PRESS RELEASE: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925/1930): The Supreme Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Keith Paynter, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Thanks to Ron and Parker for allowing me to post this announcement. My personal comments will follow shortly...

    NOW AVAILABLE FROM REELCLASSICDVD.COM:

     
  2. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    SOLD !
     
  3. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Even if people already own of version of PHANTOM this here is worth picking up for THE LIGHT OF FAITH. A wonderful little gem.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Here is a more direct link:

    Movies From the Silent Era

    scroll to the bottom of the page, which takes time to load up. Lots of interesting titles above it.

    A 3-disc set, $30 plus shipping.
     
  5. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    In the late 1970's, I was barely into my teens when I first saw this projected on 16mm film at a club room at our local YMCA, and was hypnotized by the unique music score and foreboding voice seeming to eminate from the screen, and for the remainder of what was on the screen for 75 minutes, I was hooked, never thinking to myself that this was a silent movie. It was my exposure to the Griggs-Moviedrome edition of Universal's Phantom of The Opera starring Lon Chaney, with music score by veteran organist Lee Erwin, John Griggs as the voice of the Man with the Lantern, and produced by Robert E. Lee (not Confederate Army general, or the "good ship" people were waiting for, in the song of the same name), and started my love affair with this film that is just as strong to this day.

    I made a personal scan for my home video library with my very first video camera, and projector equipment that our library rented out for $20 a day (actually a very good deal in the early 1980's), and was happy to have a very bad looking guilty pleasure, but it was mine nonetheless. It survives in my (now very thin) home theater VHS collection.

    In the summer of 1999 I joined the ebay community, with my very first purchase, a 16mm print of the GM 'Phantom'. I didn't have a projector - I didn't care; all that mattered was buying that film - the projector would come later (and several did). Shortly after acquiring it, I was on the web researching the film, and discovered that this version WAS out there, even though I had the Image/Blackhawk 2-disc laserdisc with both a 35mm 1929 Eastman House and 1925 16mm show-at-home version in the set. I can only imagine what was going through Mark Roth's mind when he got this phone call from some crazed Canadian about buying his authorized DVD. When I got it, I was both amazed and disappointed. The soundtrack was right, but the score for the color footage was a digitally altered section of the all black and white version timed to fit the now-common color Bal Masque footage, even though Lee Erwin had recorded a whole new piece for the color insert footage. I still own it.

    A year ago, I again got in touch with Mark, and asked him about an all-b&w version with the correct Erwin score, and he was first hesistant. He contacted me again a few months later as the 2008 winter approached and he had changed his mind. He sent me a revised set with both all b&w and part-color versions. I thought it was marvellous, and I told him about a personal project I had made not long after getting his first edition - I had taken the time to cut and assemble the 1925 Phantom to the 1930 Phantom, after I contacted restorationist Scott MacQueen about an error in his commentary regarding moving shadows in the umasking sequence he said only appeared in the 1930 version. I cut the entire 1925 version to match every available shot and title card to the common Eastman house print, and was amazed at all the different takes, along with the different camera angles of other simultaneous operators. I sent Mark a copy of this disc, and after he asked if he could include my analysis disc, he said it would now be a three-disc set. I set out to make a brand-new and more accurate A/B comparison, matching camera footage exactly by digitally altering footage speeds to match exactly for simultaneous shots, and matching up alternate takes as best as possible with 1925 footage that was often either longer or shorter, faster or slower. The result is what is now a major supplement in his new package, and is presented in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen optimized for newer screens. I also provided Mark with the lost footage that appears as the "Scream Scenes" featurette.

    I take little credit for it, except for my editing. I gave Mark production credit - it's his authorized release. I did not ask for nor receive any monetary payment for my work, a labour of love of which I am justly proud, and extremely honored to have my name attached in some way to a legitimate release of a version of the film I've been passionate about for over 30 years.

    Mark's discs are single layer DVD-R's but do not not let that dissuade you. The quality of his transfers made with the ELMO TRV-16 look absolutely amazing, and this film looks far better than you would expect, if you think this is just another really ugly public domain print cheaply authored. I have been disappointed by all of Image's DVD releases, especially the excessively DVNR'ed Photoplay version, but this independant release gets the most mileage in my home theater and home PC viewing areas.

    I would strongly recommend and urge you to support this release. Mark didn't have to do it, but I think I got him excited about it all over again, and I am proud to have worked with him in bringing something special to it. Visit his site, and if you are in the Liverpool, NY area the weekend of March 19-22nd, visit his dealer table at the 2009 Cinefest and pick up a copy.

    http://www.picking.com/cinefest2009.html

    Thank you, Ron.

    Thank you, Mark.

    Thank you, everyone.


    Keith Paynter
     
  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    How is this set arranged, exactly?
    What is on disc 1?
    What is on disc 2?
    What is on disc 3?
    Is the 1925 version the entire film, or is it shown only as the widescreen side-by-side comparison?
    Please clarify by listing the features in the order they appear on the discs.

    This one won't sit in the shrink wrap, I'll play it soon as it gets here.

