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4.5 out of 5 stars71
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on January 29, 2016
Great film, interested to see that Chaney's Phantom was linked to Adolf Hitler throughout the film. Clearly, the filmmakers correctly realized already by 1924 that Hitler was a horrific menace...Yipe!:>)
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on May 1, 2004
Over the years, I have just about bought every version of the silent PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. In my opinion, the Milestone version is THE BEST. The elements have been cleaned up and the image is crisp, clear with good contrast for 90% of the film. This two disc set has both the 1929 and hybrid 1925 original. Actually the film is cleaner and better looking in this version than a lot of the official Universal thirties classic that have come out.
It has an excellent commentary by Scott MacQueen and a real treat is hearing the music originally composed for the sound version accompanying the action from original sound elements.
The Technicolor sequences are the nicest I have seen and through proper use of the colorization process, other scenes originally in color, are presented and match the actual color stuff very well.
This version has been made from the initial Photoplay restoration which also includes Carl Davis' original stereo score for those that must have modern stereo for their films, however, I prefer the mood and music of the original '30 soundtrack. There are a plethora of extras, and I don't think it is false hype to say this is the ULTIMATE EDITION of this classic film.
That's my two cents.....
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This blu-ray has three versions of the Phantom of the Opera. It has the original 1925 (114min) version which was copied from a 16mm source, and then two versions of the 1929 reissue with one presented at 24 frames per second(78min) and the other at 20 frames per second(92min). Both of the 1929 films are the same film but run for different lengths because of the variation in the film speeds, however the 24 frames per second film has also been remastered even better than the 20 frames per second film and looks simply amazing, though don't expect all of the scratches and oxidizing markings to be completely removed. This film is lucky to be around at all given the volatile stock which was used for this film and others from this era. The original 1925 film is the roughest looking by far, but also shows the original film in its entirety. The 1929 films were reedited, with other parts refilmed, like a portion of the ballet sequence. The 20 frame per second version also comes with an excellent commentary by Dr. Jon Mirsalis, and an orchestral score by Gabriel Thibaudeau. The 24 frames per second film version comes with Gaylord Carter's organ score or a brand new score by the Alloy Orchestra which is very good, and moody/creepy. The 1929 versions are colour tinted, with the famous "Bal Masque" sequence in Technicolor, and other segments hand colored, which is quite striking and an unexpected surprise. This is an excellent blu-ray which has been wonderfully remastered.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 18, 2015
This is for the new(2015) Kino two disc edition of the Phantom of the Opera.Kino of course issues nothing but quality releases and should be commended for another fine job here with the Phantom.
The story is by now a well known one.The Paris Opera House sits over the multi-layered catacombs of passages long closed,but with their own sinister histories.The House itself is being sold to new owners who,after sale,hear of its' possible association with a phantom ghost that frequents its floors.The opera's main contralto has received lettered threats from this phantom not to sing in its upcoming show,but to let a new up and comer do so,Christine Daee'. She does so, to much acclaim and rebukes her boyfriends pleas to marry him,telling him she must stay true to her art.However what he does not realize is that she has been getting help from a mysterious cloaked figure behind the scenes,and it is he that has propelled her career to the heights it is now.
The Phantom one day decides it is time that Christine meet him in person,and he does so by telling her to walk into her dressing room mirror.Once through she finds herself in the catacombs and facing a cloaked but masked figure.She is repelled by his visage but he pleads with her not to judge her by his appearance but by his love for her and her career.He takes her far below the Opera House to his lair.There he keeps her, warning her not to touch his mask.When she wakes the next day she finds him playing the organ.She listens but cannot control her urge to see what is under the mask.When she lifts it he stands and turns.She is horrified,falls to the floor and can barely speak.After much pleading the Phantom eventually relents and allows her to return to the Opera House above.But he warns that she must never see her boyfriend again.
Once back above Christine sends for her boyfriend and asks him to rescue her from the Phantom's grip.During a grand ball at the Opera House the Phantom appears dressed in a bright red cape and wearing the mask of death.He spies the two together and leaves.Later on the Opera roof the two talk and agree to leave after that night's performance.However the Phantom is above listening and will kibosh the plan.
