The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

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antnield
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The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#1 Post by antnield » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:23 pm

Release of the newly restored 1925 version due later this year according to the latest press release.

Jonathan S
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#2 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:03 pm

I expect the restoration will be in conjunction with Photoplay (it has been long-heralded as coming from the BFI on the Photoplay website). The previous (1990s) Photoplay edition, with Carl Davis score, was based on the partially re-shot 1929 version of the 1925 film, as the best visual elements survive for the 1929 re-release. As far as I know, the original 1925 version only survives in 16mm, as included as an extra on previous editions.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#3 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:48 pm

So, is the "1925" mentioned in the press release meant to indicate that this will indeed be a new resto of the original 105 minute version, or does it just denote the original release date? If the former, then I couldn't be more excited. But if it's just the '29 re-release version again, I doubt I'll bother unfortunately.

Orlac
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#4 Post by Orlac » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:38 am

I'd spring for the Photoplay version, but having a proper tinted 1925 version is essential.

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reaky
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#5 Post by reaky » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:24 am

I doubt any meaningful restoration can be carried out on the 16mm print of the 1925 Phantom. Might the BFI have got their hands on a better print? As others have said, if it's the 1929 again, I'll stick with my Park Circus blu-ray (which looks lovely)

Brianruns10
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#6 Post by Brianruns10 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:23 am

I'd be fascinated to see just what this restoration winds up being.

As I understood it, the '25 version is essentially a lost film. The '29 is of unclear origins, but the given it has alternate takes and angles from the 16mm Show at Home prints suggests it was compiled from the b-camera, or from alternate takes of the A-camera, and intended for international distribution to theaters not yet quipped to played the newly sonorized version of Phantom.

And while the 16mm print *may* be derived from the domestic version of the '25, as I understand it, no two prints are alike, and what has been made available on DVD is more of a Frankenstein creation, of parts cobbled together from the whole (including some bits that may not even be from the '25, but rather the '29 version...like the lantern man at the beginning), so now it's rather hard to say just what remains.

Is anyone aware of a cutting continuity script surviving for the '25? This would surely help in terms of determining what shots were and were not in the original version, as well as a sense of length.

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reaky
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#7 Post by reaky » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:55 am

This is a thorough account of the various versions, edited and reshot, of the 1925 Phantom.

There's scope here for a box set in the vein of Criterion's The Complete Mr Arkadin, though it seems clear the film was never even close to a satisfactorily coherent piece of cinema. Without Chaney it would most likely not have endured at all.

Jonathan S
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#8 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:18 pm

I don't have it, but so far I think the most elaborate release has been the four-DVDR "Supreme Collector's Edition" from reelclassicdvd (about three-quarters down the page) which has various permutations of the film and related extras:

A brand-new, needle-sharp transfer of the prized Essex Films/Griggs-Moviedrome version of the 1930 release. Complete with the famous "man with the lantern" opening (voiced by John Griggs) and the soaring, exciting pipe organ score performed by Lee Erwin - newly re-mixed for stereo! This is the only authorized release of this much esteemed, copyrighted, version of the film.

"Scream Scenes: The Phantom of the Opera". A short film containing some very unusual title cards believed to be from an earlier version of the film as well as a brief "lost" scene of Lon Chaney at the organ. The boudoir scene, long ravaged by nitrate decomposition, appears here in near pristine condition.

"Theatrical Trailer". Newly reconstructed. Available nowhere else, our version is taken from several sources and blended together to yield the best, most complete trailer possible.

"The Phantom of the Opera: 1930 vs. 1925". An exclusive feature length production created and introduced for this edition by Keith Paynter. Using the 1930 re-release as a foundation, a wide-screen, side-by-side and scene-for-scene comparison is made between the 1930 and the 1925 releases. The sometimes subtle and often unmistakably distinct differences between camera angles, title cards and alternate takes are plainly seen.

Two complete versions of the 1930 release. Ever since the discovery of the early Technicolor Bal Masque footage, the black and white version of the scene (which is very different in content) has become rather rare. Here we present two versions of the film. One containing the color footage, the other in black and white.

The original 1925 release. The film as originally presented in 1925, more than 30 minutes longer than the 1930 release. This version contains additional scenes and a more complex story with title cards that also differ from the later release. Though existing sources are only fair in quality, many prefer this original version of the film. It is presented here with the color Bal Masque de l' Opera scene for historic accuracy and a brand-new, spine-tingling pipe organ score composed and performed by Ben Model!

