Phantom of the Opera: Special Edition - SEPT 9 (silent version)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Patrick McCart, Jun 22, 2003.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Milestone Video will be releasing their 2-disc edition of Phantom of the Opera on September 9th. This is straight from Milestone.

    The fully-packed DVD set will include the restored version (with color sequences) by Photoplay Productions (Kevin Brownlow and David Gill) with an orchestral score by Carl Davis. Extras include a commentary by Scott MacQueen, the 1929 Vitaphone soundtrack, the 1925 general release (from 16mm) version, and a lot more.

    While Image has their nice edition (David Shepard actually shared some footage with Brownlow, and vice versa) and Kino will have their edition out sometime...this will be the "Extreme Edition" for the film.

    Of course, it's possible that dates may change...but it looks like this is really the date. Along with Warner Home video's upcoming Lon Chaney set in October, silent horror fans ought to have a good 3rd quarter!
     
  2. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    I don't care how many times this gets issued, it's still my favorite silent classic. If it has a restoration on par with Kino's Metropolis, even better.

    The 1925 release is going to be a challenge - it's pretty bad, based on the 16mm print source used for the first Image laserdisc 'Silent Classics' release (no 35mm prints, orginal or safety, apparently survived), but not as rough as Chaney's other Universal classic The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.

    The newer Image LD/DVD release is an improvement, but is over-saturated colorwise, and I can't stand the symphonic soundtrack.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Actually, from what I've heard, the 16mm version will be cleaned up and mastered well enough that it'll look fantastic.
     
  4. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Wow, wow, WOW! Very cool. Been waiting for the word on this and now I can't wait to add it to my collection! Thanks for the heads-up Patrick.

    It will be interesting to see how this compares to Kino's, but this definitely sounds like the edition to beat.
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Timeless, ever-inspiring classic. More than just a great movie, it is a 20th Century cultural milestone.


    Gordy
     
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Thanks Patrick for the update. Never seen this version and will purchase this for the collection

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    The 1929 Vitaphone soundtrack is going to be interesting!
     
  8. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I've long admired Milestone's work on DVD; this is the release of the year in my mind, and I've truly been on tenderhooks (a sloppy horror suggestion, sorry [​IMG]) awaiting it. News of a specific release date is very exciting (but what, specifically, happened to the Mad Love Collection, and the next batch of Pickford films, all of which had release months that have come and gone? [​IMG] Oh well -- Phantom remains my first priority, and a firm date is great news).
     
  9. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    It sounds like I'm justified in holding off on buying the Image edition. Can't wait!
     
  10. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Bill, do you mean Mad Love as in the Karl Freund/Peter Lorre Mad Love?
     
  11. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Nope, but when I first heard about it, I was hoping it was the Lorre film! The release is actually even more "exotic" than that classic horror picture, as it turns out -- a collection of three silent Russian pictures: After Death, Dying Swan, and Twilight of a Woman's Soul. Intriguing titles, no? I've never seen them, but my interest was piqued back when Milestone began discussing them on the silents newsgroup. They (meaning company head Dennis Dorris) announced that the set was due ... hmm, I think in June (I've moved it to the "unannounced" section on my personal list of upcoming discs, but I believe it sat in the May or June section for quite some time), and at the same time said "if not sooner" ... yet here it is nearly July, and no sign of 'em. The Pickford films were originally "rumored" for May (this according to Barrie Maxwell at The Digital Bits). Such is the way of things with smaller companies, as unexpected delays continue to hit their production hopes, and such is also the way of it with newsgroups, where just about everything, at the end of the day, is a rumor or an opinion, rather than a fact. HTF represents much more solid ground, from my limited perusal of such things. Info here is subjected to a much keener scrutiny, and is usually more reliable as a result. I imagine one of the HTF silent film fans will post a thread for the Mad Love set when a new arrival date is announced (in short, so far as I know, "Mad Love" is strictly a thematic name for the films in the set, and not the title of any picture therein).

    In the meantime, I always check the Image website at the beginning of each month; they release Milestone's product on DVD, material from David Shepard, and in general a wonderfully wide range of silent and early sound pictures -- thus a company whose release schedules are always worth a gander. Some months are dry for releases of any "classic era" films, but other months see anywhere from one to several releases "suddenly" on the horizon which don't seem to have been reported elsewhere (Fritz Lang's You Only Live Twice* streets today, for instance, yet seems to have received little coverage on the internet at large). They update around the beginning of each month with a new month of announcements (usually two months in advance), so right now the August releases are up, and September's material should be announced next week (when we'll have a chance to confirm whether or not September 9th is locked for Phantom). Here's their website:

    Image Entertainment


    * Just seeing if everyone's awake. [​IMG] The Lang picture is not part of the Bond franchise; it's called You Only Live Once.
     
  12. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, figured it was something like that.

    Those are intriguing titles, though!
     