Acting proactively,he snatches her during the performance after people's attention are focused on the huge chandelier which has fallen into the stunned crowd below(his doing of course).He takes her back down to his lair and fends off attempts by would be rescuers.One of them is her boyfriend,whom she saves by agreeing to stay with the Phantom forever.However a frenzied mob also in pursuit of the girl and her captor rush his lair and he is forced to flee with Christine in a carriage above.During his getaway Christine is thrown free and the carriage goes but a little further until a wheel comes loose and the Phantom is at the mercy of the crowd.He at first keeps them at bay with a clutched hand,feigning that he has an explosive in it.When he reveals an empty hand,laughing madly,the crowd pounces on him,works him over and throws his apparently lifeless body into the Seine river.
It is certainly a compelling story.The acting however can appear to be a bit too melodramatic at times and tends to interfere with the mood.Chaney,as always,is the center the movie pivots on and he is marvelous to behold.His costume changes and facial effects are astonishing even today,as was his acting.Just simple hand gestures signified so much when Chaney was in control.
This new two disc set includes really THREE versions of the Phantom.The 1929 re-release in a 20-fps or 24 fps,format.For me the 20 fps mimicked a more natural movement by all concerned ,so I found it the more pleasing of the two.It also includes the original 1925 version which really is the ONE to watch, as the re-release was edited slightly differently than the original, with the original much more explanatory with its characters and their relationship to each other.Remember though , the famous Technicolour sequence can only be found in the 1929 release.
All the prints can at times be"rough"looking,so one must consider their ages when viewing these films.
Extras include excerpts from the 1930 Sound Version(sound on disc,with only part of the film extant),the original trailer,the original screenplay,an interview with the composer of the new music track and two travelogue films from 1925 Paris.
All in all a wonderful re-release by Kino of the original Phantom of the Opera.As the market stands right now,THIS is the version to own.There just are not any better versions of this film anywhere,and there probably will not be for years to come.Highly recommended.
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on February 23, 2004
This DVD has restored the original 1925 and 1929 versions of Lon Chaney's incredible performance in "Phantom Of The Opera". It's got better sound quality and picture, uses sequences from the Charles Gounod French opera "Faust", dialogue and musical soundtrack/score. It's a must have for fans of Lon Chaney and for those who admire the art of early horror in cinema. Lon Chaney was the first, real horror film star. He was known in his day as "The Man With A Thousand Faces". His films were tinged with horror, violence (whether external or internal), and heavy tragedy and melancholia. He morphed into different characters by putting on layers and layers of costume and make-up. He could be everything from the tragic murderer-clown in "Laugh Clown Laugh" (inspired by the Leoncavallo opera "I Pagliacci") the hunchback Quasimodo in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and in this case the frightening living spectre in Phantom Of The Opera.
The Phantom Of The Opera was first a French novel. By the time of the 1925 and 1929 Lon Chaney film, it was already popular and a familiar story to many. Later, it would enjoy even more success in other film versions and even as a Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The simple but tragic story involves a pianist/organ player who was scarred for life in a fire in a theatre and forced to live under the new Paris Opera theatre. He has fallen in love with the soprano Christine. But he is feared and hated by those who work in the theatre- the ballerinas, conductor, musicians and singers ( who incidentally are rehearsing for performances of Gounod's Faust, an opera about the man who sold his soul to the Devil and regarded as Gothic and scary in its day) The sheer scale of suspense and horror in the film is tame by today's standards but it was great back then. It really is a film of great art. It would be a perfect addition to you're film collection. If you love Lon Chaney, this film is the one to get. You can always build upon Lon Chaney films since his movies are numerous. Five stars well earned.
