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Blu-ray Review: The Phantom Of The Opera
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Blu-ray Review: The Phantom of the Opera (1925/1929)

The Phantom of the Opera
Blu-ray Edition
Director: Rupert Julian
Screenwriters: Elliott J. Clawson, Raymond L. Schrock
Cast: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Snitz Edwards, Cesare Gravina, Gibson Gowland, Arthur Edmund Carewe
Kino Classics
Not Rated | 78/92/114 Minutes
Release Date: October 13, 2015

“If I am the Phantom, it is because man’s hatred has made me so. If I shall be saved, it will be because your love redeems me.”

An adaptation of the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux, 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most lavish spectacles of the silent era. Directed by Rupert Julian (The Cat Creeps), the film stars Lon Chaney (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as the Phantom, a deformed performer who haunts the Paris Opera House.

Leroux’s novel has inspired countless adaptations. There’s Universal’s 1943 film with Claude Rains and Susanna Foster; Hammer’s 1962 production with Herbert Lom and Heather Sears; and Brian De Palma’s spirited 1974 horror-musical, The Phantom of the Paradise. Hell, there’s even a 1989 version starring Robert Englund as the Phantom! Of course, the adaptation most people are familiar with these days is Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film, an adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum.

None of these films can rival the original, however. Lon Chaney’s ghastly death’s-head visage remains one of the most iconic monster makeups in the history of horror, right up there Jack Pierce’s work on Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Wolf Man. To achieve the Phantom’s skull-like features, Chaney pulled the tip of his nose up and pinned it in place with a wire, enlarging his nostrils with black paint. When Christine (Mary Philbin) pulls away the Phantom’s mask, we are still shocked (and impressed) by what is underneath.

just in time for Halloween, Kino Classics presents a digitally-restored, two-disc collection of Julian’s classic film. This definitive release includes the 1929 theatrical version, presented at two historically-accurate projection speeds and restored from 35mm elements by Film Preservation Associates. The highlight of this version is the Technicolor Bal Masqué sequence, in which the Phantom interrupts the masquerade ball as the Red Death.

In addition to meticulously hand-colored sequences that replicate the original Handschiegl Color Process, this version features three scores: one composed and performed by the Alloy Orchestra, a theatre organ score arranged and performed by Gaylord Carter, and a musical setting composed by Gabriel Thibaudeau.

The second disc contains the original 1925 cut, which contains scenes cut from the 1929 release. Also included are rare, lengthy excerpts of the partially-lost 1930 sound re-issue version. For fans of classic cinema and iconic horror characters, Kino Classics has delivered the ultimate edition of Julian’s culturally significant film.

Kino’s digitally-restored, two-disc release of The Phantom of the Opera is now available on Blu-ray at Amazon.

Special Features

Disc 1:
Music composed and performed by Alloy Orchestra
Theatre organ score arranged and performed by Gaylord Carter
Musical setting composed by Gabriel Thibaudeau
Audio commentary by film historian Jon C. Mirsalis

Disc 2:
Alternate 1925 release version, featuring a musical setting arranged and performed by Frederick Hodges
Lengthy excerpts of the 1930 sound re-issue version (mono)
Original screenplay and trailer
Interview with Composer Gabriel Thibaudeau
Two 1925 travel films: “Paris From a Motor” and “A Trip on the Seine”

Cover Art

The Phantom of the Opera Blu-Ray from Kino Classics

About Kino Lorber

With a library of 1,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for over 30 years, releasing over 25 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Classics, and Alive Mind Cinema banners, including five Academy Award® nominated films in the last seven years. In addition, the company brings over 70 titles each year to the home entertainment market with DVD and Blu-ray releases under its five house brands, distributes a growing number of third party labels, and is a direct digital distributor to all major platforms including iTunes, Netflix, HULU, Amazon, Vimeo, Fandor and others.

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