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

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David Alp

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

PostFri Nov 29, 2013 5:33 pm

Hi folks.... I'm very confused! Which is currently the best version of "The Phantom Of The Opera" on blu-ray to buy? There seem to be two versions out at the moment. One by the BFI, and the other by "IMAGE for Blackhawk Films". Both are blu-ray. Can someone help me out here? The BFI version seems very expensive at almost £23.00.

BFI Version cover and artwork

Image

BFI EXTRAS
Extras
* Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
* The original 1925 version, (black & white, 103 mins): with newly commissioned piano accompaniment by Ed Bussey
* Original 1925 trailer and 1929 sound re-issue trailer
* Reel 5 from lost 1929 sound re-issue (12 mins): the only surviving element, newly discovered in the Library of Congress archives.
* The 'man with a lantern' sequence: mysterious footage thought to have been shot for non-English speaking territories
* Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000, Kevin Brownlow, 86 mins, DVD only): Kevin Brownlow's definitive documentary on the legendary actor.
* Channel 4 Silents restoration souvenir programme (PDF)
* Fully illustrated booklet featuring new essays, review and film credits



IMAGE/Blackhawk Film Version and Artwork

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Extras: I can only find the "extras" by reading the back of the blu-ray box:

Image
QUOTE: Original 1925 version in 6 Millimeter ??? I think they mean 16mm
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSat Nov 30, 2013 7:04 pm

You can find the BFI at a much more reasonable price here : http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Phantom-Ope ... fi+phantom

Since it is not going to be released until Monday, you may want to hold off on your purchase and read some reviews first. Here is an early one for this disc : http://diaboliquemagazine.com/phantom-o ... ay-review/

There are many reviews of the US Blu-ray. And on the US Blu-ray, they meant to say 16mm. I did a comparison between it and the now out-of-print DVD from Milestone here : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/201 ... e-dvd.html

I hope to add the BFI to it after Christmas.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSun Dec 01, 2013 1:00 pm

Very very interesting! Here is a vimeo clip featuring Composer and conductor Carl Davis giving insight into the process of writing his soundtrack for Rupert Julian's 1925 silent film, The Phantom of the Opera.

Last edited by silentfilm on Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed vimeo video formatting.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostMon Dec 02, 2013 12:44 pm

I changed the "https:" to "http:" and the Vimeo video shows up now.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostTue Dec 03, 2013 5:16 pm

:shock: Am I reading this correctly. An entire missing reel is included that has never been seen in any other previous Video edition as part of the BFI Blu-ray release?
Last edited by Gagman 66 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 04, 2013 6:36 am

Gagman 66 wrote::shock: I'm I reading this correctly. An entire missing reel is included that has never been seen in any other previous Video edition as part of the BFI Blu-ray release?

I believe it's a reel of the sound reissue synched up with the appropriate disc. So some, if not all, of the footage will have been seen before.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 04, 2013 8:11 pm

The sound version was made with alternate takes and some few reshooting of scenes here and ther to get dialogues.
That's way, despite of the sound discs got preserved, it's not possible to synchronize the 35mm footage or the 16 mm 1925 version to the discs.

So this discovered reel of the sound version will have a diferente take, perhaps similar to the movie as we know today, but not identical.

Just to remamber. The restored 35mm version we seetoday (wrong called 1929 version) it's not the same of the 16mm surviving footage of the true 1925 version neither the sound version. It's outakes or altenate câmera angles not used in both version (1925 and sound version).
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 04, 2013 8:49 pm

:? The 1925 version is vastly superior to the drastically altered 1930 sound re-issue. It's not even remotely the same movie. If only a 35 millimeter print of the original release could be found. Or even a well struck first edition SHOW AT HOME print. Because what survives seems to be several generations removed from a first edition.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Dec 05, 2013 7:33 am

Owing to the complete lack of reviews for this disc on the net, I thought I'd sign up and post some thoughts for you guys, originally posted at Blu-ray.com:

Unlike the Park Circus/Image disc that comes with two versions of the 1929 version at different speeds, this disc contains one. It is the slower 20fps version, though the box claims it is in 1080p24. Presumably it has frame duplication like Passion of Joan and Battleship Potemkin etc. I checked and indeed the majority of the film runs at 5 unique frames, 1 repeat, and so on, for a total of 20 unique, 4 repeat frames per second. Strangely, parts of the film run differently; unsure what's going on there.

