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5.0 out of 5 stars Milestone's The Ultimate Edition
This is a 2 disc collection. The films are colour tinted and total run time of the discs is 4 hrs 28 mins. An incredible set.

Disc 1 - 1929 restored version, 2 soundtracks including the original 1930 soundtrack edited to fit this version, commentary by Scott MacQueen, 1925 & 1930 theatrical trailers, stills gallery featuring deleted & missing scenes, bonus...
Published 3 months ago by Keith Little

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazon still shipping the defective product
May 2013 - I still received the Defective Blu-ray disc from 2 years ago instead of the fixed version. Amazon still has them in stock and is sending them to customers. There is an issue with the main menu and a slowdown on one of the dance scenes apparently. I was able to contact Image to get a replacement disc.
Published 13 months ago by Lafe Fredbjornson


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5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation!, Nov. 3 2003
By 
Kenneth L. Hayes "BC Ken" (Houston, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars An extra "ghost" in box 5 on the Milestone 2-disc set, Oct. 22 2003
By 
Charles Phelps (McKinney, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars best 1929 restoration,ever,ever,ever, Oct. 15 2003
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The best restoration of the 1929 version....ever,ever,ever., Oct. 15 2003
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! The True 1925 Version on DVD, Oct. 8 2003
By 
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2-DVD Milestone release, Oct. 1 2003
By 
W. Russell (Springfield, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
Not to repeat another reviewer's long but precise review, I want to add my recommendation of this most recent version of what is arguably Chaney's best work. What many fans don't realize is that the great unmasking scene was also filmed in color and is now missing. Stills of the original 1925 B&W unmasking show it from a slighly different angle. Chaney rejected the color version because the hot lights made the adhesive between his forehead and headpiece start to separate. But, ironically, it is the B&W version of the color footage that survives in both the 1925 and 1929 editions. It is a pity that the missing footage wasn't found fot his restoration. Maybe someday we'll get the version with sound dubbed in (except for Chaney who had died as well as no longer being with Universal). This set could have given us more of that while using the beautifully clear 1929 print. All in all, an excellent effort. If you have the past ones, this is better just as Kino's recent "Metropolis" is the one to have. Now it's time to settle back and enjoy the restored "The Man Who Laughs."
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2.0 out of 5 stars how to ruin a great movie, Oct. 1 2003
By 
desiree` (Ohio State University) - See all my reviews
The Phantom of the Opera is a great movie. My only bone to pick is the horrendous score in the alpha video edition. TPotO is a dark tale, it's a horror story for crying out loud and the score is happy, repetitive, and inappropriate. It sounds as if someone took a greatest classical hits cd and slapped on the movie. I can't complain too much because of the price, but still someone could have put a little thought and effort into it. The picture is amazing though. I enjoy the fullscreen version and the original black and white with the color masquerade scene.
bottom line: great movie, but find the best version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Milestone 2-disc DVD version, Sept. 30 2003
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
Although marred by static direction and stilted acting, the 1925 silent film THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is known primarily for the memorable contribution by Lon Chaney as an actor and makeup artist. His moving portrayal of the disfigured escaped convict who haunts Paris Opera House is perhaps the sole reason to watch this film. And his talent as a makeup artist helped create one of the most indelible images in film history: the skull-like head of the phantom that conveys sadness, anger, and horror at the same time. This Region-1-only 2-disc DVD set from The Milestone Company includes two versions of this classic film: the 1925 version that was premiered in New York, and the 1929 re-edited silent version that is most often seen today. The DVD also contains excellent supplements that give us a good overview of the film's rather remarkable history.
The rarely seen 1925 New York premiere version included on this DVD is untinted, runs 107 minutes, and was transferred from the only surviving 16mm reduction print. Its video quality is understandably poor; sharpness and clarity are never satisfactory, and blemishes abound. There are some notable differences between this version and the shorter, 93-min, 1929 re-edited version. In the 1925 version, actors are introduced via their own title cards. There is no "Carlotta's mother" character. Carlotta is played by Virginia Pearson in both the opera and the dramatic scenes. The chandelier sequence is edited more competently and thus played out a little more effectively. There are more scenes in Christine's dressing room, so adequate suspense is built up before she meets the phantom. There is also one crucial scene in a garden that explains why Christine is so enamored to the mysterious voice she hears. In my opinion, the 1925 version is the superior version; it seems more complete and satisfying narratively than the edited 1929 version.
