An extra "ghost" in box 5 on the Milestone 2-disc set
Charles Phelps | McKinney, TX United States | 10/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For starters, I agree with all the positive things said about this 2-disc set. Unfortunately, there a couple of things about the discs that just spoiled the whole experience for me and may do so with you.First, there is a "motion blur" or "ghosting" artifact that runs throughout the 1929/30 restoration. It looks similar to what a transfer from PAL video format to NTSC video format looks like only more exaggerated (images appear to be overlapped or double--sometimes triple--exposed). During the unmasking, Chaney's face is unnecessarily blurred, even when using freeze frame and stepping through the scene frame by frame.Milestone has acknowledged the "ghosting", attributing it to adjusting the frame rate of the film during transfer from video master to video master. Incidentally, the original video master was in PAL format and was converted to NTSC for US, but Milestone claims PAL to NTSC was not the cause. Since they performed the additional restoration/picture cleaning on the overly "ghosted" transfer, it became a trade-off as to whether to present the cleaned up version or the "unghosted" version. Why such extensive restoration was done to a video master with excessive motion blur is beyond me. For some folks, this will be a minor thing. For others, it will be very distracting and cast a dark cloud over what looks like to be the cleanest `print' of this movie in existence. I will be keeping the other Image DVD edition with the David Shepherd restoration.Secondly, for the special features, the pause, fast forward, and reverse functions have been disabled. This can be a bit of a nuisance. For example, there is a 21 minute "restored version" of the films' original premiere utilizing stills and expository text. This I was excited about. However, unless you are a speed reader, you won't be able to read everything in one viewing. You can't pause it, or "rewind" to read what you missed. It is like trying to enjoy a book (both text and pictures) with someone else turning the pages for you. If you miss something, you have to start over from page one and go through again.Again, some of you won't care about the motion blur one iota. Others will feel as I do: This disc should've been a contender but instead, it feels like a missed opportunity."
Big screen objection
tamas steiner | OTTAWA , CANADA | 04/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Warning to all purist. The DVD of the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is not the triumph of preservation its advertised as being. First and most important to home theatre owners, the transfer is simply not in focus! Unlike in the movie theatre you cant ask the projetionist to refocus the image.. you are stuck with it. Secondly: if the "preservationists" found the best pre-print material in the 1929 synchronized re-edit as described on the liner notes, why in heavens name don't they present it as originally shown? Pretending that it is the silent version by replacing the soundtrack may be the loophole by which the film could be categorized as public domain but it is inherently dishonest to present it as an example of "film preservation". The original silent cut, the synch sound release and the present (refocused) remaster would be much more apreciated service to posterity. Look to other silent film transfers for guidence in image quality limits.If the box indicates that the contents are a "SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION" and advertises "PRIME..35mm QUALITY" one wishes it lived up to its promise. (DVD version)"
Superb restoration by Image
Vito Skywalker | Hawaii United States | 12/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a couple reviews on here that slam Image Entertainment for its DVD presentation of this Lon Chaney classic, particularly a harsh review entitled "I hate this Image DVD." I believe the reviewers who gave it a thumbs down must actually be the producers of inferior DVD/VHSeditions because the special collector's version I now own is spectacuar. Allow me to rebut the negative criticisms.1. I like the tints. Ths IS the way the movie was originally exhibited and it certainly enhances the film.2. The Thibaudoux score doesn't stop at all like some reviewers would make you believe. It is continuous throughtout the film and most deinitely increases the suspense. It's a wonderful composition and works great with the movie.3. One reviewer complained that the black bars on each side of the screen makes him feel like he's watching the movie through a saloon door. Not the case for me. After the first minute, I didn't even realize the bars were there. Just like when I watch a widescreen movie, the black bars in this case don't bother me at all. At least I know I'm seeing the complete image.4. The action flows smoothly and DOES NOT "ooze" aross the screen like molasses in January. I think they person who said that ought to stick with Keystone Kops flicks if that's what he or she is looking for.Overall, I enjoyed this DVD presentation of Phantom tremendously and highly recommend it. The Image version is, by far, the best on the market."
Lon Chaney (Man of a 1000 Faces) Greatest role now on DVD!
forrie | Nashua, NH United States | 11/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lon Chaney made over 150 films!! 99.9% of which were silent ones. Chaney was born to deaf parents, which proved to be a great contributing factor to his acting genious of the silent screen! Father of Lon Chaney Jr. (1941 Wolfman fame). He died in 1930!The "Man of a Thousand Faces" a nick name he received because of his unbelievable ability to be the master of disguise (both facial and body contortion wise).This "Phantom of the Opera" (1925/this is the 1929 re-released 35mm version) DVD has recaptured the unique splendor of Gaston Leroux's famous novel of the same name and the genius of the Greatest Make-up and Acting genius of the Silent Screen, Lon Chaney. Perfectly digitally remastered the Full Screen presentation is excellent with the original 2/color Technicolor "Bal Masque" scene and Technicolor hues to enhance this visual silent classic. (Hue examples; Blue - Outside Sequences, Yellow - Inside the Opera House, Green - Opera House Cellar, Orange - Phantoms Catacombs, Red - The fire sequences).A new Sychronized digital stereophonic orchestral score (by Gabriel Thibaudoux), to include operatic voice sequences, enhances the entertainment value of this great story.Summary: The masked Phantom (Lon Chaney), Erik horribly disfigured lives in the Catacombs beneath the Opera House in 19th Century Paris. He falls in love with a young operatic understudy Christine (Mary Philbin a real life ballerina). Kidnaps and holds her hostage in his Catacomb lair. Cristene's boyfriend Raoul (Norman Kerry) pursue the Phantom into the dark world below. The Phantoms famous "Bal Masque" and the "Unmasking" scenes high-light this Classic Silent Film.This is considered by Hollywood to be the first great horror film and best of the silent era.Extras: includes many stills with the construction of the Paris Opera House on Universal's backlot (today it stills stands as Stage 28. Imagine that!)The life of Lon Chaney can be enjoyed by the 1957 screen bio film "Man of a Thousand Faces" starring James Cagney as Lon. (see my review)This is the best of Lon Chaney and a the taste of his and Hollywoods genius during the Silent years of Hollywood. Enjoy!"
LON CHANEY SHALL NOT DIE!
Stewart Axelrad | San Antonio, Texas United States | 03/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit, having seen various incarnations of this classic on video, that I expected very little, vis-a-vis the DVD version. Boy, was I surprised! This is yet another triumph by Blackhawk Films. The image quality is superb, with color tintings that greatly enhance this seminal silent film. Lon Chaney is, of course, magnificent as the demented and malformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House. His most well-known role (deservedly so, how DID he create that extra-ordinary make-up?) is a timeless one, as a man longing for love, but who can never obtain it. This version features a beautiful symphonic score by Gabriel Thibaudoux, and as far as silent films go, a very impressive one. A newly mastered version at the correct running speed of 20 frames per second, from the original 35 mm print. Trivial? Not if one wants to view this classic as it was meant to be seen. This version also features an essay by Michael Blake, Chaney expert, on the inside of the case. An altogether superior version, highly recommended by a Chaney fan of over 30 years."