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Phantom of the Opera - part of the Universal Classics Monsters Boxset [Blu-ray]
(Arthur Lubin, 1943)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 30,824,161,488 bytes
Feature Size: 25,332,529,152 bytes
Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 2nd, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1785 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1785 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), Spanish, none
• Commentary by Film Historian Scott MacQueen
•The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked (51:19)
• Production Photographs (5:47)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:12)
• 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
Description: From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection showcases 8 of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these original films set the standard for a new horror genre with revolutionary makeup, mood-altering cinematography and groundbreaking special effects. Featuring over 12 hours of revealing bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate classic monster experience.
This Technicolor retelling of the Gaston Leroux "grand guignol" classic The Phantom of the Opera has a little more opera than phantom, but that's because the stars are soprano Susannah Foster and tenor Nelson Eddy. Claude Rains carries the acting honors on his shoulders, playing a pathetic orchestra violinist who worships aspiring opera-singer Foster from afar. The girl is unaware that Rains has secretly been financing her music lessons with instructor Leo Carrillo. When he runs out of money, Rains attempts to sell the concerto that he's been working on all his life. Mistakenly believing that his precious concerto has been stolen from him, Rains attacks and kills the music publisher he holds responsible. Terrified, the publisher's mistress throws a pan full of acid into Rains' face. Rains runs screaming into the night, and is not heard from for the next reel or so. Soon afterward, the Paris Opera house is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents. The managers are informed via letter that the "accidents" will continue if Foster is not immediately promoted to leading roles. Only after reigning diva Jane Farrar is drugged into incapacitation is Foster given her big break. Farrar accuses Foster's boyfriend, police inspector Nelson Eddy, of doping her in order to advance Foster's career. Farrar is later strangled, and Eddy is accused of the crime. The culprit is, of course, Rains, who now poses as the masked-and-caped "phantom". Maniacally determined that no one will impede Foster's success, Rains causes a huge chandelier to crash down on the opera audience when Foster fails to appear onstage (she'd been kept from performing by police-chief Edgar Barrier, who hoped in this manner to flush The Phantom out of hiding). A chase through the catacombs below the opera house ensues, with Rains holding Foster prisoner. When Rains briefly lets down his guard, the tremulous Foster removes his mask. It's "yecccch," all right, but nowhere near as frightening as the unmasking scene in the silent Lon Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera. The same can be said for the rest of this 1943 remake, though in fairness it appears as though the film wasn't really designed to scare anyone, but instead to serve as a suspense yarn with musical interludes. Hume Cronyn makes his second film appearance in Phantom in a microscopic role. The huge sets designed for this picture were hastily reused for the 1944 Universal melodrama The Climax, starring Boris Karloff and (again) Susannah Foster.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The fact that the name of Nelson Eddy appears at the head of the cast of Universal's "The Phantom of the Opera," which came to the Capital yesterday, is not to be taken as evidence that Mr. Eddy has finally found his role. He is no phantom in this one; he is very much in solid evidence, and his lungs are working as strongly and as loudly as they have ever worked before. Indeed, you might almost think the picture was made just so he might sing. And that is the principal reason why this remake of the old Lon Chaney film is bereft of much of the terror and macabre quality of the original.Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Phantom of the Opera was shot in Technicolor and the Blu-ray exports its vibrancy far more effectively than SD could. They hues are gorgeous and frequently look extremely impressive in 1080P. The image quality shows some nice film grain and detail is strong. There are no marks or digital noise and contrast is at premium levels. There is some depth, not a lot, but the star is the colors that look just ravishing via HD. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Phantom of the Opera and it handily advances beyond the last DVD editions.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at a rousing 1785 kbps sounds very impressive. The Opera used from Frédéric Chopin, Friedrich von Flotow and Tchaikovsky's Russian Opera sequence of "LE PRINCE MASQUE DU CAUCASUS" sound wonderful via the lossless transfer. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
We get the extras from the past DVD including the audio commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen. The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked is another excellent David J. Skal documentary - this one running over 50-minutes - made in 2000. There are also some Production Photographs, a theatrical trailer and a 100 Years of Universal focusing on The Lot. Plus the disc is My Scenes- capable.
September 28th, 2012
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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