Anyway, for those who don't like this method, the Park Circus/Image disc 20fps is interlaced, so a comparison might be apt.

Comparing the two 20fps versions, the new BFI disc shows much less damage. It's practically pristine compared to the Park Circus/Image disc. The 24fps version on the latter looks a lot better, but still not as good as the BFI.

The biggest and most important change (imo), is the superior Photoplay tinting. On the Park Circus/Image disc, almost the whole film is in sepia (including the pillar bars, which was VERY distracting), whilst the BFI disc has a lovely varied palette; deep reds, blues and purples, strong greens and yellows, black and white when appropriate. It is far more pleasurable a viewing experience.

The biggest negative of the BFI disc is that the Bal Masque sequence, plus a few other shots, are heavily windowboxed for some reason. This obviously has something to do with the Photoplay restoration, but I'm unsure why it couldn't be fixed for the Blu-ray. Definition during the Bal Masque sequence is quite poor compared to the Park Circus/Image release, though colour is still vastly superior. The Park Circus/Image disc looks very washed out and drab during the Bal Masque, whilst the BFI disc is much more striking and rich (though obviously has severe colour bleeding, and perhaps is over saturated).

You've got one score on the BFI disc, by Carl Davis. The Park Circus/Image had 3 score options across the two 1929 versions. I can't comment which I prefer yet, though Carl Davis is probably the bigger name out of all four, and I've always found his work exemplary.

The 1925 version, here as a bonus feature, looks pretty awful. It has poor definition and very heavy damage. Still, it's in HD and is more than watchable, something which could not really be said for the SD version included on the Park Circus/Image disc. It is in the wider ratio of 1.33:1, entirely in black and white.

It too appears to run at 20fps, in 1080p24, with 5 unique frames, 1 repeat (as far as I can see, for the entire film). It's interesting to note that the SD version on the Park Circus/Image disc runs 10 minutes longer than this release (and is tinted, rather than b&w!). I don't think the BFI disc can have less footage since they're both from the one surviving 16mm print, so presumably the Park Circus/Image SD version runs even slower than 20fps (indeed, if you calculate the percentage difference between the run times, it's pretty much 10%, which would mean the SD one runs at 18fps, no doubt interlaced). Obviously this is explained by the fact it's from a different telecine/transfer.

Anyway, it's a great disc that I personally think is much better than the Park Circus/Image one, but perhaps not great enough to replace it entirely.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Dec 05, 2013 6:48 pm

Considering the 1929 it's made with outakes, but under same lighting, clothing, make up etc..., I supose it will be possible, in a close future, to restore the image details of surviving footage of the 1925 version to look like a 35mm original print.

The best 3D conversion technology already do a similar thing, projecting textures and details of a object shot at a given angle, to create a version of this obejct in a little diferente angle. Algorithms for 3D estimation it's used in this process.

The 16mm print would be used as a scafold, every details presente on it would be used, and just the missing textures would be replaced using the 35mm version as base. But there is quite a long road to technology reach the necessary qualit & precision to make it rightl.

I'm sure this day will come, soon or later, and many films will shine again.


Buy the way, the restored 35mm print you see in the Blu Ray it's not from the sound reissue, but outakes. That's why it's not possible to synchronize the surviving sound discs from the sound re-issue to thise 35mm print.


Gagman 66 wrote::? The 1925 version is vastly superior to the drastically altered 1930 sound re-issue. It's not even remotely the same movie. If only a 35 millimeter print of the original release could be found. Or even a well struck first edition SHOW AT HOME print. Because what survives seems to be several generations removed from a first edition.
Last edited by All Darc on Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 pm

The Bal Masque sequence in the Photoplay restoration years ago, used the survivig footage technicolor sequence, found by David Sheapper years before, but also uses computer colorization for a segment of it that was not presente in the technicolor footage found.
This colorization was made by CST Entertainment, the best colorization company at the time, and probably was not in full HD. In this vídeo you can see the colorization segment that begins in the scene of the Phanton on the roof with red cape (scene colorized just to the cape)



I think in this Blu Ray edition they used the same restoration of the Bal masque, mastered in lower resolution than 1080p. they could re telecine the Bal masque again, but the segment colorzed would look fuzzy or interpolated compared to the real technicolor footage.