  13. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Deleted Post (see below)
     
  14. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote (originally posted by Bill Burns):

    “I've long admired Milestone's work on DVD; this is the release of the year in my mind, and I've truly been on tenderhooks (a sloppy horror suggestion, sorry ) awaiting it. News of a specific release date is very exciting (but what, specifically, happened to the Mad Love Collection, and the next batch of Pickford films, all of which had release months that have come and gone? Oh well -- Phantom remains my first priority, and a firm date is great news).”

    I’ll start off by saying that I’d jump at a chance of getting the Karl Freund/Peter Lorre version of MAD LOVE (1935) on DVD. By the way, does anybody know if there is actually a longer version than the currently available 70-minute print? I say this because Leslie Halliwell, the eminent British film critic, lists its running time as being 83 minutes in his “Film Guide”! However, neither the IMDB nor the “All Movie Guide” websites mention anything about this “alternate version”. For myself, I’ve only ever seen it in its “shorter” cut (both in English and Italian). Incidentally, I’ve recently watched the Mel Ferrer/Christopher Lee version of THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1960) but one version I’d really love to see is the Robert Wiene/Conrad Veidt 1925 Silent.

    Anyway, to get back to Milestone’s MAD LOVE DVD. For those who own a DVD player with multiregional capabilities, the BFI has already released its own edition of MAD LOVE: THREE FILMS BY EVGENII BAUER on R2 DVD containg the same three short films: TWILIGHT OF A WOMAN’S SOUL (1913), AFTER DEATH (1915) and THE DYING SWAN (1917) with some choice supplements. Personally I had never even heard of these films or their director prior to chancing upon a positive review of this disc by a regular poster at these Forums, Jon Robertson, but now I’m sure that I’ll eventually get this disc…some time or other. I haven’t been able to locate any online reviews of this disc yet, but here’s a link to the official BFI website for more information on this DVD released on 06/24/02:

    http://www.bfi.org.uk/videocat/index...1b8b71ea6f7603

    The only Russian Silent films of the same era (i.e pre-Dovzhenko, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, etc.) I’ve seen so far were a couple of Ladislaw Starewicz shorts (via Image’s DVD of THE CAMERAMAN’S REVENGE AND OTHER FANTASTIC TALES) and the lengthy excerpts from THE PORTRAIT (1916), THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1916) and SATAN EXULTANT (1917) included on the RusCiCo/Image disc of VIY, OR SPIRIT OF EVIL (1967), and they all looked mighty intriguing!

    About THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925): I’ll definitely get the Milestone/Image 2-Disc Set come next September, even though I’ve already purchased this one twice on VHS! However, I can’t really see a reason why Kino should come up with their own edition. Will this be a repeat performance of their DVD editions of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1919) and NOSFERATU (1922) which had me purchase both versions for the two films even though I already had them on VHS? I can understand that all three titles are in the Public Domain and are famous enough to attract the consumer’s attention, but why don’t they direct their efforts towards other great Silent films which may currently be languishing in some vault?

    One last thing: apparently we shouldn’t set our expectations too highly for the Image DVD of Fritz Lang’s YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937). I’ve had it on pre-order for weeks now but after reading the two disheartening reviews over at "DVD Savant" and "DVD Talk", I’m thinking of cancelling it outright! The word isn’t too good on Image’s DVD of Alfred Hitchcock’s UNDER CAPRICORN (1949) either but, given that I’ve never seen this one and have been wanting to for years, I might still pick it up. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
     
  15. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    You're right, Roderick, the Mad Love "Collection" is a single disc -- I keep calling it a "set" because it's three films, but that's not accurate.

    Incidentally, for those interested, the MIA Pickfords (perhaps later in the year?) are reportedly these titles:

    Heart o' the Hills
    Little Lord Fauntleroy
    Poor Little Rich Girl
    Suds
    Through the Back Door

    Don't forget that several other Photoplay restorations are due from Milestone: The Chess Player currently has a date: July 29th (see Image's website for disc details), Phantom of course, and four which do not yet have release dates: Nosferatu, said (I believe by Barrie Maxwell) to have been delayed until 2004 (undoubtedly it, too, will prove the definitive edition ... holding off on the current Kino edition has been tough, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait), The Blot, It (Clara Bow; a pleasant Kino edition is currently available), and La Terre.

    I "discovered" the Lorre Mad Love on TCM a few years ago, and fell head over heels for the picture -- it's a marvel of atmosphere and sheer, creepy delight. I'd love to see a quality DVD at some point ... is it a Universal title? If so, mayhap we'll hear more when they again kick-start their Classic Monsters series (and reissue the now OOP discs already offered under that banner), which when last I heard was thought likely as a tie-in with the 2004 release of Van Helsing to theatres (Stephen Sommers pits Hugh Jackman against several Universal monsters, not "merely" Dracula ... sounds like a great action/horror concept to me [​IMG] But then I'm the loon who thinks The Mummy Returns is better in both tone and pace than Sommers' first Mummy picture, and represents a very funny, invigorating and stylish comic book take on the classic franchise; oh, many say, you're the one! Yep [​IMG]).
     
