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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.

Disc One

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.

Disc Two

"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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    Thanks for supporting our project! Your name will be listed on our website for helping make this project a reality.

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    Your very own copy of the finished 2 DVD set!

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    A reproduction of an original (Lon Chaney) Phantom of the Opera title lobby card and your very own copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    3 different (Chaney) Phantom lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    A credit on the special thanks section of the final product for all to see! 3 Lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    Autographed Print of Bill Diamond's original painting depicting The Phantom of the Opera, Special thanks credit, 3 Lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    Signed Phantom watercolor painting prints by Cortlandt Hull of Lon Chaney as both Erik and the Red Death, Signed Phantom painting print by Bill Diamond, Special thanks credit, 3 Lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    Program booklet from the 1997 live orchestral showing of the Phantom of the Opera from which the music for our project is recorded, All 3 signed painting prints from Cortlandt Hull and Bill Diamond! Special thanks credit, 3 Lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    Full sized 27"x41" Phantom movie poster, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints from Cortlandt Hull and Bill Diamond, Special thanks credit, 3 Lobby cards and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    Hand crafted White Phantom Mask formed from the original mold of Robert Cuccioli for Maury Yeston's "Phantom" by makeup artist and designer Bill Diamond. Program booklet from the 1997 live orchestral showing of the Phantom of the Opera. All 3 signed painting prints! Full sized Phantom poster. Special thanks credit. 3 Lobby cards. Your very own copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    All 8 (Lon Chaney) lobby card reproductions! Hand crafted (White) Phantom Mask, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints, Phantom movie poster. Special thanks credit and a copy of the finished 2 DVD set.

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    "Unmasking" lobby card signed by Ron Chaney, great grandson of Lon Chaney Sr., Hand crafted "Bistro" Phantom Mask formed from the original mold of Robert Cuccioli for Maury Yeston's "Phantom" by makeup artist and designer Bill Diamond as well as the Hand crafted "White" Mask, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints, Phantom movie poster Special thanks credit, A full set of 8 (Chaney) lobby cards.

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    A full set of 8 Claude Rains lobby cards. "Unmasking" lobby card signed by Ron Chaney, Associate producer credit!!! 5 Copies of the finished 2 DVD set, Hand crafted "Red Death" Phantom Mask formed from the original mold of Robert Cuccioli for Maury Yeston's "Phantom" by makeup artist and designer Bill Diamond as well as the Hand crafted "White" and "Bistro" Masks, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints, Phantom movie poster, Special thanks credit, A full set of 8 (Chaney) lobby cards.

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    "Opera House" title lobby card signed by Carla Laemmle, lead ballerina in The Phantom of the Opera and niece of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Studios, "Unmasking" lobby card signed by Ron Chaney, Associate producer credit, 5 copies of the finished 2 DVD set, Hand crafted "White", "Bistro" and "Red Death" Masks, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints, Phantom movie poster, Special thanks credit, A full set of 8 (Chaney) lobby cards, and a full set of 8 Claude Rains lobby cards.

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    We will add a video to disc 1 about your pivotal roll in making this project come to life. Cortlandt will contact you (by phone, skype or email) to personally thank you and discuss your interest in supporting the project. You are also invited to a studio tour of Bill Diamond Productions in Cornwall New York (partnered production house of this project) and to appear on camera with Cortlandt for a 1 on 1 interview for the segment (traveling expences not included). You will of course as well receive the "Unmasking" lobby card signed by Ron Chaney, Associate producer credit, 10 copies of the finished 2 DVD set. Hand crafted "White", "Bistro" and "Red Death" Masks, Phantom program booklet, All 3 signed painting prints, Phantom movie poster, Special thanks credit. A full set of 8 (Chaney) lobby cards, and a full set of 8 Claude Rains lobby cards .

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Funding period

- (30 days)