Image Announcement: Phantom of the Opera (1925) Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Phantom of the Opera (1925) (Silent)



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    Project Details

    Synopsis: Lon Chaney is Erik, the horribly disfigured Phantom who leads a menacing existence in the catacombs and dungeons beneath the Paris Opera House. When Erik falls in love with a beautiful prima donna, he kidnaps her and holds her hostage in his lair. This horror classic, presented in its 1929 re-edited reissue version, features a rare early 2-color Technicolor sequence.



    Cast: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry

    Director(s): Rupert Julian

    Language: Silent

    Genre(s): Horror, Musical/Performing Arts, Mystery/Suspense, Silent, Feature Film, Based on Stage Play



    Phantom of the Opera (1925) (Silent) (Blu-ray Disc)




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    MSRP: $39.98

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    Release Date: 11/1/2011

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    Pre-book Date: 10/4/2011



    Catalog #: ID7542DSBD

    UPC: 014381754254





    Rating: Not Rated

    Rating Reason: N/A



    Color Format: Tinted

    Run Time: 92 mins

    Audio Format: N/A



    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    16x9: YES

    Number of Disc: 1



    Language: Silent

    Closed Captioned: NO

    Subtitles: N/A



    Country of Origin: United States of America
     
  2. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I find the release date of 11/1/11 to be a little funny. I think if I was Image, I would have at least bumped it forward a couple of weeks to take advantage of Halloween.
     
  3. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    "16x9: YES" ???
     
  4. Tom M

    Tom M Stunt Coordinator

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    Windowboxed in a 16x9 frame which is how all 1.33:1 material in HD is presented on blu-ray.
     
  5. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Pillarboxed, actually.
     
  6. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I get ya. It threw me for a second.
     
  7. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    Not to take away from Images announcement for this title, but it is a little misleading, and here is the point the 25 version will be on DVD, the 29 re-edit, reissue is what is being presented on blu, I understand the differences, and well, the 25 version if possible for a proper presentation in 1080p would have made this an even better set. Yes I know its semantics at this point; but the world lately is full of surprises, from them finding a lost Hitchcock silent, so who knows some unsuspecting person may one day find the material to do a full proper HD version of the 25 version. I thought this would be waiting a lot longer before it made it to this format.


    Thanks for the link, pre-ordered can’t wait to see the string holding up Chaney’s nose
     
  8. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    The decision not to release the 25 version on blu-ray is due most likely to several variables. Primarily it's the quality of the materials. Universal's treatment of its silent film library is easily the most notorious and infamous of all the studios, since in the 1940s they intentionally purged practically all of the materials relating to their silent library at that time. The '25 version and many silent films of the period from that studio survive thanks to 16mm show-at-home prints made for the consumer market. However, the quality of these prints are quite abysmal, and for what would be gained by transferring and presenting them in 1080p, is not worth the expense. Another issue is that all the extant copies of the "25 version" are highly corrupt, with no two being identical. The copy regarded as the definitive version of the 25 cut is a Frankenstein print, cobbled from many sources, including shots from the 29 sonorized version and is rather dubious in its authoritativeness. Some have suggested using the 29 version as a basic for recreating the '25, and splicing in scenes from the 16mm print where necessary. This too is problematic, not only because of the issues of marrying the two disparate sources, but also because they each come from different negatives. And you will recall in the silent days different negatives meant different cameras, since there was no quality dupe stock for making protection masters. Different cameras meant different angles, and often different takes. It now seems apparent that the 16mm prints derive from the domestic or "A camera" negative, and the higher quality '29 version derives from a combination of "B-camera" alternate angles and/or A-camera second-best takes. So it is not a matter of simply matching shots, because there are no shots to be matched. Ultimately, for all intents and purposes the 25 version is a lost film, and what today is presented at the '25 version is really more of a best guess, an approximation based on surviving bits and pieces, and the script continuity. But with all the new discoveries of previously lost films, there is always the chance, however slim, that something new could be found, perhaps a copy of the lost sound version from 1929, with its additional technicolor scenes, or perhaps even a 35mm nitrate of the original '25 cut. Anything is possible.
     
  9. MattPeriolat

    MattPeriolat Supporting Actor

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    I'm confused, I thought Image released a version of the 1925 print on DVD a while ago that has gone out of print. I get why that version will not be THE version, but will a copy of what exists as the 1925 print be available in this release or not? Hate to be a hardnose, but that is the version (or at least, as close as we can get) that I want.
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The '25 cut (or what remains of it) will be on the Image Blu in SD. Image released two editions - one from Film Preservation Associates and one from Milestone. The FPA version has only the '29 cut. Milestone's uses the Photoplay Production edition of the '29 cut, the '25 cut from 16mm, and the 1929 soundtrack as an option on the '29 cut.
     