"Color vs Black and White". An amazing wide-screen, side-by-side comparison between the Bal Masque de l' Opera scene in color and its black and white counterpart. With commentary by Keith Paynter.

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antnield
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#9 Post by antnield » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:55 am

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (3-Disc Dual Format Edition)

A film by Rupert Julian

BFI Video proudly present this definitive three-disc Dual Format Edition of this celebrated classic of the silent era and horror cinema.

Lon Chaney, 'the man of a thousand faces', gives his most famous performance in this first version of the oft-filmed tale. Based on Gaston Leroux's novel, Chaney stars as the Phantom, who lives in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, and falls in love with the voice of a young opera singer. Infatuated, he kidnaps her, dragging her to the depths below where she will sing only for him.

Directed by Rupert Julian, this lavish 1925 production launched the Hollywood Gothic style which would become the trademark of Universal horror films.

Original prints of the film were fully tinted, with some sequences in Technicolor, and a rooftop scene using a special process that enabled the Phantom s cloak to show red against the blue night sky. This Photoplay restoration replicates all these effects, and is accompanied by Carl Davis celebrated score that draws heavily on Gounod's Faust, which is the opera being performed in the film.

Special Features

- Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
- Newly restored presentation of the tinted and toned 1929 version, with Carl Davis score
- High Definition presentation of the 1925 version, with newly-commissioned piano accompaniment
- Original trailers from the 1925 and 1929 versions
- The Man with the Lantern sequence
- Sequences from the sound version
- Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000, Kevin Brownlow, 86 mins, DVD only): Kevin Brownlow's definitive documentary
- Fully illustrated booklet with essays, films notes and credits

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tenia
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#10 Post by tenia » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:55 am

I'm not that familiar with these 2 versions of Phantom of the Opera, but what are the differences in this package VS what has been released by Park Circus ?

Jonathan S
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#11 Post by Jonathan S » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:50 am

For many (including myself) the Carl Davis orchestral score, exclusive to Photoplay's edition, will be the biggest selling point. Also (if it follows the previous Photoplay presentation) I think this will be the first HD restoration of the 1929 cut (or based on same) at a frame-rate slower than 24fps - and the first HD presentation of the original 1925 film at all, though it remains to be seen whether the film elements for that are any better than the usual 16mm copies.

There could well be actual footage differences between the Photoplay and Park Circus (also previous) editions of both cuts, but as Photoplay have done a "new restoration" I guess that won't be known until someone is able to compare them in detail.

The extras are almost totally different, and if anyone doesn't already have KB's superb Lon Chaney documentary (also in the US TCM Archives/Warner Chaney set) that alone is almost reason enough to buy the BFI edition!

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McCrutchy
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#12 Post by McCrutchy » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:12 pm

The cover art for this is tremendous:

Image

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antnield
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#13 Post by antnield » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:29 pm


John-Paul
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#14 Post by John-Paul » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:42 am

Additional extras announced on the BFI website:

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

Particularly pleased to see that some of the elements of the sound re-issue have surfaced, hopefully they will be tied up to the soundtrack. Really looking forward to this release.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#15 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:16 am

Here's the image that cover was taken from, which was also used for the Milestone DVD release:

Image

I'm getting the real sense that this is just nothing more than the usual 16's getting an HD pass in telecine for the first time. If clean 35's were found for the original domestic release version we would have heard about it long before the release of this set!

The rerelease print is in fantastic shape... but the audio/dialog from the sonorization of the 1929 version is just hilarious in parts.

Orlac
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#16 Post by Orlac » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:23 pm

I'd personally prefer to see the 1925 cut restored with the tints and Technicolour sequences.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#17 Post by MichaelB » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:02 am

Full specs announced:
The Photoplay Productions restoration of
The Phantom of the Opera
A film by Rupert Julian
3-Disc Dual Format Edition

Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces, stars in this, the original adaptation of the celebrated 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux. Now newly restored, Rupert Julian's lavish production is brilliantly scored by Carl Davis and complemented by many special features. Presented in a 3-disc Dual Format Edition and released on 2 December 2013, it is the last of nine home cinema titles released by the BFI as part of GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film.

