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Phantom Empire [DVD] [1935] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Gene Autry , Frankie Darro , B. Reeves Eason , Otto Brower    DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 7.23
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Gene Autry, Frankie Darro, Betsy King Ross, Dorothy Christy, Wheeler Oakman
  • Directors: B. Reeves Eason, Otto Brower
  • Writers: Armand Schaefer, Gerald Geraghty, Hy Freedman, John Rathmell, Maurice Geraghty
  • Format: Black & White, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Feb 2008
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011Z5NFK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,047 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gene Autry & the Phantom Empire 4 Oct 2009
By Phil W
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Amazingly good for the year vintage 1935 black & white serial combining 'modern' cowboys with art deco era science fiction. Good family viewing with young characters included who should appeal to the younger generation & every episode ending in a cliff hanger. Gripping stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
VCI Entertainment presents "PHANTOM EMPIRE" (23 February 1935) (240 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- relive those thrilling days when the "First Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry took us down the dusty trails with hard riding and straight shooting hitting the bull's eye with excitement every time --- the Gene Autry series of B-Westerns were a staple of Saturday matinees in the 1930s and 1940s --- A classic by anybody's standard --- Combination of Western, Musical, Sci-Fi, Comedy and Adventure --- Truly imaginative --- Gene Autry's first starring vehicle -- It predates Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and all the other sci-fi Serials of the '30s and '40s --- Republic Pictures stuck to the sci-fi theme in most of their cliffhangers through to the end of their existence --- An inside joke appeared in Gene Autry's 1941 feature "Sierra Sue" wherein character actress Dorothy Christy, who plays Queen Tika in this serial, says to Autry "I have the feeling we have met somewhere before, maybe in another world" --- A true must see for film historians and fans of all ages.

Under the production staff of:
Otto Brower - Director
B. Reeves "Breezy" Eason - Director
Nat Levine - Producer
H. Freedman - Screenwriter
Gerald Geraghty - Screen Story / Screenwriter
Maurice Geraghty - Screen Story
Wallace MacDonald - Screen Story / Screenwriter
John Rathmell - Screenwriter / Continuity
Armand Schaefer - Supervisor/Manager / Screenwriter
William Bradford - Cinematographer
Ernest W.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia at it's best. 14 Mar 2012
By Mike
I was a kid of 8 when The Phantom Empire appeared as a weekly serial at the children's matinee at the Princess Cinema in Peterborough. I used to sit in the front row to watch it and it was the highlight of my week.
Now I am 65 and this that it's great that we can re-live these happy times by watching the DVD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the first and best serials of all time 11 April 2000
By Peter S. Lunde - Published on
Face it. No serial has ever become more than an 11 year-old boy's greatest fantasy. From buried treasures, to evil cloaked villains, men on Mars, Emperor Ming on the planet Mongo, or an empire beneath the earth's surface, serials engaged pre-teen boys with endless Saturday afternoon escapist fare.
When viewed today, production standards of most serials are ludicrous. And in general, the actors are just as ridiculous and rather painful to listen to. In short, serials are corny, unbelievable, and very very cheap.
But when I saw Gene Autry's 15-episode Phantom Empire in 1949 every Saturday following my swimming session at the Plainfield New Jersey YMCA while eating an egg salad sandwich that crumbled down my shirt, I was transported into another world that has never left me. The sheer idea of a huge city deep under the earth's surface, the beautiful Queen Tika lording over Murania as her evil counselors wreak havoc among the earthlings, Frankie Darro and his Thunder Riders (pail bucket on their heads and all), and hero Gene Autry singing through it all with his wonderful bouncy Oklahoma cowboy singing style, was a feast for my unformed mind and heart.
Each week for 15 weeks I breathlessly waited for another chapter in the unfolding epic. And when the final (so tragic to me then) episode ended it all, I floated home in a reverie that no amount of play could reproduce.
The only other serials that came close were the Flash Gordon series with Buster Crabbe, FG Conquers the Universe being the best. Others included Don Winslow of the Navy, the Bat Man series (Dr. Daka and his hungy crocodile in the Tunnel of Love), Tom Mix, and Rocket Man. There were so many.
I can't make anyone like these things, especially if you are already grown up and missed the serial excitement back in the pre 1950's days, But if you have a great sense of fun, and a wide imagination that can spare the corn from your skeptical overview, this is the one to start with. Glorious fun.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great serial, slight disappointment 9 Jun 2011
By jrc - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Timeless Media Group release of the 1935 Mascot Serial, "The Phantom Empire." Empire is one of my all time favorite serials. Given that, I fell hook, line, and sinker for this new overpriced 3 disc set from Timeless "Authorized By The Gene Autry Estate."

