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Phantom Of The Paradise Blu-Ray Review

71XmF0CM+SL._SL1024_Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Paul Williams, William Finley, Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper and George Memmoli

Running Time: 92 minutes

Certificate: 15

Being a massive fan of writer and director Brian De Palma even since those early years and it soon became apparent his approach to filmmaking is unique. Visually, he’s been one of the best for decades with camerawork often dizzying to the point of breathlessness. Like most, he is prone to a few career missteps along the way in his distinguished career. De Palma does however, weave between mainstream and independent eccentricity like no other with many of his features fusing those two aspects. He’s a director that you look at and think, that guy directed CARRIE and SCARFACE; RAISING CAIN and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE; BODY DOUBLE and CARLITO’S WAY. Really? Cinema so far apart in scope and personality, yet intrinsically and artistically linked in style and substance.

With his bizarre but captivating 1974 rock opera PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, the maverick director crafted something wholly original despite merging the familiar age old tale of Faust with Gaston Leroux’s legendary 1910 novel ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ and even Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Still in the early stages of his career, he roped in frequent collaborator and friend William Finley as the lead Winslow Leach, a promising singer/songwriter and composer who finds himself betrayed, imprisoned and disfigured by devious record producer Swan. Finley’s tragic, wide-eyed protagonist is terrific. As for the role of the latter, DePalma persuaded iconic musical composer Paul Williams to play the villain – as well as write the entire music and lyrics for the film!

The set direction and costumes add a layer of eccentric charm akin to Stanley Kubrick’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and like that cult classic, have dated wildly while remaining intoxicating and in perfect contrast to the mixture of rock n’ roll, prog rock, folk, glam rock and pop music depicted throughout. Some really memorable songs helped PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE nab Paul Williams a Oscar nod. Speaking of Williams, the short stature of the man is amusing for all the right reasons as he comes across as the love child of POLTERGEIST’s Zelda Rubinstein and Jimmy Krankie, with an egotistical edge of mystique and a snigger-some sexual threat to the Phantom’s doomed romance with the stunning Phoenix (Jessica Harper).

Special Features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature, available in the UK for the first time!
  • Uncompressed Stereo PCM / 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio options
  • Isolated Music and Effects soundtrack
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Paradise Regained: A 50-minute documentary on the making of the film featuring director Brian De Palma, producer Edward R. Pressman, the late star William Finley, star and composer Paul Williams, co-stars Jessica Harper and Gerrit Graham and more!
  • All new 72-minute interview with Paul Williams by Guillermo del Toro
  • The Swan Song Fiasco: A new video piece exploring the changes made to the film in post-production
  • Archive interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton
  • William Finley on the Phantom doll!
  • Paradise Lost and Found: Alternate takes and bloopers from the cutting room floor
  • Original Trailers
  • Radio Spots
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Red Dress
  • Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth and an exploration of the film s troubled marketing history by Ari Kahan, curator of SwanArchives.org, illustrated with original stills and promotional material.

4 Stars (4 / 5) PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is released on limited edition Blu-ray via Arrow Films from the 24th February.

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Craig is leading the charge as our north east correspondent, proving that it’s so ‘grim up north’ that losing yourself in a world of film is a foregone prerequisite. He has been studying the best (and often worst) of both classic and modern cinema at the University of Life for as long as he can remember. Craig’s favorite films include THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, JFK, GOODFELLAS, SCARFACE, and most of John Carpenter’s early work, particularly THE THING and HALLOWEEN.

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