When Erik, the Phantom (Lon Chaney) falls in love with the voice of Christine, a young opera singer (Mary Philbin), he drags her to the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House and forces her to sing only for him...

Special Features

• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition;
• Original 1925 version (b&w, 103 mins) with newly commissioned piano accompaniment by Ed Bussey;
• Original 1925 trailer and 1929 sound reissue trailer;
• Reel 5 from lost 1929 sound reissue: the only surviving element, discovered in the Library of Congress archives;
• The 'man with the 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): the definitive documentary on the legendary actor and make-up artist;
• Channel 4 Silents restoration souvenir programme (PDF);
• Illustrated booklet featuring new essays, an original review and film credits.

Product Details

RRP: £22.99 / cat. no. BFIB1155 / Cert PG
USA / 1929 / tinted and toned, black and white, and colour / silent with music / 91 mins / Original aspect ratio 1.19:1
Disc 1: BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and PCM stereo audio (48k/24-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound / Dolby Digital stereo audio (192 kbps)
Disc 3: DVD5 / PAL / Dolby Digital stereo audio (192 kbps)
...and here's an original trailer for the 1925 version.

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manicsounds
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#18 Post by manicsounds » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:12 pm


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EddieLarkin
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#19 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:21 am

Figured I'd copy my post about this disc from 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. I've counted some scenes that are going at 8,1,8,1,8,1 and some that are 5,1,6,1,5,1,6,1. There might be more. I wonder if peerpee has the disc, as I know he likes to fanny around with this stuff too (or David M. might like to comment, as he worked on the disc).

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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manicsounds
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#20 Post by manicsounds » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:16 pm


Orlac
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#21 Post by Orlac » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:07 pm

I think the Technicolor and 16mm inserts were windowboxed to fit in the cropped "Movetone" ratio of the reissue - kind of a case of the tail wagging the dog.

The 16mm in b&w isn't great, but as you can see from the Photoplay restoration, it benefits a lot from the tinting. Pity the whole 1925 cut wasn't tinted, and the Technicolor scene inserted.

But, oh...that Carl Davis score is heaven!

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EddieLarkin
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#22 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:11 am

I watched the entirety of the discs during the week and it was the first time for me seeing the original version, it now being in a watchable form. I watched the '29 reissue straight after and now feel very disappointed that it was this version that Photoplay focused on years ago when doing their initial restoration. It is a complete mess of a film, especially in the first half, compared to the far superior '25 version. Despite only having about 10 minutes of footage missing, the first half is completed re-edited to the film's detriment. Also, despite this being the silent '29 version, it was still pointlessly cropped to 1.19:1 in prints. The whole image looks unbalanced once you're aware of this.

What I would've liked to see is the '25 "show at home" print cleaned up as best it can be, with the wonderful tinting, the Davis score, and if necessary, identical scenes from the '29 version spliced in, especially the Bal Masque/Rooftop sequence. Heck, in the '29 version, the scenes in Christine's bedroom in the crypts ARE from the show at home print, nicely tinted. The drop in quality is obvious but not jarring, so I think this would have worked fine.

What's most disappointing is that it's the '29 version that the vast majority of buyers are going to be watching. I saw it for the first time about a year ago via the Park Circus disc, and whilst it was nice seeing the famous unmasking and Bal Masque scenes in context, the film itself I felt did not work at all. In comparison, the '25 version is almost Nosferatu level good. I suggest anyone who has never seen the '25 version watch it via this great disc, and anyone completely new to Phantom should definitely start with that version!

Orlac
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#23 Post by Orlac » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:15 am

Damage aside, the 16mm prints look ok. At least the top isn't totally gone like what we have for the extended Metropolis.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#24 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:44 am

Eddie, I agree. Although I haven't watched the '25 version yet, the '29 version clearly has some holes in the story. It does look great, though. It's a shame that it wasn't taken care of back in the day. I guess we can say that about most films from that era.

pianist
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Re: The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian)

#25 Post by pianist » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:11 pm

I haven't got either of the Phantom Blu-rays.

I noticed the BFI one seems to have dropped in price and the Park Circus one is available in region 2 now.

From reading the comments I'm thinking the BFI one is the better choice but not totally sure.

As a newbie, would most agree the BFI is the best option?
Last edited by pianist on Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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