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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

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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

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

   

Distribution Universal - Region 1- NTSC Final Cut Entertainment
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24::03  1:24:11.588 1:24:12.881
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

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

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

 

 

 

Comments:

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

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.

Not my favorite Hammer despite the atmospheric appeal. 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 this.  

Gary W. Tooze





Menus

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

 

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

Universal - Region FREE - 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 - MIDDLE

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

3) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

   

   

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

 



 

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Gary Tooze

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