Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to get??

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milefilms

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 8:00 am

Gaucho wrote:Dennis - are there plans to (re)release the Milestone version on BD?


There are plans, but it has to be a completely new restoration and that depends on the cooperation of one studio and three to four archives. It's even involving the local protest group I'm involved with along with a lot of good friends you all know and love. But we'll only do it if our version can be significantly better -- and I do very much respect the releases of David Shepard/Lobster and Photoplay.

So yes, I'm still working on it on a weekly basis, but slowly. We have more restorations/preservations going on this year then we've done combined in the last five years and combining that with http://www.mspresents.com, we have a very, very busy year.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 3:11 pm

Great Hierophant wrote:As I try to explain further elsewhere, http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/201 ... opera.html" target="_blank, I no longer prefer to use the terms "1925 version" or "1929 version" to refer to the versions of this film. I find these terms to be too imprecise when talking about what we actually can see today. It is debatable if the Talkie Re-release, the scenes for which were shot in 1929, was actually released in theaters in the calendar year 1929. Then when you talk about either the international sound version with the Man with a Lantern or the domestic silent re-release version, which could have been released in 1930, it gets even more complicated. Instead, I simply call this the (George) Eastman (House) Print. For what is commonly referred to as the "1925 version", but which is not 100% accurate to anything audiences saw in 1925-1926, I call that the (John) Hampton (Show-at-Home Duplications Compilation) Print. Both titles refer to the source from which the film elements derive.


That was a fascinating read!! (the nerdly pleasures link), It seemingly covers absolutely everything you would ever want to know about the: making of/releasing of/different versions of/original 1925 & 1930 theatrical releases of "The Phantom Of The Opera"... And also what different elements survive today, either talkie or silent; 35mm or 16mm; Technicolor/black & white/and/or tinted etc, etc. I would recommend everyone to take a good hour to read it and digest it as a LOT of effort and research has gone into it!

I told everyone that the new BFI Blu-ray release was over saturated with the purple, blue and the red tinting! And I'm glad you agree with me.

Wow; that's interesting stuff that a deaf person has actually read the lips of the "man with the lantern" and he is speaking in German???? This is getting curiouser and curiouser! How extraordinary!

When you read it; with all of the facts laid out before you... You just come to the conclusion and realization that in the end, the film was just cut over again and again and again, and then four years later they added sound and filmed extra scenes... They just couldn't leave this film alone! They were constantly re-editing it, and meddling with it, and constantly changing it! They were never happy with it!!!!! I couldn't understand why Reel 5 had the inter-titles when it was supposed to be a "Sound Reel" ????? Well now I know why! Because Lon Chaney was working for Metro and Universal couldn't dub his voice, or ask him to re-film those scenes in the lair... Hence the inter-titles remaining on a supposed "sound" reel!! It all "sort of" makes sense now!

And yet the big thing is this..... Its that here we are in 2014, and they are STILL tinkering with this film!! Still making changes, and creating different versions for blu-ray and DVD! Still changing the tints... Still altering the music... Still changing the titles and then re-cutting it and altering it... Who knows; we may find MORE of the sound Reels in the future and then yet another "Hybrid" version will be re-constructed (as, of course, we have ALL of the Vitaphone sound Disks to marry up with the footage, if it can be found.)

I don't think there ever has been; or ever will be; an ULTIMATE "The Phantom Of The Opera" 1925/29/30. as it's all just too muddy and convoluted and messy to make sense of.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 6:43 pm

David of The Alps wrote:And yet the big thing is this..... Its that here we are in 2014, and they are STILL tinkering with this film!! Still making changes, and creating different versions for blu-ray and DVD! Still changing the tints... Still altering the music... Still changing the titles and then re-cutting it and altering it... Who knows; we may find MORE of the sound Reels in the future and then yet another "Hybrid" version will be re-constructed (as, of course, we have ALL of the Vitaphone sound Disks to marry up with the footage, if it can be found.)

Exactly. I know this movie is public domain so anybody can do whatever they want with it, but it's annoying when one of the reasons there are so many versions of Phantom is because companies keep making new versions. All I want is a proper restoration of the original film. No random new tints, no random cuts (like the lantern man scene), no self congratulatory "X Productions presents a restoration by so-and-so with music by composer Y" introduction at the beginning, just a straight restoration.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 1:43 am

Fortunately, there are really not likely to be many cheapo-PD Blu-rays of this film. Come to think about it, there are really only two good retail DVD releases and two Blu-ray releases. The Milestone representative commented above, to his credit, that they would not re-release their version absent a new restoration. The DVD with its many very important and exclusive extras is unfortunately out of print. There is nothing left to release for the foreseeable future.