It was colorized to look lke 2 color technicolor, using the real technicolor footage as reference to color details.
But it's importante to note that this can't be considered a true real color restoration. The B&W footage used for this colorized scane was not the same footage of the original Bal Masque, cause Universal shot the film with a B&W version of the color sequences and not convert the color sequences to B&W, since in the time it was not possible with quality, so they shoot these scenes in tecnicolor and in B&W.
Like the Black Pirate, made in 2 color technicolor, there was a B&W version, shot separated from the color version.


EddieLarkin wrote:The biggest negative of the BFI disc is that the Bal Masque sequence, plus a few other shots, are heavily windowboxed for some reason. This obviously has something to do with the Photoplay restoration, but I'm unsure why it couldn't be fixed for the Blu-ray. Definition during the Bal Masque sequence is quite poor compared to the Park Circus/Image release, though colour is still vastly superior. The Park Circus/Image disc looks very washed out and drab during the Bal Masque, whilst the BFI disc is much more striking and rich (though obviously has severe colour bleeding, and perhaps is over saturated).
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostThu Dec 05, 2013 9:01 pm

The only thing to do with "The Phantom of the Opera" is to completely re-film it frame by frame according to the 1925 best known "final" exhibition print. :D What we have today is a complete shambles - and it was more or less a shambles back in 1925 too!

Other than that a treatment such as the re-make of "Nosferatu" would not go astray - of course lacking Lon Chaney doesn't help.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 3:34 am

Thanks Bruce for sorting out the Vimeo clip for me. Its appreciated.

I'm going to get the BFI version then on the basis of all of that; especially with the new link to the cheaper copy of it from Amazon. I love the sound of all those rich saturated colours and tints. I cannot imagine why the Technicolor scenes are letterboxed? How weird? Unless it's to make them deliberately smaller on-screen and therefore to make those scenes appear to be more crystal clear and/or pin-pointed?

But what has really sold it for me is the 12 minute talking reel 5. I know that the talking reels for "Phantom" have been panned in the past as being gimmicky etc, but I would love to see what all the fuss was about; and now one of these reels has finally been found it is a minor miracle, just as Gagman 66 has said.

All Darc, is that for real then? The fact that the ENTIRE movie was taken from little bits of scraps here and there from the B camera negative, and other sources, and literally pasted together to form a brand new version in 1930? I didn't know that? I thought it was just another cut, but mainly utilizing the 1925 version? One of these days I am going to have to sit down and watch the two together simultaneously so I can watch for myself the differences on the screen.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 7:33 am

I remamber about a article explaning that it was not possible to restore the 1930 sound version, using the surviving sound discs, because they did not match well to the surviving footage of other versions, as it have diferente takes and not just diferente câmera angles.

Comparison of the unmasking scene from 1925 version and the outakes version we are used to:




The sound version probably had diferente takes than both.
Probably the main câmera negative was already worn or scratched in 1930, and they had to use

Anyway, if the sound discs survived, why it's not availabe as extras??


Have you checked how long the color sequence is in the BFI version?
If it ends before the scene of The panthom in the roof or if lasts until the scene when one party members faints after saw the phanton passing.
See this vídeo in 0:58:05, of the early restoration made by Photoplay, where they used computer coorization to add color to the Bal Masque scenes after the "phantom on roof" scene:





David of The Alps wrote:All Darc, is that for real then? The fact that the ENTIRE movie was taken from little bits of scraps here and there from the B camera negative, and other sources, and literally pasted together to form a brand new version in 1930? I didn't know that? I thought it was just another cut, but mainly utilizing the 1925 version? One of these days I am going to have to sit down and watch the two together simultaneously so I can watch for myself the differences on the screen.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 7:35 am

May I ask to some good samaritan to post screen grabs from the new HD transfer of the 1925 vesion?
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 12:39 pm

You guys need to listen to Scott McQueen's audio commentary on the Milestone Video DVD version of Phantom of the Opera.