The 1929 edited silent version included on this DVD was transferred from a restored, re-tinted print made by the renowned film restoration company Photoplay Productions. This is the best-looking version of PHANTOM to date. It also looks much sharper and cleaner than the 1997 Image DVD. Both DVDs offer the speed-corrected 1929 version, but the '97 Image DVD opens with a shot of a man holding a lantern walking past the camera, while the Milestone DVD, curiously, omits this so-called "lantern man" shot and opens at the opera house. On both DVDs, the "Bal Masque" scene is shown in two-strip Technicolor, with the color on the Milestone disc looking a little more realistic. Also, in order to duplicate the original film as much as possible, some of the color scenes on the Milestone disc were actually digitally colored (such as the phantom's red cape at the roof of the opera house), because there is no existing color footage for them. On the '97 Image DVD, no digital coloring was used.
There was a "talkie" version of PHANTOM made in 1929, but unfortunately the print of that version was lost. The dialogs and sound effects recorded for that version, however, survived. To give the viewer a taste of the sound version, the Milestone DVD offers something interesting to accompany the 1929 silent version: a soundtrack composed of fragments of existing recordings of the sound version pieced together to fit the silent version as much as possible. The result is still far from being a "talkie" track. It has plenty of sound effects and spoken dialogs, but it has almost no synchronized talking. Inter-titles are still present (because this is still the silent version). There is, however, one opera sequence where the singing of actress Mary Fabian (who did her own singing) is perfectly synchronized with the picture, which is a wonder to watch. The DVD also includes audio-only supplements of recorded dialogs, which give us further glimpses of the talkie version -- and of its rather incompetent voice acting.
Also accompanying the 1929 version is a superb audio commentary by PHANTOM expert Scott MacQueen. He provides a wealth of information about the production history, the backgrounds of the cast and crew, the various versions of the film, the use of color, and the use of sound. He deplores the incompetence of director Rupert Julian, and emphasizes that the true auteurs of the film were Chaney and set designer Ben Carré. He points out that contemporary reviews indicate that the 1925 version contains Technicolor sequences in not only the Bal Masque scene, but also the opera sequences and the auditorium scenes (the extensive use of color must have been quite a spectacle for a silent film back then). He recounts in great details (while speaking at a pretty fast pace) how the various versions of PHANTOM survived over the years -- the existing 1925 version originated from the so-called "Show-at-home" 16mm versions which Universal made for private collectors in the 1930s, while the surviving 1929 version was obtained by a Jim Card at Universal in the 1950s, and the Technicolor sequences was obtained from a 1930 dye transfer copy by restorationist David Shepherd.
To add even more value to an already superb package, the Milestone DVD also includes still-frame reconstructions of the Los Angeles and San Francisco premiere versions of PHANTOM. These were the very first public showings of the film. The Los Angeles version ended not with a chase scene as in later versions, but with the phantom dying alone at his piano.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Restoration, Sept. 26 2003
By 
E. Dolnack (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
The IMAGE entertainment restoration of the 1929 "Phantom of the Opera" starring Lon Chaney is a bit hit. The two-disk set is definately the definitive choice to own by all serious collectors. The clarity is better than any version I've seen to date, and for the first time, the correct running speed has been instituted here. The tradeoff however, is that the motion is somewhat choppy from too few frames. The characters move in proper real-time, and for the first time, you can see naturalistic movement in such scenes as the opening ballet sequence.
True fans need look no further than this two-disk Masterpiece Collection set from IMAGE. This is definately the one to own! The film is tinted and comes in a selection of three seperate sound tracks to choose from: a terrific new orchestrated score, the original sound score from the 30s, and a voice-over commentary track, which is insightful.
The second disk contains the original 1925 film, which few people have ever seen today. The quality is poor, but there are many scenes that are different from the version that we're all familiar with. It's worth watching.
But you cannot beat the restoration of the 1929 version on disk one of this set. It isn't quite the job that KINO put into Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" last year, but is terrific nonetheless. Thank you IMAGE. Great DVD!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a must-own for fans pf gothic horror, Sept. 25 2003
By 
"ruthven1819" (Chattanooga, TN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Phantom of the Opera: The Ultimate Edition (1925 Original Version and 1929 Restored Version) (DVD)
Image's lavish 2-disc set does justice to Lon Chaney's riveting performance as the "Phantom of the Opera." This has long been one of my favorite films, but felt as if I had only seen it for the first time after watching the 1929 edition included in this set. The print is beautiful, and the commentary by Scott MacQueen is insightful. The technicolor has been added to the "Bal Masque" scene, and there is a gorgeous scene of a red-cloaked Erik poised against an anotherwise blue-tinted background. Plus there are loads of stills, promotional materials, alternate music and soundtracks, as well as the 1925 cut of the film. Absolutely essential for fans of gothic horror.
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