Although the film is in the public domain, the film and audio elements themselves are held by various archives and collections, namely the George Eastman House, the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Library of Congress. I don't think anyone can just call the curator of the Eastman House and expect to get permission to borrow their one-of-a-kind print from 1950 for a new 2K scan. Without access to the original archival elements, any release would probably be vastly inferior to what we have today and would likely be consigned to the bargain bin.

For a proper idea of a part-talkie is like, watch The Jazz Singer. When Jolson or the other actors sing, you hear them. When Jolson or any other actor speaks outside a song number, you read them. I think many an audience member would have felt disappointed by going to a part-talkie.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSat Jan 04, 2014 6:34 pm

Is the milestone version (1925 version/Hamptom devivated...) tinted ???

About 11 years ago or so I saw on cable TV a version of The Phantom of The Opera. It's was reported as restored, and looked like a old restoration, probably from the 80's if I remamber well the short restoration credit.
it was tinted yellow orange, looked like fine 16mm, had dust and traces of nitrate decomposition in some scenes, but it have a nice dynamics range and did not looked dupped as many dupes made from the Hampton version, in circulation on VHS.

At the time I was not aware of the many versions and restorations, alternate takes reconstruction etc... So I do not remamber well to tell if it was the 1925 surviing version froma good Hampton original 16mm print, or if was just a 16mm copy from the 1929 (alternate take surving 35mm) version.

There are very good Hampton prints, and Robert Gitt, from UCLA, was working in a restoration from the Hamptom originals, not from the poor dupes made from it in the 70's.


So, this restoration will probably have a better image quality than this footage bellow used in this BD for the 1925 version:

Image


Not sure if you noticed, but as I said before, the Hamptom originals exists and have a interesting quality, and you can see in this vídeo at 40:40 sec, where a segment of the Hamptom original prints were used to replaced a deteriorated scene:




If someone have this DVD, and could get a good screen capture of this scene, it would help to have a better idea.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSat Jan 04, 2014 10:28 pm

All Darc wrote:Is the milestone version (1925 version/Hamptom devivated...) tinted ???

About 11 years ago or so I saw on cable TV a version of The Phantom of The Opera. It's was reported as restored, and looked like a old restoration, probably from the 80's if I remamber well the short restoration credit.
it was tinted yellow orange, looked like fine 16mm, had dust and traces of nitrate decomposition in some scenes, but it have a nice dynamics range and did not looked dupped as many dupes made from the Hampton version, in circulation on VHS.

At the time I was not aware of the many versions and restorations, alternate takes reconstruction etc... So I do not remamber well to tell if it was the 1925 surviing version froma good Hampton original 16mm print, or if was just a 16mm copy from the 1929 (alternate take surving 35mm) version.

There are very good Hampton prints, and Robert Gitt, from UCLA, was working in a restoration from the Hamptom originals, not from the poor dupes made from it in the 70's.


So, this restoration will probably have a better image quality than this footage bellow used in this BD for the 1925 version:

Image


Not sure if you noticed, but as I said before, the Hamptom originals exists and have a interesting quality, and you can see in this vídeo at 40:40 sec, where a segment of the Hamptom original prints were used to replaced a deteriorated scene:




If someone have this DVD, and could get a good screen capture of this scene, it would help to have a better idea.


That youtube link is a rip of the Eastman House Print found on the Milestone DVD. I have taken screencaptures of the Eastman and Hampton prints on the blog link I posted above, you can compare the 16mm materials used by Brownlow with the 35mm materials used by Shepard in their respective restorations, in SD and HD for the most part.

The Killiam Film Classics version of Phantom of the Opera played on TV in the 1980s and gave a restoration credit to Paul Malkames. You may very well have seen that, I did.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSun Jan 05, 2014 11:54 am

Ohhnn, thanks... This comparisom it's great: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com.br/ ... opera.html" target="_blank" target="_blank


The non dupe Hamptom print (originals 16mm shot from câmera negative I presume) looks aceptable, much better than the poor dupes from 70's.

Why not create a Blu Ray of the 1925 version.

