Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera to get Special Edition treatment!

Discussion in 'Classic' started by mutleyhyde, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. SaviniFan

    SaviniFan I Have A Fetish

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    366
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    On the cutting room floor.
    I picked this up not 3 or 4 weeks ago. A classic in every sense. Believe it or not, it was the first silent I have ever watched. I enjoyed every minute of it. Amazing the lengths that Chaney would go to to make himself look hideous.
     

  2. I think the video on this DVD was original mastered in the 25 frames per second PAL video format. There was probably some attempt to blend frames to get the 18-20 frame per sec rate of a hand-cranked silent film to appear to move smoothly instead of just doubling some frames to get it to 25 frames per sec - which would make it jumpy. As a cost cutting method - this 25fps PAL version was probably transfered to the 29.97fps NTSC standard. What they probably did is blend some of the frames of the PAL version together to help achieve the NTSC frame rate - which further blurred the image, but kept the motion acceptable - I think it's called "ghosting"

    Just a theory. I agree that it looks like some digital dirt removal might've been overdone. Still - it's a beautiful edition. And the commentary! - that information about Mary Philbin and the man she might have married...that's just incredibly heartbreaking. :(
     
  3. Horrorfan

    Horrorfan New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Goodlettsville,Tennessee
    If your wanting a great introduction to silent horror films I highly recommend picking this up!!!!!
     
  4. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    16,580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Crashed
    Well, tonight I delved into the 1929 reissue version (it's only been two years, after all). You know, this two-DVD package might well be one of my favorite DVD's. The 1929 version has added sound to it, which offers some insight into how Hollywood thought it could add longevity to it's classic titles.

    A couple things struck me this time around. First off, we all give a lot of credit to the classic Universal Horrors, and rightly so. However, the essence of them was there to be exploited. With movies such as this, the blueprint had already been written, just without sound.

    Secondly, I was interested at how successful the film was despite having static cameras. By using several cameras shooting from different angles, things never felt as though they weren't moving.

    Lon Chaney was awesome, as we all know.

    What a wonderful film this is. Honestly, it's the bestversion of the tale I reckon. I have recently made amends with the later Universal version, but compared to this is still pales (as does the Hammer version).

    Just gorgeous, frightening, and beautiful.
     
  5. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,880
    Likes Received:
    605
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    I watched both versions last night, the 1925 version first. I had seen the silent 1929 version once as a kid near Halloween, I was probably about 10 years old. Although I didn't like it as much as Frankenstein or Dracula (which I was already well versed in) it was very entertaining.

    Watching the 1925 version again after probably over 10 years I don't think it's aged quite as well in my mind. Chaney's performance is great with many of his subtle movements. By tilting his mask up to smile and down to growl he was able to make it very clear what his character was thinking. Considering how beat up this 16mm print was that is a remarkable achievement. More often than not though he drops into silent ham mode, which while works for the Phantom character it reflects what the other actors are also doing.

    Watching the 1929 version I can see now that it's a bit of a mess comparatively. The re-edit may have sold the movie more to me as a child, but now I find the '25 version better. I can't fault the dubbing for being off, my understanding is that the restoration team married the silent version with the sound. So I don't think much if anything can be gained historically by watching this. Has Video Watchdog approached this restoration yet?

    Unfortunately it looks like overall this restoration needs a tune up on the technical end. Hopefully an HD remastering will become economically feasible sometime down the road. Maybe by then a true copy of the sound version will turn up as well.
     
  6. SlasherFREAK

    SlasherFREAK Guest

    Nice.
    Haven't gotten a copy.
    But I'll buy the SE.
     

Share This Page