Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Digiview DVD: Pretty good for $1
coasteray | 11/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD at a Dollar Store on a rack full of Digiview el-cheapo DVDs. The thought here was that for a single dollar, I couldn't lose. I don't think I did.
Since this film from 1925 has not been restored, according to what I've read online, anyway, and is available only on a 16mm print at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, you get what you get. It doesn't look pristine or even of fine quality. It's definitely watchable, however, and you have to accept that up to now, that's all we can get. Also, the only thing that comes in this version is the DVD. NO ads, liner notes, pictures; zippo! What do you expect for a buck?
A few mentions:
(1) The contrast varies during the film, but it's okay to watch, I guess. Sorry that it's not perfect.
(2) The "soundtrack" is not the original-style organ music that would have been heard in a real theater, but rather a repeated classical music track. After a while, you will get tired of the repetition, although the music itself is fine. More music segments would have slowed the repetition.
(3) The total time from the opening to the conclusion of the final credits is 1:46:18. Ignore the "60 minutes" mentioned on the DVD case. That is completely wrong!
(4) The Ball scene is in the two-strip Technicolor, while the rest of the film is completely black and white.
(5) When Christine and Rauol are on the Opera house roof, the Phantom is still in black and white.
(6) After the opening titling and cast list, the film begins with the man with the lantern.
I'm just mentioning these items because of some Amazon comments I have read that mention some of these things, or just ignore them. As far as I can tell, this DVD version is the 1925 original. Besides Lon Chaney, the cast includes Mary Philbin as Christine, and Norman Kerry as Rauol.
It's really hard to get accurate reviews of The Phantom of the Opera on Amazon because most of the comments on the various DVD versions are mostly repeated from the two-DVD set that features the 1925 original AND the 1929 re-worked re-release. Amazon needs to keep all of those comments confined to that particular release. Each release should feature its own unique comments from buyers. As you look around on Amazon, watch out for this problem. At least Amazon mentions before each reviewer if that review is pertaining to another DVD version.
I really don't know if there are better looking versions of the 1925 film, since a real restoration apparently hasn't been done yet, and here it is 2008. Why isn't some outfit doing a restoration? This is a Hollywood icon from the silent era. Even Universal hasn't restored this film. Go figure out these people!
I hope this is a helpful review of a very cheap DVD, which turned out better than I thought it would."