The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Image Entertainment - 1925
MPAA Rating: UR
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Genre: : Horror/Drama/Musical
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.2:1 and
Audio Format(s): LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Directed by: Rupert Julian
Music by: Gustav Hinrichs
Written by:Gaston Leroux (novel "Le Fantôme de l'Opera")
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 1, 2011
"The greatest horror film of modern cinema!"
A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.
In The Phantom Of The Opera the brilliant Lon Chaney plays Erik the "Phantom". He extracts emotion through his mastery of practical make-up effects and with his skill of conveying feeling through movement. Lon is known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces” and he truly was, playing among others, Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Lon loved to play what he considered to be "the lowest types of humanity", stating they have the capacity for supreme self-sacrifice, and may have the Nobelist of intentions.
Erik, the “Phantom” lives underneath an Opera House in Paris. All the performers say they have heard a ghost, but none have seen one. When Erik falls for a new singer named Christine Daae, he begins secretly molding her to become an opera star. He tries all he can to make the owners of the Opera House give her the lead in a new opera, even saying the Opera house is cursed and crashing it's huge Chandelier down over the audience. When he over hears Christine's plan to run away and elope with the man she has been dating, The Phantom kidnaps her in hopes of making her seeing beyond his disfigurement.
For a silent film 85 years old, The Phantom Of The Opera still stands the test of time. It's a testament to great acting and storytelling, showing that that rises above CGI and T&A. Chaney is a pure genius, still blowing me away with his acting chops and the physical sacrifices he made to create such amazing practical make-up effects. The Phantom Of The Opera will not blow you away with A/V quality, but it sure will with emotions and feelings from love and loss to rage and insanity. I have not seen this for years, and Image Entertainment did a nice job with this release (besides some awful authoring - see my A/V notes), keeping Chaney's spirit, a piece of the beginnings of American cinema and The Phantom alive.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Image treats fans with 3 versions of the this classic, 2 from the 1929 reissue and a 480p transfer of the original 1925 release from a 16mm tinted copy. The two 1929 versions include new 24fps HD transfer from the 35mm negative, with tinted sequences including the Bal Masque sequence in two-strip Technicolor. The other is new 20fps transfer with tinting, Technicolor as well as hand-coloring. Well isn't that a mouthful. So how do these transfers fair? Quite well. I was pleased to see the requisite pops, scratches and many aged induced artifacts that add a palpable bit of nostalgia to this classic are still there. Don't expect ultra resolution or a mind blowing presentation; expect the best you have seen it this old 35mm film. My biggest issue is the non-inclusion of the b&w version of the film. The audio tracks (just different scores) were all in stereo, though the packaging indicates mono. They all sound great, but the purist in me kept going back to the original organ score by Gaylord Carter. I don't find much need in a newer score for such a classic, and wonder why the original is not the default but a secondary audio track. The good it all the orchestral and organ music sound great. Dynamic, big, clear, and not confined by its age. Remember, there is no real big low end besides the organ, and there are no sound effects or dialogue.
I have a pet peeve with bad menu structure, and The Phantom Of The Opera sure falls into the top of that category. On the Main Menu, the only way to choose which version you want to watch is by that versions score!? Here is the cheat sheet:
The 1929 24fps version features a brand new music score by Alloy Orchestra.
The 1929 20fps version features A Symphonic score composed by Gabriel Thibaudeau.
The 1925 SD version a new piano score by Dr. Frederick Hodges.
It doesn't end there. Once you pick a version you get choices of the selected score or the original score by Gaylord Carter, presented for the first time in stereo. What I found was that there is no way to back out once a version is selected other than a reboot or the skip to the end of the selected version. It was quite the pain to figure out. Hopefully Image will address this issue ASAP.
- Commentary (Audio Essay) by Dr. Jon Mirsalis
- (HD) Phantom Souvenir Program Reproduction
- (HD) The complete Phantom Script
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- (HD) Photo Gallery
The Phantom Of The Opera will not blow you away with A/V quality, but it sure will with emotions and feelings from love and loss to rage and insanity. I have not seen this for years, and Image Entertainment did a nice job with this release (besides some awful authoring - see my A/V notes), keeping Chaney's spirit, a piece of the beginnings of American cinema and The Phantom alive. I recommend a buy for fans of this and old films, but wait until Image fixes these menu issues (the PR firm) that handles Image said they were aware) and a rental for modern horror buffs and interested parties.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-X3 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Denon AVR 4311 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio On-Wall (5.1)
2 Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Solitaire 10"