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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 23 December 2000
I have long anticipated this video, after I had purchased its CD. The music in the show is great, and the dancers dance brilliantly on the show. This production does not follow the original Phantom story by Gaston Leroux, but nonetheless, it is interesting. It is worth watching for Phantom fans, and people who like ice skating.
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on 20 April 2008
The music in the Cleopatra edition is pop music that is inappropriate and has very little to do with the film itself. I watched the whole thing in mute because I found the music was preventing me from enjoying film.

The Special Collector's edition has a very good soundtrack by Gabriel Thibaudeau; it also includes some of the music of the opera Faust (for the scenes where Christine is performing). I just watched that version and enjoyed the film much more.

Update on my review above:
Another reviewer (M. D. Hart) made the same complaint about the music. He's also referring to the Cleopatra Edition.

I wish Amazon would allow users to give reviews for different prints/releases of the same film. I tried to write another review specifically for the Special Collector's Edition in order to give it 5 stars, but I wasn't allowed to because I'd already written this review. So I'll just say it here: Special Collector's Edition 5 Stars.
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on 18 October 2012
My review is specific to this release.
Briefly Lon Chaney was a star character actor in silent films. Although his repertoire was vast it is a small portion of it he is remembered best for now-the grotesques, monsters etc.
Phantom is one of his best remembered & loved films. For many it's still the definitive version. Chaney's performance is a very strong one. The look of horror on his face as the Phantom has his mask removed still packs a punch. He evokes sympathy and pathos in what would otherwise be just a monster, his background related by a police detective which is far from sympathetic is almost at odds with Chaney's portrayal! Like in all the best silent films, you can almost hear him talking in his best moments e.g.during the scene where he reveals his real name & someting of his history. It's a shame that for the early part of the film he wear a mask obscuring facial movements, which is much more of a problem in silent films than talkies.

There are other strong performances e.g. Mary Philbin as Christine but naturally there are a few performances that are a little OTT and accompanied heavy handed attempts to be humorous from supporting characters. It's obvously much harder to act without dialogue and mugging was not uncommon.

The sets are good and in fact the Opera House stes survives to this day and has seen use in other films , notably the 1943 Claude Rains version of Phantom (*1).
The music chosen for this release is a good accompaniment

The print itself and this is what I mean by a review specfic to this release, is in terrible condition. It full of scratches. You can still see the various tints e.g. blue for night time scenes and the colours still come through in that the wonderful technicolour moment where the Phantom enters a Masqued Ball as Death.

This film is for those interested in silent cinema, versions of this classic story or anyone with an interest in Lon Chaney. If you want a copy to keep in your collection and treasure, it's probably better to save for a more expensive re-mastered edition. If however you wuld just like to see the film, then this budget priced edition will do just fine.

*1 Lon Chaney's son Lon Chaney Jr wanted the role in the remake & later claimed he had been promised it. Although he did test for a remake of another of his father's
famous films The Hunchback of Notre Dame (he lost the role to Charles Laughton) it is not known if he tested for this.
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on 25 January 2014
if you have never seen a major silent film, I would urge you to do so! This is my 3rd major "epic", the other 2 being The Ten Commandments (1923) and Ben Hur (1925). The latter being superb! I actually enjoyed it more than the 1957 version. However, back to the POTO. The restored version is superb and as I havent yet bought a Blu ray Player I cannot comment on that version. if it's anywhere near the restored version it will be superb. 2 problems however marred this purchase. The first is that the reviews on this film tend to cover ALL versions available, so one cannot make a judgement on what to buy. One other reviewer made the same comment. Come on Amazon, you are a very well know and wealthy company. I'm sure you would are more than able to seperate the versions so buyers could make the right judgement. Some of the comments have referred to some versions having behind the scenes documentaries etc. There is none on this version. The second complaint is that there is supposed to be some extras on the DVD that can only be accesed on your PC. I have tried but cannot access it! Even with these problems it is still a fantastic viewing experience. But come on Amazon sort this review problem out!
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on 4 February 2014
Along with having 2 versions of the film on Blu-ray and DVD, we also get the excellent documentary Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces on a bonus DVD. This is just a terrific set, for a historically important film.

