He was the "Man of a Thousand Faces." Generations of filmgoers around the world have been thrilled by his portrayals that showcased the shadows of human nature. And now, on November 1st, Image Entertainment will release on Blu-ray the Lon Chaney classic The Phantom of the Opera (1925) for the first time on Blu-ray. Street date is November 1.
Produced by renowned silent film authority and preservationist David Shepard, the The Phantom of the Opera includes the following versions:
Brand-new HD digital transfer of the 24fps version of 1929 reissue (Academy Aspect Ratio) from the 35mm negative, with tinted sequences including the Bal Masque sequence in two-strip Technicolor. Featuring a brand new music score by Alloy Orchestra, plus Gaylord Carter's famous theatre organ score, released for the first time in stereo.
Brand-new HD transfer of 20fps version of 1929 reissue with tinting, Technicolor and hand-coloring. Symphonic score composed by Gabriel Thibaudeau, performed by I Musici de Montreal, conducted by Yuri Turovsky with Claudine Cote, soprano presented in stereo, along with a new full-length audio essay by Dr. Jon Mirsalis.
Standard definition presentation of the original 1925 release from a 16mm tinted source copy. Accompanied by a new piano score by Dr. Frederick Hodges.
The Phantom of the Opera also contains the following bonus features:
The complete Phantom Script
Phantom Souvenir Program Reproduction
Chaney stars as Erik, the "Phantom" who lives deep within the twisting catacombs and dungeons beneath the 19th century Paris Opera House. The singers all speak of a ghost who walks the halls, yet no one has ever seen him. But when Erik falls in love with the beautiful aspiring singer Christine, rumor becomes reality when he kidnaps her and holds her hostage in his lair. Hoping, praying that she might see beyond the mask and the disfigurement hiding under it...
As in all his films, Chaney designed the now signature makeup for the Phantom, employing techniques Ė like pining his nose with wires Ė that not only expressed the outward physical pain of the characters, but inflicted great personal discomfort on the actor bringing them to life.
That doesn't seem to be porting over quite a few things from Image's DVD set:
* Carl Davis stereo orchestral score.
* Original 1930 soundtrack edited to fit picture.
* Audio commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen.
* "Carla Laemmle Remembers" a 7-minute video interview with David Skal
* 9 chapter selections of Dialogue sequences from the 1930 version not found in the restored version.
* Audio Only Track: Phantom cinematographer Charles Van Enger's interview with historian Richard Koszarski.
Paramount shot multiple versions of the film so there is no one definitive version. Both the 1925 and 1929 versions on this disc are essential viewing. The 1925 version is the NY premiere version. The 1929 re-issue version was a re-edited version made by Paramount after the success of the 1925 premiere. The 1929 cut was supposed to be accompanied with some speech and sound effects. But this BD doesn't seem to have a speech/fx track. The 2003 Milestone DVD, now OOP, does have the speech/fx track. The Milestone DVD also comes with still-frame reconstructions of the Los Angeles and San Francisco premiere versions. So altogether there are 4 versions of the film. We probably should wait for the upcoming 2012 Milestone BD instead, which will likely be a true port of the Milestone DVD.