Here is Scott McQueen's post from alt.movies.silent on September 9, 2000 on this subject:

This issue of the versions of Chaney's PHANTOM just doesn't go away, and there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer. Here is what we know:

The 1925 ("Astor Theater") version: this is what opened in NYC in September after all the monkeying around. It was in 10 reels. It only survives in 16mm Universal Show-at-Home copies that were reduction printed in the 1930s, by which time the domestic "A" negative was very heavily worn. John Hampton had several copies of this, which he cannabalized, yet still never got a full 100% print. Hampton allowed one of these to be duped in the 1960s, which is why there are collector prints about. The Packard Foundation now has Hampton's original Show-at-Homes, and have funded a restoration at UCLA which Bob Gitt has been overseeing. The 35mm blow-up work is superb, and the best possible allowing for the indifferent quality of the source material and the printed-in cinches and scratches. However, authentic 1925 Main Titles are still proving elusive...so check your closets & cellars. No word on when UCLA will consider this done. Bob did locate a 35mm dupe negative of a 1925 version in Italy, but the quality is said to be indifferent, though it offered one shot that appears nowhere else. The 1925 version is a VERY full 2 reels longer than the reissue print, with a different continuity (i.e. placement of chandelier fall).

While sound discs are known for the 1930 sound version, there is no corresponding bona fide picture. The surviving copy ,the common Phantom, was obtained as a 35mm acetate print in 1950 by Jim Card from Universal. It is likely that it was the only negative Universal had at that date, and clearly it was decomposing when the print was struck (perfs break into picture, the sequence in Christine's undergrounf bedroom rippling and hypoing). It was clearly stated in 1929-30 by U that PHANTOM was "sound on disc only". No paperwork has surfaced re: a foreign version, but all of the evidence is that the GEH print is a non-dialogue Music & Effects version for Europe. It is from a "B" (or "C") alternate camera negative, alongside and often at a different elevation than the "A" camera. All of the intertitles are physically spliced into the 35mm print, so they were printed up seperately either from title rolls (my guess) or flash frames. None of the newly-shot dialogue scenes are included, but the Faust "Jewel Song" is, at 24 fps (shot on Agfa negative, by the way!) with a new performer. The "old" Carlotta retained in the silent footage is now called "Carlotta's Mother" via a changed title. All of the intertitles are simplied and refilmed. Those cards with live background plates (inlcuding the Main Title) of the Phantom are newly shot with a double for Chaney. The Main Titles, by the way, have been truncated -- probably by Jim Card; look at the jump cut, which removes the production credits including cameramen...this same card carried the "Western Electric Sound System" credit.

In the domestic version of the talkie, as much old footage was used as could be dalvaged, and Joseph Buquet & the ballerinas were looped with "synthetic dialogue" in the manner of CHINATOWN NIGHTS.

Now, the Man With the Lantern. He does NOT appear in the domestic talking version. He appears in the Eastman House print, in a long 24 fps take, with the Phantom's double/shadow gliding by. It is likely that THIS scene alone was for foreign dialogue so the picture could be advertised as "talking" in other countries. Either A) the long shot allowed for asynchronous dubbing, or, B) there were inserts created for the major language territories and positive assembled to the prints (this is how Universal handled the various European and Latin emcees for THE KING OF JAZZ in 29-30!). The figure is wardrobed like Snitz Edwards (he is NOT Snitz) so it is possible that he was meant to be Florine Papillion. I have another theory.

The dupes of the Show-at-Home contain the Main Titles and the Man With Lantern, lifted from the Eastman House print. BUT! They also contain a Medium Shot of the Man which is clearly from different preprint! There is a different pattern of tram lines and wear, suggesting that this shot was cut in to the master print being duped. Also, in MS this guy looks nothing like Snitz, much uglier and heavier -- and the generic Parisian workman's clothes and cap leave one other alternative: he is Jospeh Buquet's brother -- the SOB who is found strangled by the Phantom later. Makes narrative sense.

