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Why "The Phantom of the Opera" 1925/1929 Blu-ray is a Must Buy! (FULL REVIEW)

Well what can I say except if you don't buy this clasc you are a fool!

First off it has 3 count em 3 verons of the movie!! all with different scores to boot!

First up is the original 1925 veron, it is in standard definition here but mostly because it is off an old 6 MM print from Universals old show at home reels, the original reels of the movie are sadly gone and probably lost forever. It is color tinited to show different moods and is 114 mins long. It is very slow paced and may not do well with the short attention span generation but it is VERY good and closer to the true veron of the movie. The piano score by Fredrick Hodges really captures the mood as well!

Next we have the first 1929 reissue that comes in at 20 frames per second and was transferred to hi definition, though don't expect to be blown away thinking it is "high definition" as the movie is VERY old and came off of a nitrite print that has obvious gns of age to it even a bit of melting in one scene. For those that don't know, when the movie was reissued in 1929 many sequences were re-shot and the story changed around a bit with sound added and speaking scenes nce "talkies" were all the rage at the time. Characters were changed, added and cut down and the plot changed in many spots. This veron also has the 2 strip technicolor scenes in it which look great especially when Erik comes out as the masque of red death.

Sadly (yet again) even though this veron had talking parts to it (there is even a man with a lantern who is obviously speaking at the beginning posbly giving the audience a warning ala Frankenstein but you can't hear him) this veron does not sync up with the audio tracks that are out there so they have been omitted (posbly because this came off a European print that was filmed at different angles as was a common practice back then) and nce it runs at 20 frames per second which is lent movie speed, I'm inclined to believe that this was a lent reissue that was made for theatres that didn't have sound capabilities at the time.

So again it looks as though the complete veron of this reissue is lost for all times as well though. Fear not Biditess! This veron has a very impresve orchestral score by Gabriel Thibaudeau! There is also a GREAT full length essay by film historian Dr. Jon Mirsalis who goes over all of the veron differences and gives a great history lesson about Lon Chaney. This veron clocks in at 92 minutes and is the best looking of the 3, the last veron is also of the 1929 reissue and is presented in 24 frames per second which is "talkie" speed though again the length of the movie and camera angles etc do not sync up with the audio that is out there. This is the shortest of the 3 verons and clocks in at 78 minutes, it has 2 terrific scores to choose from a brand new score by the Alloy Orchestra and Gaylord Carter's famous organ score.

The extras are limited but kind of nice providing a still gallery, a script, original trailer and a souvenir program reproduction that you can look at. Whether you are a lent film fan or a clasc horror fan this blu ray is NOT to be missed!

5 out of 5 stars

Johnny Bisco Friday 12/02/2011 at 10:29 AM | 87758