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

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Jack Theakston

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

PostThu Aug 07, 2014 1:56 pm

Aside from the opening titles and one gap near the latter third of the film, the Hampton 16mm print is what general release audiences saw in 1925/26.
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wich2

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

PostThu Aug 07, 2014 3:41 pm

Thanks, Jack. That had been my recollection of that part of the twisted tale of the Phantom.

-Craig
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Great Hierophant

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

PostSat Aug 09, 2014 10:10 am

One distracting issue I noticed on the BFI Hampton/1925 version is at times the video "freezes" at the intertitle cards. Normally for this print, the title cards will occupy several frames of footage and you can see the nicks, scratches and other blemishes move about from frame to frame. However, on the BFI there are intertitles that "freeze" for a moment and do not show different blemishes. I believe this may have been done to allow the music to stay in sync. The superior Mirsalis score on the Milestone DVD did not have this issue, it was properly timed to the print.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSat Aug 09, 2014 10:29 am

It can also be just to have one clearly legible title card frame rather than one that hops around, gets lighter and darker, etc.
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35MM

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

PostSat Aug 09, 2014 4:12 pm

Gagman 66 wrote:If only a 35 millimeter print of the original release could be found.


I've been reading up another Phantom of the Opera (1925) release with the Roy Budd score. A certain thread had some interesting things in it such as "Roy had the only original 35mm black and white film in existence, and had it restored with the original colors added" and "Roy told me that he paid 35,000 pounds for it. I forget where he found it? Yes he paid to have it restored." Sounds hard to believe and I'm sceptical but the CD of the score and the DVD are now out. I can't find any info on the visual quality of the Mishka release.
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Jack Theakston

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 1:28 pm

Sounds like PR, and I suspect Budd's was a dupe of the Eastman House print. Also on his official website:

Since Roy’s death, many composers have written their own scores for The Phantom of the Opera. Roy’s was the first symphonic score to ever be written for this film


This certainly isn't true, either.
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M Verdoux

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 1:49 pm

Missing title - reinserted within the Masque Ball sequence:
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Allen Perkins

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 2:21 pm

Is it that much to ask for a decent transfer of the Hampton source materials? The blown-up 16mm section in Brownlow's version shows that it doesn't look that bad. It's the dupes that are terrible. I don't care if the GEH print is higher quality and I have no nostalgic attachment to it... I'm sure many others feel the same way. It would just be really cool if even one of these restorations was of the general release version instead of the GEH one the restorers grew up with.
Last edited by Allen Perkins on Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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wich2

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 4:09 pm

^This.

It's always seemed very odd to me, that the general rule in film fandom/scholarship of "the most original version is the most important version" seems to get repeatedly ignored in this case.

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 4:11 pm

Whilst I accept that the "Hampton Print" is the closest to the original general theatrical release - I can't help wondering whether it is complete in every detail? Here is what someone has done on You-Tube - combined scenes from both the 1925 and the 1929 print. An interesting exercise and a nice orchestral score to boot.



"The Phantom of the Opera" is a film that has more mystery surrounding it than the actual plot of the photoplay!
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 5:30 pm

Mr Hampton had multiple prints of PHANTOM, and I've read that they were combined (possibly with additional partial prints) to get one print of the best quality and completeness. Since Universal Show-at-Home prints were struck from the camera neg, one would think that they were (originally) complete until bits began to become lost to damage and wear.
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 6:59 pm

I may have exaggerated the number of times the "freezing intertitle" issue appear on the Hampton BFI. I reviewed every intertitle and counted that the issue appears exactly four times in a movie with at least a hundred intertitles. I believe that because the Man with a Lantern is excised from this version, two of the title credits "freeze" the image weirdly for several seconds, probably to keep the score in sync (the Man with a Lantern sequence takes a few seconds). This also happens on two intertitles during the scenes where Christine is meeting the Phantom for the first time. This was probably done to ease the transition between print changes. (Several prints were used to make up the Hampton version).
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Allen Perkins

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

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 8:28 pm

wich2 wrote:^This.

It's always seemed very odd to me, that the general rule in film fandom/scholarship of "the most original version is the most important version" seems to get repeatedly ignored in this case.

-Craig


Yeah exactly. The consistent one-upping this mystery print gets is just annoying. If the Murnau Foundation restored American movies, I bet we'd have a decent copy of the 1925 version with one of the original scores, the correct tints and existing color scenes/effects.
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Ray Faiola

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

PostMon Aug 11, 2014 5:27 am

Donald Binks wrote:Here is what someone has done on You-Tube - combined scenes from both the 1925 and the 1929 print. An interesting exercise and a nice orchestral score to boot.





Please don't hate me for the above. I did that back in the early betamax days!!
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Donald Binks

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

PostMon Aug 11, 2014 5:44 am

Ray Faiola wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:Here is what someone has done on You-Tube - combined scenes from both the 1925 and the 1929 print. An interesting exercise and a nice orchestral score to boot.





Please don't hate me for the above. I did that back in the early betamax days!!


Not hating you at all - more commending if anything. I have always wondered why the mish-mash 1929/30 print has been utilised as the prime version of "The Phantom of the Opera" all these years. Yes, the source materials are better, but the whole plot is messed up and then there is that long man with the lantern scene that serves no purpose whatsoever - and without dialogue - only serves to make people who are not addicted to silent cinema squirm in their seats at having to sit through it waiting for it to end.

I only wish that perhaps what you have done could in some ways get out there more - so that people might one day be able to see that the "original" "The Phantom of the Opera" was far better and made more sense than what is currently on view.

So, thank you for what you did in your Betamax days - and hopefully someone might get you to work now with the actual film elements and do a "proper" reconstruction.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: Which is the BEST Blu-Ray of "Phantom Of The Opera" to g

PostMon Aug 11, 2014 8:32 am

>so that people might one day be able to see that the "original" "The Phantom of the Opera" was far better and made more sense than what is currently on view.<

Donald, I think that we can trust Jack Theakston and similar experts here, and believe that people today can see what can be fairly described as the 1925 General Release POTO. And to this viewer's eyes, it does indeed play much better than the later.

(Now, as to the quality of the versions on the presently available discs, yes - "MORE, please!")

-Craig
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