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I am a "phanatic" now after seeing ALW's 2004 movie version. And I have seen the other older movie version one with Claude Rains. I am waiting to get my copy of Lon Chaney's version (which was the first movie version ever of Leroux's novel). Does anyone else enjoy these Phantom films? If so which is your favorite version?

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If you want to see the Lon Chaney version, beware the Image-Entertainment 2-disc edition, there's a 'ghosting' effect that was caused by the mastering that is quite annoying and distracting. The previous Image version is still superior, I think, even though the restoration of the Brownlow edition is marvelous. I hope they fix that problem sooner rather than later. Avoid the Herbert Lom Hammer version, the Charles Dance TV version, and the Robert Englund 'version.' They're awful. I haven't seen the new film, but I was never a fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber or, for that matter, anything other than Chaney's version. I like Rains' touch, but that film can't make its mind up whether it wants to be a musical or a thriller. And billing Nelson Eddy over Claude Rains is ridiculous.

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Actually, beware the Image 2-disc version only because of the first disc. The second disc contains the original 1925 version of the film which is quite different than most of us are familiar with, the 1929 reissue version. There's a lot of footage that was either cut or rearranged for the reissue and many of the titles for scenes that did survive the reediting were completely rewritten. Quite fascinating to compare the two.

 

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