  11. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    And if you REALLY want confusing, try to piece together the history of the so-called "'29 version" which really isn't the 29 at all. The '29 proper, with scenes reshot for sound, and soundtrack on disc, is likewise a lost film, though the discs survive. What is popularly known as the '29 version, apparently struck from a camera negative (likely the B-neg) has been the subject of controversy, as there is no consensus on why it exists, or what its purpose is. Some scenes are at silent speed, others at 24 FPS, yet it does not sync with the surviving sound discs from the sonorized version. There are three basic theories: 1) It was produced at the same time as the sound version, to be released to theatres in the U.S. that did not yet have sound capability. Yet it was struck not from the domestic negative, but either the b-camera neg for foreign markets, as well as second best takes (notably, there is a blooper during the unmasking scene where a stagehand can be seen walking in front of a light, which is not present in the '25 cut). It also lacks the technicolor inserts which were definitely present in the sound version (the technicolor scene that survives was found separately, and exists in black-and-white in the complete '29 print), and there is question as to whether a silent re-release was ever made at all. 2) The print was made for foreign release. The problem here is that it has English intertitles, and there is, as yet, no record that Phantom was re-released over seas at the same time as the domestic re-release. 3) It was assembled by the studio from second best takes for a silent release which was later aborted. The film, however, was retained as a reference print, which would explain why it is so pristine, when if it had actually been shown, or was struck from the domestic negative, it would surely show signs of wear. Wheewww!
     
  12. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

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    Wheewww indeed. I wonder, will the extra features go into this? It'd make for a docu probably more fascinating than the movie itself... I already pre-ordered this and it will be an interesting watch, since I've never seen it before.
     
  13. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    Hard to say. Scott MacQueen gives an excellent commentary on the Milestone edition, in which he discusses all the different versions. Phantom was a very troubled production, with several botched previews that resulted in retakes. There were at least 3 cuts of the 25 version in addition to the later, sonorized version. I don't think the new edition has a commentary at all, unfortunately.
     
  14. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I'm afraid that remark, based Scott MacQueen's commentary on the Image/Photoplay DVD, is incorrect (I even corrosponded with him about the error, and he was gracious in acknowledgement). It is in both versions - the same take from 2 different cameras. I am responsible for creating the 1925/1929 A/B comparison edit for Mark Roth's 4-disc 'Phantom' set, available from his reelclassicdvd website. The supplement to 2 separate Griggs-Moviedrome 16mm releases in the set (with the Bal Masque in both B&W and color, with organ score by Lee Erwin) is a definitive comparison of sequences and shots common to both versions, and I am proud that it has been singled out as a defining supplement by Barrie Maxwell at The Digital Bits, The Silent Era, and other reviewers, despite the sources being exclusively 16mm materials. If you really want to get to the bottom of which takes/cameras were responsible for the two films, I urge you to look at it. Even the Bal Masque has major differences in costume and set designs where footage with Chaney is involved: The harlequin wears a red and white checkered oufit in the color footage, and a solid color outfit with white trims in the b&w footage; also, the balcony escape footage is fully redecorated in the color footage, but very plain in the b&w footage. There are other differences in Chaney-related footage...every scene with his involvement uses different takes between b&w and color footage. David Shepard/FPA's version by Image is supposed to have the film presented at 24fps with the Gaylord Carter LD score, and at 20fps with score by Gabriel Thibaudoux from the 1997 DVD/LD release (both in 1080 HD), plus the 1925 version in SD, as well as the script as issued on the original Image LD. That's the one I'm putting money on...not the Photoplay revamp. There is supposed to be a THIRD 'Phantom' BD coming, but I forget from whom...and I'll pass.
     
  15. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Wow! Thanks for that information -- I'm sorry to say I wasn't aware of reelclassicdvd.com.
     
  16. montrealfilmguy

    montrealfilmguy Supporting Actor

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    With all this information you fellas are providing here,this would have been all terrific for my pal, who recently had the pleasure of seeing it on a big screen here at the Fantasia festival,with of course great piano accompaniment by the excellent Gabriel Thibaudeau. Incidentally,Phantom was the first time he wrote a score for a film. A short fascinating bio and a small Phantom clip to watch. http://www.gabrielthibaudeau.com/biographie_en.php http://www.gabrielthibaudeau.com/videos/FDO.mov
     
  17. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    [falls to knees] MaCQUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  18. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

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    According to wikipedia (I guess you mean this) Edgar Sedwyck re-shot the bulk of the movie after the preview of Rupert Julian's version failed, and then his preview was badly received too, and the final release, was... whatever. We're mostly getting the '29 version anyway, which makes "authorship" issue even more convoluted. Now that we know the extras of the upcoming Image edition (which are next to nothing), has anyone here made up their minds whether to buy this one or wait for the Milestione edition? Is there any reason why they would use different masters?
     
  19. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Has anyone else had a problem with freeze-ups during playback of the 92-minute 1929 version?
     

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