    Richard
     
  7. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Sounds interesting. The Milestone set means well, but it's a mess of PAL conversion or whatever went wrong (at least the 1929 version--I don't recall offhand whether the '25 has the same problems).

    Does this set also have a better version of the '25 (or any version? the description makes it sound as if there's just a comparison to the '29).

    Also, reelclassicdvd's website seems to be down. 404.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Looking forward to seeing this! I saw the G-M version on Archive.org and enjoyed the score. Great quality, too.

    My only hope is that eventually someone creates a super-definitive version in HD with a complete digital cleanup. Maybe in a decade or two...


    TCM has aired the Photoplay version without the additional work by Milestone. It does not seem to have smearing and it's a proper PAL conversion (like the Thames Silents versions of MGM silents). Also doesn't have the graded windowboxing. From what I can tell, the Milestone DVD is properly converted, but the DNR seems to cause the problems.
     
  9. James 'Tiger' Lee

    James 'Tiger' Lee Second Unit

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    The Milestone seems to be a standard PAL-NTSC transfer, time strected to NTSC speed, making the ghosting worse
     
  10. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Richard, since Mark's DVD's are single layer, each disc will have 1 version of the film (1 with b&w BM, 1 w/color BM). The third disc features a recut and re-sequenced 1925 version (with color Bal Masque) playing side-by-side against the 1930 all-b&w version's continuity, intended to compare the footage between the two versions, and runs full length 77 minutes. Several scenes show alternate takes, others are the same takes from different cameras. It took me over two weeks to edit and match up every single shot from the 1925 show-at-home for this comparison. It will keep you very busy trying to spot all the diferences. The three matched image sets shown in the above press release give you a good idea what to expect.

    Extras are spread throught the set. I haven't seen the final product yet (except for the third disc that I produced, which includes the separate A/B analysis of the two versions of the Bal Masque as its extra content) but it s/b on its way.

    Mark's site is now back up.
     
  11. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    The 1925 version is the same it as appeared on the old Image laserdisc set, with tints removed. I have a 16mm print of the show-at-home, but it unfortunately has the color footage spliced in. It does however, have several reel "slates" popping up through the print, which have been typically cut out for releases.

    I will try post some comparison frames later tonight from the A/B disc to give you an idea.
     
  12. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    I'm confused...

    Is the black&white version on the first disc the 1925 cut in the 1925 scene order? Or is it the Moviedrome version of the 1929/30 cut with the alternate black&white Bal Masque sequence from somewhere (1925 cut?)?
     
  13. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Both G-M versions on discs 1 and 2 are the common 1930 cuts, running at 24fps for approx. 77 minutes, and include the Lantern Man sequence (missing from the Photoplay release) with dialogue by John Griggs. One disc includes the original b&w Bal Masque, the other includes the later discovered color footage with re-score by lee Erwin. The opening credits, lantern man, Carlotta footage and Christine's spinning wheel performance are all surviving 24fps re-shoots for the 1929 sound re-issue. With the exception of one short scene, the GM release is indistiguishable from the Blackhawk Eastman House prints.

    The B&W Bal Masque scene in the 1925 show-at-home and the 1930 re-issue are viturally identical. In researching and editing, I found the shots to be more similar than not, with the 1925 footage showing more area, although the 1930 footage is in far better shape. It would appear that the biggest difference between the 1925 and 1930 black & white footage (apart from intertitles) is that more surface area exists on the 1925 footage. You also have to remember that the show-at-home is not the definitive General Release version, it is cut together from many different sources of many different edits and prints.

    The third disc edits and resequences the 1925 show-at-home general release to match the 1930 version, and the two are shown side-by-side, to allow the viewer to catch all the variations between the two. The color footage has been placed into the 1925 show-at-home print to be more historically accurate.

    Consumer/collector prints were initially all b&w. Jack Theakston told me that when David Shepherd discovered the color footage, it was offered to be spliced into existing Blackhawk prints. All-b&w copies are now extremely rare. A small number of VHS tapes had the all b&w version, but virtually any offering of the 1930 Phantom today includes the color footage.
     
  14. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Mark has just sent me the lineup for all three discs as follows:

    DVD #1
    The Phantom (1930) Black and White
    Trailer

    DVD #2
    The Phantom (1930) Color
    Scream Scenes
    The Light of Faith

    DVD #3
    Complete 1930 vs. 1925
    Color vs. B&W Bal Masque with Keith Paynter audio commentary (3:29)

    By the way, the trailer looks phenomenal, far better than either the old Image LD or the Milestone DVD release.
     
  15. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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  16. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    Very interesting. So is the 1925 version on the left?
     
  17. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    The 1930 footage is on the left, the 1925 footage is on the right. Virginia Pearson was Carlotta in the original. The 1929 sound reissue cast Mary Fabian as Carlotta, and Pearson's role was changed to Carlotta's mother in the 1930 release ("My daughter, Carlotta has been insulted!").
     
  18. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Is it DVD-R and does it come with cover artwork?


    Thanks!
     
  19. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Mark's discs are single layer DVD-R (which last longer than many dual layers), and are packaged in a generic sleeve (as shown on his home page) with title info on the spine:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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