Most know the classic story of the disfigured Phantom, dwelling in dungeons beneath the Paris Opera House, and his obsession for a woman, unfortunately, betrothed to another. Eventually seducing and kidnapping the poor girl, right under the nose of her beau, it's surely only a matter of time before he is tracked down and made to pay. The poor wretch just wants to be touched. To love and to be loved. This Night at the Opera will never be forgotten.

Originally made in 1925 but re-issued, for the newly born, sound era in early 1930, Rupert Julian's, The Phantom of the Opera is a classic of early horror cinema. Featuring a barn-storming performance from Lon Chaney as Erik, the Phantom, I'd put this up with Nosferatu and Das Cabinet der Dr Caligari, every day of the week.

This BFI edition gives us a Photplay Productions 'special restoration' of the re-issue version of the film, (running 91 mins) with a fabulous, contemporary, orchestral score by Carl Davis. Somewhat controversially now, the film was fully tinted, for the re-issue, using an amber, a vivid blue, a fiery red and a beautiful magenta except when in the Phantom's lair, when it reverts to simple black and white. Not usually a fan of 'colourised' films, I found the tinting used to great effect here. There is also a sequence at a masquerade which is presented in 'technicolor' and it literally made my jaw drop seeing it in HD for the first time. Sure, it looks dated but it's nearly 90 years old!! And the reds' in the scene pop fantastically. The next scene on the rooftop, outside, is at night so a blue tint is used, yet the Phantom's cloak is bright, shiny red. It truly is a thing to behold in a piece of celluloid this old. Fantastic. There is very little damage or specks of dust, there is no image flickering, no warps. The intertitles are clean and easy to follow. Detail is improved drastically, the tints look vibrant, the image is clear and steady and it really is fabulous to see this film look so good.

Carl Davis' score is presented either in a lossless 2.0 stereo track or a dts-hd master audio 5.1 track and both are great. Usually I just prefer the stereo track with my old films but this score in 5.1 is a bit of a treat.

Extras include the full, original 1925 cut of the film with a new piano accompaniment, which is in pretty bad shape but its inclusion is welcome if only to see the films original shape. Also we have the only existing 12 minutes of the 'sound' re-issue which is from a pivotal moment in the film and is interesting for curiosity's sake only, really. I would also say the same about the mysterious 'man with a lantern' sequence, which is another extra. Running very briefly it is what it says, e.g. A man, standing with a lantern. Strange. It is thought to have been recorded for non-English speaking territories. We also get a trailer each for the 1925 and 1929 releases of the film, which are fun but nothing substantial. There is a PDF file on Channel 4 silent restorations programme, an illustrated and informative booklet and, best of all, on a bonus DVD, we have the Lon Chaney documentary. Running 86 minutes, this is an exhaustive look at the man behind the masks. From his childhood, through the breadth of his career, past his lost film and to his untimely death, it is a fitting tribute to 'the man of a thousand faces'. Personally, I would have liked a commentary on such an iconic movie (and I know of 2 which exist) but we can't have everything.

All in, this is a fantastic release from BFI and does a classic horror film true justice.
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on 27 September 2008
this is truly an amazing classic that really has inspired directors of this day. for 1925 it is amazing. A great performance by lon chaney, who has been in many other silent films, but this performance is amazing. A must have to add to your classic collection.
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on 21 August 2012
First of all, I would like to comment on the 'Cleopatra edition' That many people have commented on and reviewed on this product. The product title shows clearly that this is the 'Special edition' not the 'Cleopatra edition' meaning that some of the reviews give a false impression.

This is a beautiful classic film that is enchanting and mystical. Lon Chaneys performance is striking and innovative, his use of make up, his personal trait, has to be credited in this film. The restoration is very good, I think that sometimes that people forget how old the film is, the restoration isn't going to get the film up the same image stranded of a modern film, but the results that have been produced with this film are very good.

I award this film five stars.
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on 13 November 2014
Brought this having never seen it , its stunningly good , the score is great and the picture is wonderful . You get a blu-ray and the DVD so your already ahead there,
if your not sure about buying it , buy it its great.
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on 4 June 2011
I have loved the book for years and have wanted to watch this film. I took a gamble (i thought i might get bored by a silent film), afterall i am only fourteen. This gamble paid off. :)
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on 1 February 2015
A fine restoration of the silent era horror masterpiece. Many thanks to the British Film Institute for yet another quality release of early, very enjoyable film history. The BFI edition apparently outshines the USA Blu-ray version.
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