His performance is as timeless as Gaston Leroux’s novel, which tells the story of a disfigured, masked composer who lives in the tunnels underneath the Paris Opera House and harbors quite the crush on the second-string singer Christine, to the point he’s willing to murder others to make her the star. This Carl Laemmle production — not the first, but arguably the most famous — makes its Blu-ray debut from Image Entertainment.
While the transfer isn’t perfect, it sure beats every other version I’ve seen on innumerable public-domain sets. Plus, you have the option of watching it in three slightly different versions, varying in color tints and musical scores.
Gabriel Thibaudeau offers your more traditional, piano-based score, while Frederick Hodges tickles the ivories for a too-quaint score that brings in ragtime influences. Best and brightest is the version scored by the Alloy Orchestra, whose experimental accompaniment really comes alive; their music of the night holds the most appeal to modern audiences. It’s clearly the way the go. —Rod Lott
Read how Alloy Orchestra approaches providing soundtracks to the silents.