It looks nice:


Image

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-q5iXxeNAQ_4/U ... man+09.png"
May I ask to compare this Hamptom print replacer segment, with the Hamptom devivated used in the 1925 version HD tranfer of the BFI ?


it could look even better if Lowry Digital could restore it, since it's the digital restoration company with the best image recovery details technology.


Mary Philbin looks a bit diferente in the few reshooting cenes made for the talkie version.

Hey, how could you miss the unmask scene for the screen captures comparisom ???? :)
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostMon Jan 06, 2014 12:48 am

All Darc wrote:Ohhnn, thanks... This comparisom it's great: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com.br/ ... opera.html" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank


The non dupe Hamptom print (originals 16mm shot from câmera negative I presume) looks aceptable, much better than the poor dupes from 70's.

Why not create a Blu Ray of the 1925 version.

It looks nice:


Image

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-q5iXxeNAQ_4/U ... man+09.png" target="_blank"
May I ask to compare this Hamptom print replacer segment, with the Hamptom devivated used in the 1925 version HD tranfer of the BFI ?


it could look even better if Lowry Digital could restore it, since it's the digital restoration company with the best image recovery details technology.


Mary Philbin looks a bit diferente in the few reshooting cenes made for the talkie version.

Hey, how could you miss the unmask scene for the screen captures comparisom ???? :)


I added the rough equivalent frame for the BFI Hampton print to the blog entry, look at the last image. Either Brownlow/Photoplay used a better 16mm film element for this sequence of they really cleaned it up.

I did not use images from the unmasking, I didn't want to spoil it for anyone :)

Scott MacQueen mentioned the UCLA doing some kind of restoration of the Hampton Print back in the year 2000, so I shouldn't hold my breath for anything coming from that source.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostTue Jan 07, 2014 12:56 am

Thanks Dennis -- I look forward to it!
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostTue Jan 07, 2014 11:39 pm

ClayKing wrote:
Great Hierophant wrote:
ClayKing wrote:Back in the early 'sixties Grigg's Moviedrome sold 8mm prints of 'Phantom (possibly 16mm as well). I believe their version was the one I rented from Willougbhy or Peerless, huge camera stores in Manhattan. I seem to recall a music credit (to two people) and in my adolescent naivety wondered why there would be such a credit for a silent film. Is it possible the film had the original titles for the 1930 talkie version? Please don't suggest that my memory from 50 years ago is foggy :wink:


It is not impossible, but perhaps the credit was for John Griggs, who provided a voice for the Man with a Lantern, and Lee Ervin, who provided the organ score. You wouldn't have heard it if your print did not have an optical or magnetic soundtrack.


They were Universal's titles, and at that time I don't recall Griggs offering anything on the title with mag or optical sound. The credits were near the bottom of other technical credits such as photography, editing, as I recall. Perhaps someone who still has a Griggs print can satisfy my curiosity or correct my memory.


The Lee Erwin/John Griggs soundtrack was available in 16mm optical and Super-8 mag sound (I have copies of both), although the organ score for the circulated color Bal Masque is unique to that footage. A post at the 16mmfilmtalk forum also indicates the score was also available on cassette tape, so my guess is there were also 100% b&w silent prints for sale as well. I'd sure like to come across a 16mm sound print that wasn't assembled into 1600' reels so the first bit of audio from the fourth lab reel was clipped.

I just won an original silent-only 16mm copy of the Blackhawk 'Phantom' on ebay, with David's text prologue, as originally shipped on 5-800' reels, with the Bal Masque footage in B&W. It will be interesting to compare the quality of that footage to the G-M version.

One thing has consistantly bothered me about the assertion that the color footage was for the sound reissue. Personally, I can't believe that the time and expense of filming in Technicolor would go unused for the better part of 4-5 years, especially when virtually all of the surviving color footage with Chaney uses alternate takes, as there are 2 separate costumes for the harlequin/jester, and the upstairs corridor is totally dressed and lit differently for each version, while other shots are side by side B&W and Technicolor cameras...the Technicolor camera footage was also undercranked, which I can only theorize as being necessary for the exposure requirements of Technicolor.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Jan 08, 2014 10:33 am

One thing has consistantly bothered me about the assertion that the color footage was for the sound reissue. Personally, I can't believe that the time and expense of filming in Technicolor would go unused for the better part of 4-5 years, especially when virtually all of the surviving color footage with Chaney uses alternate takes, as there are 2 separate costumes for the harlequin/jester, and the upstairs corridor is totally dressed and lit differently for each version, while other shots are side by side B&W and Technicolor cameras...the Technicolor camera footage was also undercranked, which I can only theorize as being necessary for the exposure requirements of Technicolor.


