Phantom of the Paradise review

Brian De Palma's madcap musical gets a Blu-ray release worth selling your soul for

Brian De Palma's gaudy 1974 rock musical draws on some very familiar sources (Faust, The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Phantom of the Opera), but that doesn't prevent it from being unlike anything else you've ever seen. A brilliantly funny and surprisingly sharp satire of the music business, Phantom… stars William Finley as a naive composer whose music is stolen by music impresario Swan (singer/songwriter Paul Williams). Hideously disfigured in an accident, Leach begins haunting Swan's new club, only to be drawn into a Faustian pact with his enemy...

Picture: Utilising a restoration of the 'original pre-print material' undertaken by Fox in the US, Phantom of the Paradise simply hasn't looked this good in decades. Arrow's 1.85:1 1080p imagery not only looks great (full of opulent colours, inky shadows and precise detailing), but the Blu-ray encode itself has also been treated with utmost care, ensuring that there are no technical issues whatsoever.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The disc doesn't put a foot wrong when it comes to the audio either, serving up excellent LPCM stereo and DTS-HD MA 4.0 tracks. Both handle the music and dialogue with ease – and if the 4.0 mix is understandably a touch limited in its surround aspirations, it still helps to open up the musical numbers, making them feel even more immersive.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Not only does this UK release include all of the extras that appeared on the 2009 French Blu-ray (51-minute documentary, 10-minute chat with costume designer Rosanna Norton, action figure promo and trailers) it adds a whole lot more.

Among this abundance of new features, the undoubted crown jewels are Guillermo del Toro Interviews Paul Williams and The Swan Song Fiasco. The former sees the filmmaker sit down with the actor/musician for a 72-minute discussion of his career. The latter is a fascinating 11-minute featurette detailing the changes made during post-production to try and eliminate any imagery relating to the Swan Song recording label, after Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant threatened to sue as he had recently launched a genuine record label of the same name.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: A superb hi-def package that combines excellent AV prowess with a stunning array of bonus features

Phantom of the Paradise, Arrow Video, Region B BD, £23 Approx