As you'll find out from this superb DVD release, we're lucky that the 1925 Universal production of "The Phantom of the Opera" was ever released.
Picture Naturally you have to take into account the age of the film, so scratches are to be expected. That aside, this is an excellent transfer with the film run at correct speed (20 frames per second), accurate tinting, and an eerily clear presentation of the scene shot in two-strip Technicolor, which is an arresting sight indeed.
Sound The new soundtrack was produced in the 90s and is presented in 2.0 stereo but works well in Pro-Logic mode, with the atmospheric score proving pleasingly chilling.
Animated Essay An essay on the production of the film, written by R Dixon Smith, is narrated by Russell Cawthorn over an impressive array of behind-the-scenes shots and publicity material. The story behind this movie is fascinating as we learn how original author Gaston Leroux was taken on a tour of the labyrinthine complex of secret rooms and tunnels that existed 70 feet underneath the Paris Opera House. There the inspiration for the Phantom, and the story, came to him fast.
When it came to making the film, director Rupert Julian insisted that "the man of a thousand faces" Lon Chaney had to take the lead role, or there couldn't be a movie. Chaney was famous for creating his own make-up and the process he underwent for this film was incredible, including putting chemicals in his eyes to contract his pupils to enhance his skeletal look.
The production was plagued with problems and had cost Universal over $1million by the time it finished. Sadly this featurette can only touch upon an epic effort and it makes you yearn to learn more about the story behind the movie. That said, it forms an excellent overview and one can only hope that money might one day become available to make a more in-depth documentary.
Additional Extra Features Also included on the DVD is the 1929 re-release trailer.
Ratio: 1.33:1 (fullscreen)
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround)
Technical Features: Scene selection, multiple language subtitles, and English captions for the hearing impaired.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.