QUESTION: what the hell print did THAT shot come from?

Unfortunately I found no corroboration of this when I was researching at Universal in the '80s, and since then U's PHANTOM holdings have, uh, been "liberated", shall we say, by a "historian" armed with carte blanche from Mr. Wasserman. So if the answers were once at the studio, they're gone now.

PHANTOM still lacks color inserts. In Reel 1, the shots of the audience arriving, with the uniformed soldiers "fashion show" as it were, was originally in Prizma (U tested both Prizma & Technicolor). Contemporary reviews indicate that "all views" in the auditorium were in color, yet this is not born out by continuities -- I believe that SOME long shots of the house curtain were color. The "Apollo's Lyre" sequence was blue tinted (or toned) with red Handschlegl, which I helped Kevin Brownlow replicate for this recent version (the intertitles here were originally all in GREEN, but Kevin elected to keep them uniform with the scene). The second half of the Masked Ball, from the lovers' return from the room through Florine's fainting number, was also Tech, and again it was my privilige to replicate this for Photoplay's version which will be on TCM. The tints were very interesting, and in no version are done correctly -- for example, the flashing of the chandelier prior to falling was amber/blue/amber/blue to action, and similar color cutting was done in the torture chamber with the waves of heat and light. The Phantom's rooms "below stairs" (including the unmasking) were entirely in B&W. The "Honeymoon in Viroflay" tag that closed Reel 10 (still in the Show-at-Home in B&W) was also -- once -- in Technicolor.

The Technicolor masked ball sequence was rescued by David Shephered years ago, and is from a 1930 dye transfer copy. In the latest versions restored by both Shephered and Photoplay, an effort was made to remove the heavy amber color, which was a by-product of the early 2-color process (perhaps varnish to keep the print from scratching). This version has a much wider range of colors than we have seen previously, and the color is clearly more accurate to the 2-color primaries and what colors were actually under camera -- Mary Philbin's gown is now salmon-pink as it should be, not gold. For purists, who want the IB color warts and all, there is adequate preservation of excellent quality already accomplised on a one-to-one basis by both UCLA and Mr. Shepherd.

Photoplay's version, by the way, is the best looking edition I have seen. Sharp, steady, nicely tinted. The heavily decomposed section prior to the unmasking was blow-up from the Hampton 16mm at UCLA, which will give you an idea of the pictorial qualities of the two surviving editions. Unfortunately, the Eastman House print was struck with a block in the track position, so the far left of image is lost forever, and the movie is now best shown with something approaching Movietone (1.17) aperture.

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

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 12:42 pm

Although I will almost certainly be getting this disc for Christmas, it seems that there are fewer extras on either the BFI Blu-ray or the Park Circus/Image Blu-ray than the Milestone 2003 DVD version. The Milestone had the audio of all the sound discs known to be in existence. The BFI Blu-ray does not advertise that.

They shot an incredible amount of footage for Phantom back in 1925, the film was shown in two very distinct cuts, first in Los Angeles and second in San Franscico, before being released widely in a third version, premiering in New York. Then in 1929 they shot additional sound sequences which they intended to insert into the otherwise silent footage. Those sequences are lost as is the Sound Version with the exception of the recently recovered Reel 5. If you listen to the discs as shown on the Milestone DVD, you can plainly see and hear they do not synchronize with the mouth movements of the actors and there must be timing issues as well. Audiences in 1929 would have undoubtedly felt gipped if they saw the equilavent of the Milestone DVD with the 1929 sychronized sountrack option.

PowerDVD 10 + FRAPS is what I use to make screenshots of Blu-ray content. That's how I got the screenshot of the new Image Blu-ray menu on my blog. I took the screenshot for the old Image Blu-ray from Blu-ray.com.

The full colorization of the Photoplay version begins when Christine and Raoul descend from the Opera Roof. You can see that the stairway landing has changed from when they went up it a few minutes prior.

I do not know of any good DVD or Blu-ray, other than from possibly Reelclassics, that contains the B&W/tinted version of the opening Bal Masque scene.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 12:59 pm

I have always wondered what happens at 42:16 ?? What is that jump cut all about?