  16. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    While their September slate is surprisingly thin, and so far as my eye detected includes no other true "classic" release (the closest contender is some educational animation offered under Capra's name), The Phantom of the Opera is now up at Image's website, and just as promised by Patrick at the open of this thread, it'll be here September 9th. [​IMG] Excellent. Check their website for further details and cover art:

    http://www.image-entertainment.com

    (I can't link the actual page for The Phantom of the Opera, as the website uses Java applets to generate the pages for their release schedule and individual title information).

    The release of the year is upon us. I only hope (oh, I do hope) that Brownlow's restoration has been generated as a native NTSC master, and is not a PAL-NTSC conversion. Kino's conversion of Brownlow's The Iron Mask is solid, but nevertheless exhibits motion blur in certain scenes (particularly when facial detail is prominent during scenes of motion, and in a few other instances as well). With the original silent version included, though, and with such a very fair price ($24.95 MSRP), even if a (quality) PAL-NTSC conversion was necessitated, I continue to count The Phantom of the Opera as the best release news of 2003.
     
  17. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote (originally posted by Bill Burns):

    “While their September slate is surprisingly thin, and so far as my eye detected includes no other true "classic" release (the closest contender is some educational animation offered under Capra's name)”

    Sorry to hijack this thread but I’m rather surprised that for such a lover of Silent film as you, Bill, you missed the LAUGH WITH MAX LINDER announcement on the Image website! I have never watched any of his films but his reputation rivaled Chaplin’s in his time – actually, he came first and Chaplin himself never hid the fact that he considered him as a sort of mentor (they also met in real life). Besides, he even starred in a short film AU SECOURS (1924), directed by none other than Abel Gance!! Tragically, he died (in a suicide pact with his wife!) at the still young age of 41.

    So, for me, this release is just as important as the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA set itself if not more – after all, we have known about the latter for some time already!

    Anyway, for anyone who may know nothing of Max Linder, here’s the Synopsis taken directly from the Image website, followed by the impressive array of Special Features which have been prepared for this release:


    Synopsis:

    Pioneering comedy legend Max Linder wrote, produced, directed and starred in SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK, now on DVD complete for the first time since its 1921 release! Hilarious misadventures begin when Max' butler, chasing a maid, breaks an expensive full-length mirror. The butler persuades the cook, who somewhat resembles Max, to stand behind the frame and be Max's reflection. This gag, developed by Max, has become a classic of film and even television borrowed by everyone from the Marx Brothers to Abbott and Costello to Red Skeleton.


    Special Features:

    ·Bonus sequence of "candid" footage showing Max (in costume for SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK) clowning around with Maurice Tourneur, another transplanted Frenchman and a premier director of the era
    ·Digitally mastered from an original 35mm tinted print
    ·New small-orchestra score compiled by Robert Israel using authentic period arrangements of silent film music
    ·Includes four of Max' early short sketches made in France: TROUBLES OF A GRASSWIDOWER, LOVE'S SURPRISES, MAX TAKES A PICTURE and MAX SETS THE STYLE - all are digitally mastered from excellent film elements one of them a hand-colored vintage print and three are accompanied by Robert Israel
    ·Condensation of BE MY WIFE, Max's second American feature


    By the way, the LAUGH WITH MAX LINDER DVD will be released on 9/23 at an MSRP of $24.99.
     
  18. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    You're absolutely right, Roderick -- the Max Linder release looks to be a certain winner. Somehow I passed right over it when scanning the release news ... perhaps it's the "laugh with" portion of the title that threw me (after seeing the animation release titles, I think it fleetingly registered as possible children's fare, "laugh along with Barney" and such [​IMG]; I didn't notice Max Linder's* name), I dunno, but whatever the excuse, this was a major oversight on my part. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

    Elsewhere on the silent landscape, for anyone who has yet to get their pre-orders in, Image's edition of 1927's Tempest, with John Barrymore and the never-fails-to-take-my-breath-away Camilla Horn, streets on Tuesday. It's a David Shepard presentation, and a Philip Carli score is included along with the original score heard during the film's release (by virtue of synchronized Vitaphone discs). Here are links to cover art at DVDEmpire:

    Front Cover:
    Tempest (1927)

    Back Cover:
    Tempest (1927)

    * Note that the all-too-brief, but charming, condensation of Be My Wife can also be found on David Shepard's Slapstick Encyclopedia set. But why two presentations of the condensation and none of the full feature, I wonder? Does the full length film survive? If so, I'd love to see it on disc.
     
  19. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    Aren't they supposed to release it on Sept 2? I thought there was a law or something....[​IMG]

    At any rate, I'll definitely be looking forward to this release of Phantom. One of my favorite stories.
     

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