The Phantom of the Opera (1925) review

The legendary Lon Chaney silent horror returns to Blu-ray looking better than ever

Between 1912 and 1930, Lon Chaney made countless silent films in almost every conceivable genre. But thanks to his incredible talent for transforming himself through makeup, he is mainly remembered for horror classics such as this electrifying adaptation of Gaston Leroux's novel.

Originally released in 1925, this lavish film was re-edited and reissued in a sound version in 1929. Sadly, that release has been lost, but both the original 1925 edit and a silent version of the 1929 reissue are still here to keep on terrifying audiences.

Picture: This is the second time that Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera has been released on Blu-ray in the UK and it marks a significant step up in quality from the Park Circus 2011 disc.

Utilising a new restoration of the 1929 version of the movie, the BFI's AVC 1.19:1 1080p encode features significantly less print damage and exceptionally rich colour tinting throughout. In addition, the two-strip Technicolor footage of the Masked Ball is window-boxed within the 1.19:1 frame, preserving the full image, rather than zooming in on it to fill the frame, as was done with the Park Circus disc.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The Blu-ray contains two versions of Carl Davis's 1996 musical accompaniment – an LPCM 2.0 stereo version and a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 remix. Naturally, this being a silent film, neither of the tracks on offer is what you would call demo-worthy, but there's no denying the gorgeous tonality and dynamics of the music in its lossless form.
Audio rating: 3/5

Extras: While it misses out on the commentary from the Park Circus release, the BFI has still put together an admirable collection of extra features for this dual-play release.

The Blu-ray hosts a bonus 1080p presentation of the 1925 cut of the film (which was only included in SD on the Park Circus release), trailers for the 1925 and 1929 iterations, the only surviving reel of footage from the lost 1929 sound reissue of the film and the mysterious 'man with a lantern' sequence, which is believed to have been shot for use in non-English language releases.

The set also includes two DVD platters. The first replicates the Blu-ray content (albeit with the addition of a Channel 4 Silents restoration souvenir programme in PDF form), the second houses Kevin Brownlow's superb 85-minute documentary Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces. The set also includes a 30-page booklet about the film and the restoration.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: The BFI has scared up an impressive high-definition package for this vintage horror

The Phantom of the Opera, BFI, All-region BD/R0 DVD, £23 Approx