‘Phantom of the Paradise’ (1974) Arrow Steel book blu ray review
Writer/Director Brian De Palma
Cast: Wiliam Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham.
Along time ago I once taped a film off the television because it had the word ‘horror’ in it. I knew nothing about the film and because it was showing in the early hours of the morning I time recorded it (this was the mid 1980’s). A week or so later I finally got round to watching the tape and initially I was disappointed that it wasn’t a horror film at all but a musical. Of course that film was ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. I continued to watch, despite my initial misgivings, and ended up being swept away in it’s pastiches of old horror and sci-fi films and superb soundtrack. A few years later I was talking with a friend of mine and when I professed my love of Rocky Horror he told me to seek out ‘The Phantom of the Paradise’. It would be right up my alley he said. I ignored him. Which brings us to the present day. Rocky Horror had by now become a tad vieux chapeau as they say in French and I had heard that Arrow Video was releasing Phantom on a brand new blu ray. I took the plunge and boy, how I wished I had not let all these years go by before watching it. Straight from the start the film gets rocking. The Juicy Fruits open the film with a superb number and from there on in the film never lets up. Obviously, given the title, the actual story is pretty familiar (with one or two twists down the line) but for me the film wins due to the great music and Jessica Harper. I’ve professed my desire for Harper in a previous piece but in my opinion this is the film she is best in, and it’s her film debut to boot! Quite honestly I could watch her belt out ‘Special to Me’ (her audition song in the film) all day long. Of course the direction from De Palma is assured and innovative. We have come to expect nothing less. I don’t want to go on too much, in case you have yet to see it. I want you to discover the film yourself but let me say that if you thought Rocky Horror was the final word in the specialised genre of horror/musicals then you are very wrong my friend. Get it today!
The blu ray disc is crisp and clear. The movie looks like it was filmed yesterday. Just check out the opening scenes and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Top class.
Uncompressed stereo/ 4.0 DTS-HD. This sounds beautiful and it needed to be to do justice to the soundtrack. Disc also comes with and isolated music and effects track which is just perfect.
Man, this disc is stacked. A 50 minute making of documentary with all the principle cast and crew is followed by an all new 72 minute interview with Paul Williams by Guillermo Del Toro!
What follows this is a piece cataloging all the changes made to the film because of copyright issue, where the changes were made, which ones you can still see in the film and how it was done in post production.
Paradise lost and found is a piece on bloopers and alternate takes including a great alternate take of Harper singing ‘Special to Me’ (which makes this disc worth the cash just for that).
Of course the usual array of trailers and radio spots are included as well as the usual great collectors booklet.
This is one stunning film and this disc from Arrow is one stunning package.
5/5 Highly recommended