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on 2 May 2014
At long last this magnificent Silent Film Score has been released and it really is a wonderful achievement by Roy Budd at every level of film scoring. It has everything a symphonic score should have.... action...suspense...mood and tragic music that adds to the aura of The Phantom . Budd has given the listener a tour de force of themes that follow in the mode of Hollywoods swashbuckling adventure dramas such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk with their opulent symphonic scores by the likes of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner . Budd proves particularly adept at utilising the full orchestral forces to all the films scenes....and is capable of some truly wonderful moments of musical understatement. This is without doubt THE film score release of 2014 ......and hopefully many of todays so called leading film composers will pick up a copy.....listen ...and learn as to how film scoring should be from a real great music composer who sadly is with us no longer .....but his legacy will thankfully live for generations to come.....
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on 24 December 2014
If there was ever a competition to determine which edition of this classic masterpiece was the best, this one would win hands down., and not just because it gives you it on Bluray and DVD in one go. The 1929 version is beautifully revitalised in both High and Standard Definition; there is not a single thing wrong with its quality, although I do find the music change quite jarring (I grew up knowing the soundtrack IML Digital Media and Eureka Video used for the film).

The special features are quite excellent as well. Inside the edition's case, there is a little booklet which basically covers the film's production, its place in cinematic history, and of the time and effort it took in making the remastering possible. Then of course there's what are on the discs. There's a restoration souvenir programme you can access through your computer, the famous documentary on the life of the movie's title star Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces, the enigmatic 'Man with the Lantern' sequence, and a special look at a 12 minute segment of the otherwise completely lost sound version of the film.

Everything on this edition is fantastic, but there is one thing it has that makes it stand out from the rest. The icing on the cake, as one would say. For decades, viewers and Phantom lovers had to make do with the 1929 version, which to put it plainly was a reshoot. Now for the first time in years, and on Bluray and DVD, one can finally watch the original 1925 cut of the film. Although not as wondrously remastered as its reversion, it is fully there for you with all of its glory that made audiences scream and gasp with shock. I won't say anymore than this, otherwise I'll be spoiling many surprises of why the original cut is more great than the reshoot.
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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 28 January 2014
A beutifully produced set which preserves the wonderful Photoplay restoration shown at the London Film Festival some years ago. Picture quality and Carl Davis's orchestral score show the piece to best imaginable effect and we have the luxury of a scholarly comparison between this 1929 version and its earlier 1925 format as well as ther extras and notes.

The famous story has surely never been more grippingly shown than in this silent version (and Chaney is magnificent), although its ultimate effect is more romantic than horrific. In this respect, a bit like the Lloyd-Webber musical which was clearly inspired by it.

Bravo BFI for presenting this to us for home viewing, and please let us have more of the Photoplay silent movie restorations to preserve the work of Kevin Brownlow and his colleagues!
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on 31 August 2017
Wonderful dvd of this famous film, very well presented by the producers all under the supervision of the great Kevin Brownlow. Very highly recommended.

The seller gave excellent service, too, and I also highly recommend them.
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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 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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on 15 July 2016
You have to hand it to Masters of Cinema/BFI. When they do transfers, they really do them well. A great value set; dual format, 3 discs, two versions of the film, extra scenes and a disc devoted to Chaney. Highly recommended.
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on 12 August 2016
Was very impressed with this as it has the full original 1925 version of the film as well as the 1929 colourtinted one that I am most familiar with. Brilliant value for money as the quality is top notch and loads of extras too.
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on 30 April 2018
Old silent classic quality was very good
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