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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Terence Fisher
U
K 1962

A peculiarly low-keyed film, containing very little violence by Hammer's standards (it didn't even get an X certificate), with the whole Phantom theme handled remarkably tamely (and Lom suffering from a particularly unimaginative make-up and mask). But Fisher's direction is as accomplished as ever, and there are several good flourishes in the opera house auditorium. Because of its restraint and a fairly thin plot, the overall effect of the film is curiously abstract, evolving into a series of nice sets and compositions.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Premiere:  August 15th, 1962

Reviews                                                                                    More Reviews                                                                        DVD Reviews

 

 

Comparison:

Universal (Hammer Horror Series) -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Universal (Hammer Horror - 8-Film) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

  

 

 

Coming to LE Blu-ray from Shout! Factory in August 2020:

Only available in Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera and Nightmare

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region 1- NTSC Final Cut Entertainment
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24::03  1:24:11.588 1:24:12.881 1:24:13.089
Video 1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.30 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 20,568,621,341 bytes
Feature: 14,412,840,960 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps
2.0:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 45,084,587,688 bytes
Feature: 22,565,787,648 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps
1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 48,414,222,192 bytes
Feature: 20,178,404,928 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Final Cut: Blu-ray

Bitrate: Universal Blu-ray

Bitrate: Indicator Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1828 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1828 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1064 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 112 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 112 kbps / DN -30dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 112 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 112 kbps / DN -30dB

Subtitles English (SDH), Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1



Edition Details:
• none)

DVD Release Date: A
pril 27th, 2005
Custom Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Final Cut Entertainment

 

1.95:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 20,568,621,341 bytes
Feature: 14,412,840,960 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
The Making of Phantom of the Opera--narrated by Edward De Souza plus interviews with Richard Golen, Alan Lavender and Edward De Souza.(3100)
Stills Gallery (4:09)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 21st, 2014
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

 

2.0:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 45,084,587,688 bytes
Feature: 22,565,787,648 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
None
 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 48,414,222,192 bytes
Feature: 20,178,404,928 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

Alternative TV cut (99 mins): extended version with unique scenes, presented open matte in Standard Definition
Audio commentary with author Steve Haberman and film historian Constantine Nasr (2020)
Audio commentary with film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson (2020)
Down in the Sewers (2020, 5:59): special effects artist Brian Johnson fondly recalls the production
Hammer’s Women: Liane Aukin (2021, 6:18): profile of the actor, writer and director by the academic Rachel Knightley
Kim Newman Introduces ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (2021, 12:18): appreciation by the critic and author
The Men Who Made Hammer: Anthony Hinds (2020, 27:44): Richard Klemensen, editor and publisher of Little Shoppe of Horrors journal, revisits the career of one of Hammer’s most renowned screenwriters and producers
Phantom Triumphant: Edwin Astley and Hammer’s Horror Opera (2020, 15:47): David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde, dissects the classic score
Herbert Lom: The Soul Behind the Mask (2020, 15:28): film historian and screenwriter C Courtney Joyner shares personal memories of time spent with the legendary actor
Making of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (2014, 31:01): documentary presented by actor Edward de Souza, including interviews with film historian Richard Golen, sound recordist Alan Lavender, and de Souza himself
Original theatrical trailers (UK - 2:03 / 1:16)
Brian Trenchard-Smith trailer commentary (2013, 3:07): short critical appreciation
Image galleries: promotional and publicity material
Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Emma Westwood, extracts from original press materials, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 28th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside hard box

Chapters 10

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (June 2021): Indicator have transferred Terence Fisher's The Phantom of the Opera to Blu-ray, as part of their Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, Nightmare joining The Phantom of the Opera. Indicator provide optional 1.66:1 and 1.85:1 presentations of the original theatrical version in 1080P. They also include the alternative TV cut (99 mins): extended version with unique scenes, presented open matte in Standard Definition. The short story is that the 1.66:1 and 1.85:1 presentations share the same appearance in terms of color, detail, contrast etc.... and it looks the best of all these digital transfers. Flesh tones cooler and become more natural, primary colors become bolder and richer. It just looks the best. Period. Please review the screen capture comparisons below.      

NOTE: We have added 44 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a DTS-HD Master mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. There may be a slight difference in the 1.0 channel exportation of the score by Edwin Astley (The Giant Behemoth The Naked Prey, Contraband Spain), that has some intense moments coming through clean and authentically flat in the lossless rendering. Indicator offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