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on November 3, 2003
This collector's edition provided my first opportunity to see the original 1925 release version. Wow! I had no idea how badly Universal mutilated the film for the 1929 sound re-issue - the version we're all familiar with! Most of the annoying continuity problems and other flaws I had assumed were caused by all the post-production tinkering Phantom went through before its general release were apparently inflicted on the film at the time of the re-issue. The 1925 version follows the novel more closely, scenes flow together more naturally, the characters' motivations are far more believable - heck, even the unmasking scene works better! Despite the less-than pristine visual quality of the source material, the 1925 version in this collection is by far the superior film.
That said, it was still a treat (in a campy kind of way) hearing the original sound track with the 1929 version, and the extra features are plentiful and worthwhile. The Ultimate Edition belongs in every Chaney/Phantom fan's collection.
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on October 22, 2003
For starters, I agree with all the positive things said about this 2-disc set.
Unfortunately, there a couple of things about the discs that just spoiled the whole experience for me and may do so with you.
First, there is a "motion blur" or "ghosting" artifact that runs throughout the 1929/30 restoration. It looks similar to what a transfer from PAL video format to NTSC video format looks like only more exaggerated (images appear to be overlapped or double--sometimes triple--exposed). During the unmasking, Chaney's face is unnecessarily blurred, even when using freeze frame and stepping through the scene frame by frame.
Milestone has acknowledged the "ghosting", attributing it to adjusting the frame rate of the film during transfer from video master to video master. Incidentally, the original video master was in PAL format and was converted to NTSC for US, but Milestone claims PAL to NTSC was not the cause. Since they performed the additional restoration/picture cleaning on the overly "ghosted" transfer, it became a trade-off as to whether to present the cleaned up version or the "unghosted" version. Why such extensive restoration was done to a video master with excessive motion blur is beyond me.
For some folks, this will be a minor thing. For others, it will be very distracting and cast a dark cloud over what looks like to be the cleanest 'print' of this movie in existence. I will be keeping the other Image DVD edition with the David Shepherd restoration.
Secondly, for the special features, the pause, fast forward, and reverse functions have been disabled. This can be a bit of a nuisance. For example, there is a 21 minute "restored version" of the films' original premiere utilizing stills and expository text. This I was excited about. However, unless you are a speed reader, you won't be able to read everything in one viewing. You can't pause it, or "rewind" to read what you missed. It is like trying to enjoy a book (both text and pictures) with someone else turning the pages for you. If you miss something, you have to start over from page one and go through again.
Again, some of you won't care about the motion blur one iota. Others will feel as I do: This disc should've been a contender but instead, it feels like a missed opportunity.
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on October 15, 2003
This 2 disc-set of milestone by far not only the best edition for the phantom of the opera,but also the finest restoration I have ever seen in my life for a movie. First,the 1929 version-Allow me to say it's tinting is great,the sharpness of the picture is by far the best I've ever seen,the orchestral score by carl davis makes you thrilled enough,and,of course-the 1929 soundtrack,makes this movie much more alive then ever.I admire the phantom's shdow voice quite much.the opera sequences are perfect,among everything else.I am so relieved now that I could finally hear the 1929 surviving soundtrack,he really is worth all the set.And as for the movie,allow me to say,best silent horror movie ever made,from the very reason that it's a horror film that also persents the hero not only as an eager beast,thanks to Lon Chnaey,the god of horror films ever,who knew how to bring life and soul to erik.
The 1925 version,allow me to say,shocked me.It was so fabolous!
There were such a wroth-watching scenes that it's a shame they were removed in 1929.This version,however,is closet to the book,has more plot,and looks much more intresting.Every phantom fan must have the 1925 original version.that is to say.
"THE MASTER SHALL LEAVE YOU YET-TO HIGHT OF IMMORTAL GLORY. THENCEFORTH-YOUR LIFE BELONGS TO HIM."