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

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 1:13 pm

Most of the Bedroom sequence in the Photoplay edition is from the 16mm 1925 print blown up to 35mm:

" The heavily decomposed section prior to the unmasking was blow-up from the Hampton 16mm at UCLA, which will give you an idea of the pictorial qualities of the two surviving editions..."

Perhaps the cut is where the '29 print is used.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 1:55 pm

The tinting is awful. It's oversaturated most of the time, crushing a lot of detail permanently, and sometimes it bleeds into the blacks. In actual tinting, the blacks are black and only the brighter areas are colored. And it's not the correct tint scheme either, they followed the scheme used for one of the preview versions. It would be one thing if they used the wrong colors but as reasonably-saturated tints that didn't leak into the blacks or destroy detail, yet they couldn't even do that. I also fail to see the point in watching a mystery version related to a 1930 sound reissue at a speed lower than sound speed.

The HD transfer of the original version is fantastic, though. The print is still dupey with heavy, embedded wear most of the time, and it's still soft-looking, but you do get as much detail as can be salvaged from it, and no digital artifacts. Basically it's such a clear scan of it that I'm not complaining. A great 2K scan can do wonders even with a terrible print. This print will probably always look bad unless some Metropolis-type restoration is performed, but seeing a transfer of it in its current state with this sort of clarity is still a revelation. And it isn't windowboxed with soft edges like on the Milestone release, which is a plus.
Last edited by Allen Perkins on Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 2:11 pm

Scoundrel wrote:Most of the Bedroom sequence in the Photoplay edition is from the 16mm 1925 print blown up to 35mm:

" The heavily decomposed section prior to the unmasking was blow-up from the Hampton 16mm at UCLA, which will give you an idea of the pictorial qualities of the two surviving editions..."

Perhaps the cut is where the '29 print is used.


It is, the Image/Park Circus Blu-ray uses the '29 print throughout the whole sequence. The nitrate decomposition is close to severe in some frames.

The missing 1929 sound version should have been projected completely at 24fps, even though it is a mixture of silent and sychronized sound material. The 1929-shot sound material is at the correct speed, but the 1925-shot material is being projected too fast. The Eastman House print suffers from the opposite issue to a lesser extent, the Carlotta singing sequence from 1929 was shot at 24 frames per second (unless a silent camera also filmed it) but is being played back at 20 frames per second, which is too slow and means that the existing sound disc will not sync properly with this footage at this speed.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 5:59 pm

Allen Perkins wrote:I also fail to see the point in watching a mystery version related to a 1930 sound reissue at a speed lower than sound speed.


Maybe because the vast majority of the footage was filmed in 1925, and works better at slower than sound speed? I've played for Phantom (on film) at 24 fps in the past, and the ballet and chase sequences always get inappropriate audience laughter because of the silliness due to severe under-cranking. It must have looked wrong in 1930 too. Now we have the technology to fix that, so I'm rather glad they did.

I'm still waiting on my BFI order, but it has shipped.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 8:45 pm

Is the Hampton 16mm (original Show at Home and not dupes from it) the source for the new HD transfer of the 1925 version from BFI Blu Ray ???
The Image version SD transfer from 1925 version do not look like came from a reported good look or like a 16mm shot from a 35mm original:


Image


They should direct digitally scan it in 2K or 3K, and not scan a optical blow up made to 35mm.


If there are many original Hampton prints, maybe it's possible to do even better !!
There is a technology that analize grain pattern in a static obeject and rescue more details from that than is normaly visilbe. And it's not a simple sharpen digital filter.

If they could scan 3 Hampton original prints, digital match perfectly the frame geometry and alignment, it could be possible to analyze the grain pattern of 3 images of a given frame, to create a more detailed and sharper image.
Grain it's not like pixels, but it's random in it's places, and if you analyze the grain structure of consecutive static images you can recover more details.

This technology was created by John Lowry, from Lowry Digital Images (now Lowry Digital). But in motion scenes it did not work very well. Their early website had a example of a magnificaton of film to the point of we see close grain pattern in details. It was a image a table with many junk food and the magnification was of a coke can, looking fuzzy. The secene was static and the algorithm suposed analyzed the grain in the sequence of frames and could make the image more clear, to the point we could read the small capitols in the Coke can.
It was very mpressive, for the static image frame sequence.