The assertion isn't that the footage was only used in the sound reissue—indeed, the reviews of the time noted this sequence above even the FAUST sequences as being particularly noteworthy. However, the existing print is a dye-transfer section from 1930, as it too, had the Technicolor scenes.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Jan 08, 2014 12:10 pm

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Jan 09, 2014 7:47 pm

Let's hope that Milestone will get into the mixt & come up with something better than the BFI disk set, which really disapointing (even with the inclusion of reel #5 ton the original talkie version). Let's hope that there won't be any trouble this time (Pal to NTSC bad transfer)...
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSun Jan 12, 2014 2:38 pm

My advice to anyone doing a future Blu-Ray is:

Make the 1925 edit the main feature, top of the menu. Historically speaking, this is the right thing to do. Don't shunt it off into the bonus features.

Make sure it's HD!

Tint the feature and possibly adjust contrast and brightness to accomodate different quality of sources.

Insert the Technicolor footage (and don't windowbox it!)

If possible, adapt the John Mirsalis score for small orchestra. At least get an actual orchestra.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostMon Jan 13, 2014 5:58 am

Don't forget it's not easy, as money it's not alaways out there for huge projects.

But I agree that few changes, that do not require considerable expanses, could have be made.
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Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostMon Aug 04, 2014 6:10 pm

Pardon me if this specific subject has already been brought up, but is it worth buying a Blu-ray copy of Chaney's Phantom? My favorite version is the NY General Release version, so my question is is it pretty much the same in visual quality to the Milestone 2-disc version? Is the 1929 version better either?
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostMon Aug 04, 2014 9:28 pm

This message refers to the dual format region free blu ray release from BFI. I think it's a much better release than the Image blu ray that has all kinds of tinting, sound sync and frame rate problems. I bought the BFI because I couldn't stand the rotten transfer on the Milestone Ultimate edition, with the ghosting and motion blur. I think the original 1925 release looks better as well.

http://www.mondo-digital.com/phantomchaney.html

http://www.criterionforum.org/DVD-review/the-phantom-of-the-opera-dual-format-edition/bfi/1260
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostTue Aug 05, 2014 4:15 am

Thank you for such a quick response!

So, the big issue is, will it play on anything besides my laptop? I bought a documentary in England and a video recording of an opera I was in in Italy, and both will only work on my computer and not on my PS3 or any of our DVD players. :( I sure hope this isn't the case with this British edition of Phantom, because from all accounts, this: http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Opera-Sil ... 087&sr=1-1

version sounds like it rather sucks... And I'm looking for the best quality print of the 1925 New York General Release version. So if the British version doesn't work and the one in the link posted above sucks, I guess I'm just SOL, and will have to stick to my Milestone editon. :(
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostTue Aug 05, 2014 6:23 am

ChrisStockslager wrote:Thank you for such a quick response!

So, the big issue is, will it play on anything besides my laptop? I bought a documentary in England and a video recording of an opera I was in in Italy, and both will only work on my computer and not on my PS3 or any of our DVD players. :( I sure hope this isn't the case with this British edition of Phantom, because from all accounts, this: http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Opera-Sil ... 087&sr=1-1" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

version sounds like it rather sucks... (

I’m not sure how a customer rating at Amazon of 4 1/2 stars translates to “from all accounts, this version sucks.” I have both the BFI and Image blu-rays, and, while both have their plusses and minuses, my go-to is the Image edition. So, at least by my account, it doesn’t “suck.”

As for the “will it play” issue, the BFI blu-ray is region free, however the included DVDs are PAL. The Image blu-ray is region A.

Here is a detailed comparison of many home video releases:
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/201 ... opera.html" target="_blank" target="_blank
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostTue Aug 05, 2014 8:48 am

Kevin2 wrote:I’m not sure how a customer rating at Amazon of 4 1/2 stars translates to “from all accounts, this version sucks.”


