The Phantom of the Opera (1924) (Silent Film Classic)
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*** UPDATED DEC-09-2012: ADDED REVIEW OF 1997 IMAGE/BLACKHAWK DVD EDITION ***
*** ORIGINAL REVIEW POSTED SEPT-30-2003: 2003 IMAGE/MILESTONE 2-DISC DVD EDITION ***
I'm lumping my reviews together, just like what Amazon is doing! The above 3 video editions of the Lon Chaney silent classic will be covered in this review. Also, see my video clip at the top of this review to see disc covers, film clip comparisons, etc. (For those who can't see my video clip, especially iOS users who can't see flash video, I posted an external link to the video in the comment section, but you need to go to Amazon's FULL site to see the comment section.)
The 2011 Blu-ray edition of the 1925 Lon Chaney horror classic "The Phantom of the Opera" is produced by Blackhawk Films (owned by restorer David Shepard) and distributed by Image Entertainment. It has no corresponding DVD release. Blackhawk and Image also released the 1997 DVD edition, and this Blu-ray carries over some of its material.
The initial release of the Blu-ray on Nov 1, 2011 had several manufacturing defects, but a corrected edition was released soon after, and a disc replacement program was set up. Unfortunately, the replacement program was cancelled in December 2013. So if you buy used copies from third-party sellers, be sure to ask which version is being sold.
The disc packaging does not indicate which edition is the corrected one. The only way to identify it is to look at the menu screen. The corrected disc has a menu that shows more information about the disc's content, while the uncorrected one only shows the score composers' names. See my video clip above for what they look like.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
I just finished watching one of three versions available on "The Phantom of the Opera" Blu-ray starring Lon Chaney and since then I have checked out the other two versions. First I watched the 20 fps (frames per second) version because I love Gabriel Thibaudeau's score. I was blown away by how sharp the picture looked. I definitely picked up on details I had not noticed before. When the Phantom is in the water, for instance, you can see just how wet the coat is when he climbs back out and details on his face as well. There is also no motion blur as there was on the Milestone release. The one quibble I do have is that there are a few instances in which the movie freezes for a second and then continues running. One place this happens is when Christine jumps up from the couch in the Phantom's cellar. There is a momentary freeze and then also when she wakes up in the morning. It wasn't in Image's DVD release but this appears to be a different print. I have read another writer's review about this problem and he made note of it too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This virsion was absolutly horrible quality especially compared to versions found on YouTube for free, scenes were missing, the picture would fade in and out, and at one point the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
For the quality of the movie and the extras, I would give it 5 stars. The bad rating is due to what seems to be an issue with some pressings of the Milestone DVDs, in that Disc... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Melanie S.
Love it. The best version that money can buy. You can see the 1925 version or the 1929 re-issue with the music by Carl Davis.Published 2 months ago by Rene Krammer
Product as expected and shipped promptly. Will definitely order again.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
PHANTOM has a great Blu-ray release, complete with extras showing the only 11 minute excerpt to survive of the 1930 talking reissue. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David L. Gill