But if you have 3 images for each frame, like 3 good 16mm prints made from a 35mm, I think it's possible do something similar to what they did to the Coke can.

Unfortunately the nice Coke can example it's not in the new website of Lowry Digital.
Last edited by All Darc on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostFri Dec 06, 2013 9:06 pm

I think it's one of the dupes. I don't know how to properly describe it, but there are segments of the opening titles where the Show-at-Home stops, and then we see the last frame printed for a couple seconds. The lighter damage on the evident dupe continues, but the heavy wear of the Show-at-Home stays frozen in time until it suddenly starts back up again. The "Produced in its entirety at Universal City, California" title also seems to be a flash frame, I guess, as the Show-at-Home damage is frozen for the entire duration with only the apparent dupe's wear visible.

I, for one, would love to see what UCLA has been doing in regards to the original cut. The fact that their restoration has stayed unfinished for so long doesn't seem to be a good sign, but I do hope it gets completed in our lifetimes all the same. The Eastman House mystery print has been treated to a host of remasters, but the original version hasn't gotten that sort of love (unless you count this HD upgrade). It's sad, as original versions are usually prioritized in restoration. Obviously the mystery print looks a helluva lot better than the 16mm Show-at-Home and its dupes, but honestly I'd rather wait ten years for the best possible 1925 restoration than wait any stretch of time for yet another restoration of the weird print.

Also, using titles appearing in the 1925 and 1930 trailers, I completed a partial reconstruction of the lost 1925 original opening credits. Check it out:
L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSat Dec 07, 2013 10:48 am

This scene blow-up from 16mm looks much better than the poor dupes of the 1925 verson used in many vídeo transfers.
It's from Hampton 16mm Universal Show-at-Home copies, probably shot from the 1925 version câmera negative.
In the 1930's most printers that copied 35mm to 16mm, and the lenses, was not good as today, still it looks far better than the home vídeo editions of 1925 version.

Why no vídeo edition created a transfer for the 1925 version using these quality 16mm, instead of the poor dupes made from it in the 60's.

I found screengrabs from new HD amde from the duped 1925 16mm:

Old SD compared to new HD from the dupes

Image
http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o102 ... g~original


HD only:
Image
http://www.mondo-digital.com/phantom25-2.jpg" target="_blank


Image
http://www.mondo-digital.com/phantom25-1.jpg" target="_blank


Image
http://www.mondo-digital.com/phantom25-3.jpg" target="_blank



David of The Alps wrote:I have always wondered what happens at 42:16 ?? What is that jump cut all about?




Scoundrel wrote:Most of the Bedroom sequence in the Photoplay edition is from the 16mm 1925 print blown up to 35mm:

" The heavily decomposed section prior to the unmasking was blow-up from the Hampton 16mm at UCLA, which will give you an idea of the pictorial qualities of the two surviving editions..."

Perhaps the cut is where the '29 print is used.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 11, 2013 12:12 pm

I received my copy of the BFI Blu-ray disc yesterday and viewed parts of it. I didn't do a comparison against the Image Blu-ray release, so I can't say how the video compares.

What interested me was the reel 5 of the talkie version. This is the 12 minutes following the fall of the chandelier, so unfortunately there's very little talking (in fact, Philbin's brief exclamation is not accompanied by picture, which had deteriorated). What was fascinating was the voice, in the sound discs, that I presumed to be a stand-in for Chaney. The voice that commands Christine to "step through the mirror" actually belongs to a new character, apparently a servant to the Phantom. After he commands Christine, a body-double for the masked Phantom appears and raises a hand in command; the servant bows and withdraws. Presumably this servant was also the voice in the sound discs that proclaims "she is singing to bring down the chandelier."
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 11, 2013 5:11 pm

ClayKing wrote:I received my copy of the BFI Blu-ray disc yesterday and viewed parts of it. I didn't do a comparison against the Image Blu-ray release, so I can't say how the video compares.