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on October 15, 2003
This 2 disc-set of milestone by far not only the best edition for the phantom of the opera,but also the finest restoration I have ever seen in my life for a movie. First,the 1929 version-Allow me to say it's tinting is great,the sharpness of the picture is by far the best I've ever seen,the orchestral score by carl davis makes you thrilled enough,and,of course-the 1929 soundtrack,makes this movie much more alive then ever.I admire the phantom's shdow voice quite much.the opera sequences are perfect,among everything else.I am so relieved now that I could finally hear the 1929 surviving soundtrack,he really is worth all the set.And as for the movie,allow me to say,best silent horror movie ever made,from the very reason that it's a horror film that also persents the hero not only as an eager beast,thanks to Lon Chnaey,the god of horror films ever,who knew how to bring life and soul to erik.
The 1925 version,allow me to say,shocked me.It was so fabolous!
There were such a wroth-watching scenes that it's a shame they were removed in 1929.This version,however,is closet to the book,has more plot,and looks much more intresting.Every phantom fan must have the 1925 original version.that is to say.
"THE MASTER SHALL LIVE YOU YET-TO HIGHT OF IMMORTAL GLORY. THENCEFORTH-YOUR LIFE BELONGS TO HIM."
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on October 8, 2003
Most videotapes, DVDs, and even LaserDiscs are silent prints of the 1929 reissue. Here we finally see the true original 1925 version. The 1925 version only exists in this DVD set and an old LaserDisc from Blackhawk Films. Also, we finally hear the audio for the reissue - the first time for this to be available anywhere.
Disc 1 has the 1930 reissue which has at least one difference from all of the other versions. There is no man with a lantern at the beginning. For me, that was how I used to identify the reissue. The Blackhawk Films and Alpha DVDs (as well as every videotape edition I've seen) have a scene with a man holding a lantern supposedly giving a prologue speech - with no audio track. This scene is not on this DVD from Milestone. This scene is not necessary so we aren't missing much. The box claims this is the 1929 edition. The commentary says this is the 1930 international version, which could explain the difference. Since the commentary is done by a film expert, I tend to trust that source more.
The image quality seems better than any other edition of this movie. The color tinting is nicely done. You have the options to listen to the restored audio of the reissue, a nice score by Carl Davis, or commentary by Scott MacQueen.
It's nice to finally hear the reissue as it was intended. Although it was probably interesting to audiences at the time, it comes across as a bit cheesy. It's almost camp. Most of the spoken dialogue is unnecessary and simply rephrase some of the titles. It almost turns it into a B-movie. It seems no different from all of these other, more recent movies getting updated with CGI effects. Here Universal was trying to cash in on the new technology of "talkies" by simply updating a hit movie from a few years earlier.
Disc 1 also has all of the usual extras such as trailers and photo galleries. The photos are not still frames. It is a presentation with each photo appearing on screen for a set time. There are also photo reconstructions of the Los Angeles and San Francisco premier versions. The reconstructions are a series of still images used to show what these versions may have been like. It's not on the same level as the reconstruction of London After Midnight shown on TCM. These are very basic.
Disc 2 has the 1925 domestic, general release version originally shown in New York. (There are three different 1925 editions.) I can only compare this to my Blackhawk Films LaserDisc. Ironicly, this DVD has a man holding a lantern at the beginning after the opening titles. This scene was not on the Blackhawk Films' LaserDisc. However, there are titles for his speech. There are no wonderful prints of the original 1925 edition so this version doesn't have the same sharp image as the prints of the reissue. This is about as good as you're going to see. The 1925 version has more titles and more plot. It does have a longer running time. You're told more about each character, while in 1929, you mainly just got the name and a very brief description. This is the only video edition of the 1925 version with a musical score. (The LaserDisc provided the 1925 print as an extra with no sound.)
The Lon Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera is the only film version to follow the original novel fairly closely. The Persian becomes Ledoux of the Secret Police in this movie, and the ending is very different. There were remakes produced in 1943 with Claude Rains, 1962 with Herbert Lom, 1983 with Maximilian Schell, 1989 with Robert England, 1991 with Charles Dance, and 1999 with Julian Sands.
It's amazing how many times this movie has been remade, but for me, the Lon Chaney version remains the best. This DVD gives you the best presentation of Chaney's version that I have found to date. I would recommend this DVD set to any fan of the story.
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