S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Phantom of the Paradise - Ultimate Edition [Blu-ray]
(Brian De Palma, 1974)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Harbor Productions
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,929,993,151 bytes
Feature Size: 21,173,213,184 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 1st, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1961 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1961 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2103 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2103 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
NOTE: With the English language selected the French subtitles are non-removable via the pop-up menu but during the film press the subtitles button on your remote to select "subtitles off" OR change the audio to 'English' (however, the French subtitles are forced on the special features)
Extras (have non-removable French subtitles and are in PAL - not playable on some Region 'A' Blu-ray players):
• Gerrit Graham ('Beef') introduction (in French - :50)
• Featurette: Paradise Regained (50:14)
• 2 Trailers
• Piece with Rosanna Norton on the costumes (9:38)
•Action Figure advert mock-up (0:35)
Description: A Faustain Rock Opera version of Phantom Of The Opera. Record producer Swan (Paul Williams) absconds with both the music and the female, Phoenix (Jessica Harper), from the composer Winslow Leach (William Finley). Disfigured by an injection-molding pressing plant, and now mask-donning, Leach plots revenge on Swan and his anticipated rock concert palace, The Paradise, by transforming onto 'The Phantom'. Leach signs a contract with Swan to complete the rock opera based on the life of Faust with Phoenix to star. Leach exacts his vengeance, Hunchback of Notre Dame style, when he is double crossed by Swan who instead hires pill-popping feminine male glam-rock prima donna Beef (Gerrit Graham).
Despite the dread MOR dirges given to Harper's crooning ingenue, arguably De Palma's finest film. A highly inventive updating of the Phantom of the Opera story to the rockbiz world - complete with borrowings from Faust and The Picture of Dorian Gray - it tells of rock composer Finley's desire for revenge after he is cheated by a nightclub and record label mogul (Williams). Nothing that remarkable about the plot in itself, but De Palma employs his love of gadgetry to imaginative effect (making terrific use of split screens and video technology), and casts a satirically beady eye upon the money-hungry foibles of the music industry. Best, in fact, is the cameo by Gerrit Graham as the camp, 'Producers'-style glamrock star, although Memmoli's world-weary manager and the piss-take of Alice Cooper are also memorable.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
This looks like a very good HD representation of the 1974 film "The Phantom of the Paradise". This Blu-ray is very clean (no damage) and there is visible grain. It is vastly superior to the out-of-print DVD and flesh tones and other colors look true and un-manipulated. There is no DNR that I can identify but noise exists. It looks like strong facsimile of the film. It is only single-layered but seems to do the job well with good contrast and surprising detail. It's AVC, 24 fps and 1080P - it looks as impressive as it can considering its age.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
It is not the most separated 5.1 DTS-HD Master track you will hear but at 1961 kbps it reports responsive bass and high-end in the many musical numbers. The original 2.0 channel stereo is not offered and there is also a lossless French DUB (but the music singing lyrics are NOT DUBB'ed). As we stated above the subtitles are not removable during the film but can be manipulated (removed) by pressing the 'subtitles' button on your remote to select "subtitles off" while it is playing. This is also true of the audio selection. However, the French subtitles are forced (non-removable) on the special features. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There are some good supplements - all in English but the 50-second Gerrit Graham ('Beef') introduction. Paradise Regained runs 50 minutes as a kind of retro-look making of with Williams, De Palma and other involved with the production reminiscing about how things we done. I suspect this was made in the past 5 years or so. There are 2 Trailers, a 10-minute piece with Rosanna Norton on the costumes and a faux Action Figure advert for 35-seconds. Good stuff as I doubt anyone would ever consent to a commentary.
The film was shown on area IMAX screens in the 90s. A 2006 fan-organized festival, dubbed 'Phantompalooza', reunited the original cast and featured a concert by Paul Williams in the very theatre where the film played during its original run (Wikipedia).
This is a highly memorable film that has immense re-watchability. It's at the higher echelon for cool, cheesy fun and is deeply rooted in nostalgia. For many on our DVDBeaver ListServ this is their favorite De Palma film. I should note that the Blu-ray cover on Amazon.FR is not accurate - although it is not far off. For some this is one of the most important releases of the year with its ability to transport you back to the mid 70's. For that reason, and the competency of the Blu-ray, this is surely recommended!
December 21st, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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