Gene Autry did not produce or own exclusive rights to this public domain serial. This set claims to use as a source his own personal print. For $35, I expected it to shoot the moon. Not so fast, though. Gene's "personal copy" was evidently a 16mm print, because that's what this looks to be sourced from. No cleanup to image or sound has been done. Dirt, scratches, and other trash are apparent throughout. Timeless, not one of my favorite distributors (remember those great old Universal TV shows they licensed, and used horrible 16mm syndication prints as sources, e.g. Checkmate)?

I'm sure that Autry's agents forced Timeless to spread this 12-chapter serial over 3 platters to avoid over-compression, with the best possible intentions. No restoration or cleanup has been done. Sad.

The Serial Squadron sells a version of EMPIRE through their site, which is superior to this. Also, VCI has their own version out that looks pretty good. Nothing will ever be perfect for this title unless a first generation source can be found, and that's unlikely to happen. The folks at Serial Squadron did clean up their version digitally and certainly looks the best.

So, if you have either the VCI or Serial Squadron versions, you can't do much better by them. Timeless' price is ridiculous for what you get. The only supplement to amount to anything is a brief intro done for Autry's Melody Ranch Theater syndicated TV show that ran his films. It's actually an intro for an edited feature version of the serial.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A WARNING 24 Sep 2005
By Daniel Matz - Published on
For the record, please note that I am reviewing a specific version of "Phantom Empire", not the serial itself. The version I am talking about is by Digiview. Digiview makes those cheap DVDs you find at Walmart. You know, the ones that cost a dollar, and are packaged in slim cases. Like many companies of this type, Digiview specializes in public domain titles. This release is no exception. What you will get is a poor quality print with muffled sound, and no extras. Please ignore the cover which says "Digitally Remastered"; it is not. But I knew that when I bought this DVD used. What I didn't know was that this is an edited print which takes the 12 chapters of the serial and combines them into a bizarre 90 minute "movie".

So be advised, if you spot this DVD somewhere.

Maybe someday Image Entertainment will release a complete version, as they have done with the Flash Gordon serials. There is another company which has it in two volumes (six chapters per DVD), but from the reviews posted here, it appears as if that print isn't too hot either. Oh well, someday.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The NEW transfer of The Phantom Empire 16 Mar 2008
By R. Dean Cleveland - Published on
I have just received VCI's new digital tansfer of the wonderful 1930,s serial. It is almost as I remembered seeing the original 12 chapters in my hometown movie theater. The video quality and sound is so much better than the earlier VHS issue.
It was so much fun to relive those Saturdays of wonder and adventure. For those who never went to a Saturday matinee, this isan eye opener. The adventure was so far ahesd of it's time. It is truly amazing!!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Western Science Fiction 1 Jan 2002
By PATRICIA T. ALMDALE - Published on
This is the first film that Gene Autry made after his guest star role in Old Santa Fe with Ken Maynard. By all accounts his guest appearance wound up taking star billing over Maynard. He was then offered the role playing himself in this first western science fiction serial cliffhanger. You will see a young radio singer who he himself felt that he could not act, make a movie that set his career on fire. He is a radio star on Radio Ranch, which is a dude ranch as well. Evil scientist visit there and Gene find there is an entire world beneath the surface of the earth, called the City Of Murania. Great action and great cliff hangers. I can imagine the suspense theater goers experienced years ago as they waited from week to week to see how Gene got out of each and every dangerous ending. Autry was just learning how to act but did a terrific job of wowing the audience inspite of it all!!! He was on the way to the Top of the B western ratings and once he got there he stayed there!!! What a cowboy!!!
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