As well as the three versions (1.66:1 and 1.85:1 in 1080P and extended TV cut in SD), the Indicator include a girth of supplements. NOTE: Prefacing the 1.33:1 TV version is this statement "This extended TV cut of The Phantom of the Opera contains unique footage filmed by NBC in Los Angeles, California, with mostly British and Irish actors who were working regularly in US television at the time. The extra footage consists of five unique scenes, creating a whole new subplot involving a police investigation. Additionally this TV cut also repurposes a sequence from the theatrical version to create a new flashback scene. Please note that, as this presentation has been sourced from a Standard Definition, domestic off-air recording, it exhibits a range of technical limitations as a consequence." It stands as a highly interesting curiosity adjunct to the theatrical presentations. I really enjoyed seeing it and the differences despite the limited quality. There are two commentaries, offered on both 1080P versions. The first has Steve Haberman and film historian Constantine Nasr from 2020 and the second has Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson also from 2020. They both cover unique takes on the production, stars, director, Hammer Studios and much more. These are some of the best commentarists available and their discussions are highly valuable. Down in the Sewers has special effects artist Brian Johnson fondly recalling the production over 6-minutes. There is another episode of Hammer’s Women where academic Rachel Knightley does a 6-minute profile of the actor, writer Liane Aukin who plays 'Maria' in The Phantom of the Opera. Also included; Kim Newman Introduces ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ a new, dozen minute, appreciation by the critic and author. The Men Who Made Hammer: Anthony Hinds is from 2020 and runs shy of 1/2 hour where Richard Klemensen, editor and publisher of Little Shoppe of Horrors journal, revisits the career of one of Hammer’s most renowned screenwriters and producers. Phantom Triumphant: Edwin Astley and Hammer’s Horror Opera has David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde, dissects the classic score for 1/4 hour. Herbert Lom: The Soul Behind the Mask spends time with film historian and screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner who shares personal memories of time spent with the legendary actor. The Making of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is from 2014 and runs 1/2 hour. It is a documentary presented by actor Edward de Souza, including interviews with film historian Richard Golen, sound recordist Alan Lavender, and de Souza himself. There are original UK and US theatrical trailers and a Trailers From Hell episode with Brian Trenchard-Smith providing a short critical appreciation. As with all Indicator releases there are image galleries of promotional and publicity material. Plus the Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows package has a limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Adam Scovell, Terence Fisher on The Phantom of the Opera, extracts from original press materials, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits 

The Phantom of the Opera is a very atmospheric Hammer horror outlier. It's a relatively passive film but the aura has a haunting quality and Lom does a marvellous job in the role after predecessors Lon Chaney and Claude Rains. Hammer completists will want Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows as the definitive digital edition of all four films in this set. This package itself is outstanding as Terence Fisher's The Phantom of the Opera is setting the bar at its highest level for Blu-ray production. Indicator are at the top of their game. This boxset is easily in the 'must-own' category.   

***

ADDITION: Universal - Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection Blu-ray - September 16':  The initial complaints of this 2016 Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection Blu-ray set is that The Phantom Of The Opera, The Brides Of Dracula, The Curse Of The Werewolf, and Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg) are all presented at the aspect ratio of 2.0:1, when they should be, as they were theatrically, in 1.66:1 to 1.85:1 (depending on the film). This boxset is presented as follows:

Blu-ray
Disc 1 - "The Brides Of Dracula" & "The Curse Of The Werewolf"
Blu-ray
Disc 2 - "Night Creatures" & "The Phantom Of The Opera"
Blu-ray
Disc 3 - "Paranoiac" & "The Kiss Of The Vampire"
Blu-ray
Disc 4 - "Nightmare" & "The Evil Of Frankenstein"

So yes, the Final Cut
Blu-ray and initial DVD were both 1.85:1 and this new Blu-ray is, inexplicably, 2.0:1. But we only appear to be gaining information - on the right edge of the frame! I'm not upset by that and it looks to actually have superior composition because characters are, frequently, more centred. Of course, purists win this argument as it was shown at 1.85:1 theatrically. Luckily it's not a huge divergence. Beside the Universal 1080P, the Final Cut looks very brown and earthy and skin tones seem unnaturally warm. The Universal, on the other hand, can tend to a greenish hue and skin tones cool slightly.
The Universal has the much higher bitrate (50%!) and it would probably be my pick to watch if given the choice. I can see the image quality is quite different times but I don't want an extended debate. I like the Universal even in its bastardized AR.

The original English audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master at a healthy 1828 kbps. Edwin Astley's (The Naked Prey) score, including the Joan of Arc piece, isn't particularly impacting with minor depth but does seem to support the Opera-staged performances. There are optional English (see sample), Spanish or French subtitles offered and the Blu-ray disc is Region FREE.

There are no extras that I can find on Universal's Blu-ray package.

I'll repeat that it's always good to have options and this is different enough to allow purchasers to indulge as they see fit. Unusually passive Hammer effort but still a good one. Enjoy.

***

ADDITION: Final Cut Entertainment Blu-ray - October 14': We reviewed the excellent Hammer Horror Series DVD boxset (Brides of Dracula / Curse of the Werewolf / Phantom of the Opera (1962) / Paranoiac / Kiss of the Vampire / Nightmare / Night Creatures / Evil of Frankenstein) from 2007 HERE. It's very evident just how green the SD is - when directly comparing to the Blu-ray. It is transferred to a single-layered disc with a modest bitrate. It is brighter, showing more information in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio at the bottom of the frame. The SD shared the DVD18 (dual-layered/dual-sided) disc with Paranoiac (co-incidentally available on Blu-ray and reviewed HERE.) This is a significant advancement over the SD showing grain textures. Colors are richer the overall image is quite clean with a few frame-specific scratches.

The original English audio is transferred via a linear PCM stereo at 1536 kbps. There is are optional English subtitles and the Final Cut Entertainment Blu-ray disc is Region 'B'-locked.

Extras consist of a 1/2-hour Making of Phantom of the Opera narrated by Edward De Souza plus interviews with Richard Golen, Alan Lavender and Edward De Souza. It is excellent explaining many interesting details of the production. There is also a slideshow Stills Gallery running over 4-minute. 

Gary W. Tooze

 Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Package


Menus

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 Subtitle Sample

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Final Cut Entertainment - Region 'B'- Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Indicator Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE


Box Covers

   

 

 

Coming to LE Blu-ray from Shout! Factory in August 2020:

Only available in Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera and Nightmare

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region 1- NTSC Final Cut Entertainment
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
 

 



 

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