The British Film Institute will add three titles to its Blu-ray catalog in November: Thorold Dickinson's Gaslight (1940), Leslie Megahey's Schalcken the Painter (1979), and Rupert Julian's The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
Based on Patrick Hamilton's celebrated stage play Gaslight is a harrowing and claustrophobic film about domestic fear. Anton Walbrook (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Red Shoes) stars as the terrifying husband who puts the sanity of his fragile and tortured wife (Diana Wynyard) under siege.
The success of Gaslight on stage and film encouraged Hollywood studio MGM to buy the remake rights in the early 1940s, with a clause insisting that all existing prints of Dickinson's British version be destroyed. Unseen for many decades, this definitive version has been digitally restored by the BFI.
World premiere of this highly sought-after ghost story from the BBC, released in the BFI's acclaimed Flipside series. Based on a short story by Sheridan Le Fanu, Schalcken the Painter was originally shown in the Omnibus strand on BBC 2 during Christmas 1979. The story follows a young seventeenth century Flemish painter Godfried Schalcken, who forsakes love for ambition, but discovers that there is still a terrible price to pay for his choice. The superb cast includes Jeremy Clyde, Maurice Denman and Cheryl Kennedy.
Newly transferred to High Definition from the film materials preserved in the BFI National Archive, the release includes such as the rare, experimental Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, The Pit (1962), assistant directed by Peter Collinson.
World premiere release on Blu-ray
Interview with Director Leslie Megahey
The Pit (1962, Edward Abraham, 25 mins): experimental film based on the classic Poe tale The Pit and the Pendulum
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.
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