What interested me was the reel 5 of the talkie version. This is the 12 minutes following the fall of the chandelier, so unfortunately there's very little talking (in fact, Philbin's brief exclamation is not accompanied by picture, which had deteriorated). What was fascinating was the voice, in the sound discs, that I presumed to be a stand-in for Chaney. The voice that commands Christine to "step through the mirror" actually belongs to a new character, apparently a servant to the Phantom. After he commands Christine, a body-double for the masked Phantom appears and raises a hand in command; the servant bows and withdraws. Presumably this servant was also the voice in the sound discs that proclaims "she is singing to bring down the chandelier."


I thought that Reel 5 wasn't exactly going to be the revelation some people had supposed it to be, since it contained very little dialogue. However, seeing a different actor playing "the Phantom's servant" (who apparently escapes any sort of justice) is something I had not appreciated before now. I really hope to get my disc for Christmas.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 11, 2013 6:09 pm

Well, we did have the guy with the lantern who totters down a corridor to give a vague warning as Our Heroes are going into the depths. So the phantom does have some buddies down there in the cellar. Maybe the same guy?
Rodney Sauer
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostWed Dec 11, 2013 6:28 pm

Rodney wrote:Well, we did have the guy with the lantern who totters down a corridor to give a vague warning as Our Heroes are going into the depths. So the phantom does have some buddies down there in the cellar. Maybe the same guy?



Or the guy herding "something" by Raoul and Ledoux as they search for the Phantom's lair.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostTue Dec 17, 2013 8:52 pm

David of The Alps wrote:Hi folks.... I'm very confused! Which is currently the best version of "The Phantom Of The Opera" on blu-ray to buy? There seem to be two versions out at the moment. One by the BFI, and the other by "IMAGE for Blackhawk Films". Both are blu-ray. Can someone help me out here?


There are two major versions of the film. Each version has footage not found in the other version.

The "Photoplay" version is a restoration by Photoplay Productions. The latest BFI Blu-ray/DVD and the 2003 Milestone DVD both contain the Photoplay version. This version does not have the so-called "lantern man" shot, and it has a longer color footage for the Bal Masque scene that ends where Papillon, the Opera worker, faints at the sight of the Phantom.

The "Blackhawk" version is a restoration by Blackhawk Films. Home video releases include the 2011 Image/Blackhawk Blu-ray and the 1997 Image/Blackhawk DVD. This version opens with the "lantern man" shot, and its color footage for the Bal Masque scene ends earlier, right after the rooftop scene.


EddieLarkin wrote:The biggest negative of the BFI disc is that the Bal Masque sequence, plus a few other shots, are heavily windowboxed for some reason. This obviously has something to do with the Photoplay restoration, but I'm unsure why it couldn't be fixed for the Blu-ray. Definition during the Bal Masque sequence is quite poor compared to the Park Circus/Image release, though colour is still vastly superior. The Park Circus/Image disc looks very washed out and drab during the Bal Masque, whilst the BFI disc is much more striking and rich (though obviously has severe colour bleeding, and perhaps is over saturated).


The BFI image for the Bal Masque scene is wider, and shows more image on the edges than I had previously seen in other video editions, such as the 2003 Milestone DVD (also based on the Photoplay version). The wider aspect ratio is the reason the image has to be window-boxed - so that it fits into the narrower box occupied by the main film. But the noteworthy issue here, at least for me, is the BFI disc shows more image on edges for the color Bal Masque scenes. The 2003 Milestone DVD is significantly cropped on the left and right sides compared to the BFI disc, and even the Image/Blackhawk Blu-ray is a little cropped on the left side.

Regarding the color looking "vastly superior" on the BFI disc, I have to disagree. The phantom's red cape looks ORANGE on the BFI edition when he first descends the stairs, whereas the Image Blu-ray at least shows some semblance of red. The 2003 Milestone DVD also shows the redness. (I haven't seen the Park Circus Bluray.) Two-strip Technicolor is supposed to look red and green, so something is off with the BFI disc. In the rooftop scene, the BFI disc does show the red cape to be red, but of course we know it was digitally colored.
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