the 2006 Twin Peaks Festival. Notable among these “minor” extras are four bizarre commercials that Lynch and the cast did for a Japanese coffee company.
Lynch – who prefers not to comment directly on his work – has been utterly absent from the earlier box sets. Here, he shows up in a sweet half-hour short called A Slice of Lynch; basically, it’s the director reminiscing about the show with MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick and production associate John Wentworth. It’s down-to-earth, except for the goofy framing device: Lynch is sitting at a dimly lit lunch counter, having coffee and cherry pie, when he enters some sort of dream state where the others suddenly appear.
Along with A Slice of Lynch, the big deal is Secrets From Another Place, a feature-length documentary about the show, divided into three half-hour sections (one for the pilot and one for each season) and a 17-minute look at the music, acknowledging the inestimable contribution of composer Angelo Badalamenti.
Director Charles de Lauzirika talks to nearly all the key cast members and behind-the-scenes people, the most notable absentee being Lynch himself. (Mark Frost picks up a lot of the slack.) There is plenty of info, some of it new; and there are numerous cases where participants’ conflicting memories are juxtaposed. In particular, MacLachlan repeats his long-standing explanation about why the proposed Cooper/Audrey romance was jettisoned, while several others drop tantalizing hints about what really happened. (And if anyone knows the truth, please e-mail me.)
The set provides the choice of a 5.1 mix or the original broadcast stereo; sound and image are both terrific, with Lynch himself signing off on all of it.