For the record, I didn't mean to give the impression the Image disc sucks. It's OK. I actually own it; but it has more issues than the BFI in my opinion. The handschlegel process used to show the red lining of the phantom's cape on the opera house roof was rather crudely done compared to the BFI. And the momentary slowing of the frame rate in the opening ballet to keep the music in synch is distracting, as is the fact that the entire viewing area is tinted, and not just the film frame. And the 16mm 1925 release is rendered in SD, and really looks bad. The 1925 release in the BFI is in HD, and looks as good as it's possible for the problematic 1925 release to look.
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostTue Aug 05, 2014 1:11 pm

Thanks for the info, guys! One last thing -- I am a bit confused regarding the BFI set: so it has 4 movies - a Blu-Ray copy of the 1929 and 1925 versions AND a DVD copy of both the 1929 and 1925 versions??
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostTue Aug 05, 2014 8:05 pm

Yes.

There's also a third disc (DVD) with the "Man of a Thousand Faces" documentary.
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Re: Phantom - Worth it on Blu-Ray?

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 2:20 pm

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 6:18 pm

I've merged these two Phantom of the Opera BluRay threads together so that all the information will be in one place.

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 6:53 pm

All the restorations of this film appear to be made from the 1930 re-issue - a silent version of a talkie cut.

Included in the restoration sets is a copy of one of 1925 releases taken from a 16mm print.

I doubt though whether we are likely to see this film in a "proper" print as it was generally released in 1925. There have just been too many cuts, uses of alternative camera prints etc., for anyone to know just how to put it all together. From what I gather, a lot of the Technicolor scenes have been lost as well. I have reports from the time that indicate the ballet and opera scenes were also photographed in the process.

Of course we can all hope and I am just glad that so much work has been done in getting out what we presently have - especially the finding of the existing colour scenes which were lost for many years.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 7:58 pm

>I doubt though whether we are likely to see this film in a "proper" print as it was generally released in 1925. There have just been too many cuts, uses of alternative camera prints etc.<

Donald, Jack would be the one to confirm this, but:

I believe that the 1925 versions on the current discs are the "proper" print - if by proper, you mean, "the general release cut." It's my understanding that that is what the Show-At-Homes were?

Now, if by "proper," you mean, "of a high image quality," then no - they're not going to look as good as the '29-'30. Though there are rumors out there of better editions being possible, as with the UCLA project.

Ah, that's my dream: a nicer-looking '25 version (as I think it's the better film, plot-wise), with a good recording of the original score, and ALL color recreated!

Best,
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 8:27 pm

The only problem I have with the BFI blu ray version is the tinting! It is far too saturated and heavy, especially the red and the blue. You cannot tell what is going on in the scene when that red tinting is on!
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Aug 06, 2014 8:51 pm

wich2 wrote:>I doubt though whether we are likely to see this film in a "proper" print as it was generally released in 1925. There have just been too many cuts, uses of alternative camera prints etc.<

Donald, Jack would be the one to confirm this, but:

I believe that the 1925 versions on the current discs are the "proper" print - if by proper, you mean, "the general release cut." It's my understanding that that is what the Show-At-Homes were?

Now, if by "proper," you mean, "of a high image quality," then no - they're not going to look as good as the '29-'30. Though there are rumors out there of better editions being possible, as with the UCLA project.

Ah, that's my dream: a nicer-looking '25 version (as I think it's the better film, plot-wise), with a good recording of the original score, and ALL color recreated!

Best,
-Craig


It's very hard to ascertain even what the general release cut was as there are differing versions of this that went out to different markets. "Phantom of the Opera" was shown in Australia in September of '26 and I can only go on press releases and reviews of it at that time. What did strike me in my research was that it was a much more impressive film than the one that has been in circulation 'during our time'. To me, the story of the film and its "troubles' has been intriguing and a mystery yet to be solved.

One of the things that I did discover was that there was an original score that went out with the picture and it was in a book that I could have purchased at one time - if I had had sufficient folding stuff to pay for it.
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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ChrisStockslager

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Aug 07, 2014 4:31 am

ClayKing wrote:Here are two screencaps of the Phantom "voice" from the talkie reel 5:
Image
Image


So in reading all the replies in this conversation (Thank you, all!!), I've decided I think I'll hold out on getting the BFI release for two reasons: the Hampton print hasn't really been restored enough (that is, enough to really botice from the Milestone version??) and it has an apparently so-so piano score compared to the adequate Mirsalis score (which I feel is inferior as it is to Davis' score).

That being said, I REALLY want to see and hear this discovered reel -- are you or anyone else on here willing to post the newly discovered sound and film footage of said reel to YouTube and help out this poor broke college student? Pretty please? [Insert puppy eyes here]
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sherry

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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Aug 07, 2014 7:26 am

Thank you for sharing the photos @ClayKing
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