An in-depth look at the Lon Chaney Sr. horror classic and other "Phantom" films. Including the 1925 music score to the film.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - UNMASKING A MASTERPIECE
There have been numerous versions of the classic Gaston Leroux novel, "Phantom Of The Opera" on the stage, film & TV. However, none have been as enduring as the 1925 Lon Chaney Sr. horror classic, or as close to the original novel. It is probably the best known silent film from the United States, with revival screenings of it all over the world.
It is really the talent and artistry of Lon Chaney Sr. which has made this film indelible for anyone who has seen it, young or old. Although acting styles have changed, Chaney's portrayal of "Erik" is touching, as well as terrifying, his "unmasking scene" has never been topped, but often imitated. Known as "The Man Of A Thousand Faces", Chaney was a pioneer in, what is now called "effects makeup". Although the materials he used - such as mortician's wax, cotton, collodion etc. were crude, his end result was amazing, and continues to inspire makeup artists of every generation.
The main thrust of this new two-disc DVD, currently in production, is the extensive, in-depth documentary on various versions of "The Phantom Of The Opera", concentrating on the original, and the artistry of Lon Chaney Sr. Featuring all new interviews, not seen before, illustrated by rare photos, posters and other items, which we are in the process of restoring. Plus a video tour of the original Chaney opera house set. Supplemental to this, is the 1925 film digitally transfered, featuring a score from the original music sheets released with the film. This is important as the original score is not presented in any other known recorded version of the film. This project is part of a series of documentaries, under the banner "The Witch's Dungeon - Legends Of Film & Fantasy". For more details of each disc, please see below.
This documentary focuses on both Lon Chaney Sr. and various versions of "The Phantom Of The Opera". It features all new interviews with Ron Chaney, great grandson of Lon Chaney Sr., Carla Laemmle, lead ballerina in the 1925 "Phantom" and niece of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Studios, plus makeup artists & sculptors: Tom Savini & Mike Hill. A rare video tour of the original "Phantom" opera house set, at Universal Studios is also included. It is the oldest standing set in Hollywood, used in many other feature films, including Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain". We plan to interview award winning makeup artists, like Greg Nicotero, John Goodwin, and others. These interviews will be lavishly illustrated with rare photos and original movie posters, many never seen before!
In order to complete this two disc documentary, funds are needed for professional transfer of the films, as well as editing and audio & video enhancement. With your support we are hoping to release in October 2012.
"The Phantom Of The Opera" feature film, will be accompanied by the short, "The Red Spectre" (1907-France) in the style of George Melies whose work inspired the recent film "Hugo" by Martin Scorsese. Both the feature and the short have color tints, "The Phantom" also contains the "Masked Ball" sequence in two-color Technicolor. These films were presented with a 17 piece live orchestra in 1997, filmed by videographer, John Elton Floyd. The orchestra performs the music sheets originally released with the film in 1925. Recorded in it's entirety, the audio will be enhanced, and synced with the new digital transfer of the film. The orchestra also performs music for "The Red Spectre" short. These films will be introduced by Ron Chaney.
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