Pretty Packaging: Carlotta's PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE Is A Stunner

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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When the French distributor Carlotta Films started with their line of "Ultra Collector" boxsets back in 2015, we sat up and took notice. Each of these featured a newly remastered Blu-ray and DVD of a chosen title, fitted on the inside of a stellar 200-page hardcover book. What also caught the attention was the incredible cover-art of their first release. That was for Brian De Palma's Body Double. Since then, every three or four months we've seen a new addition to this line-up, each with a great hardcover book and great art attached.

In this series, Brian De Palma may perhaps be a wee bit over-represented: of the six "Ultra Collector" releases so far, three have been for his films. The latest of these is The Phantom of the Paradise, and... well, Carlotta Films have outdone themselves.

Here is a gallery of shots. Click on the arrows at the edge of the pictures to scroll through them, or at the center of each to see a bigger version.

And here it is: a glorious hardcover book in a slipcase. Can I have a blacklight poster of that Matt Taylor artwork please?

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soupcrusherApril 24, 2017 9:42 AM

Do you know if these will work in the US? Looks awesome.

Ard VijnApril 24, 2017 10:31 AM

Will check for you this evening, but seeing as how these are strictly meant for the French market, they're probably region B only...

soupcrusherApril 24, 2017 10:53 AM

No worries. Thanks!

Unflinching_EyeApril 24, 2017 9:13 PM

Hi Ard, sorry this is off-topic but seeing as you're an avid collector, I thought you might be able to resolve something that's been bugging me.

As well as ordering my blu rays direct from labels like Arrow, 88 Films, Severin etc and outlets like Diabolik, BFI and Barnes and Noble, I also make quite a few purchases of new blus on ebay. Of course I'm always conscious of only buying from large, reputable sellers with excellent feedback, but the packaging of some of the discs I've been getting recently has me slightly concerned that they're pirated.

My question is, is it common to get US blu rays that come in a flimsy case with the "recycling" symbol die-cut out of the front, stamped on the back with "disc made in mexico"?

I've checked, and all the ones I've received are indeed blus (not dvds) and work perfectly on my multi region sony player. It's just the packaging that's get me concerned. Cheers!

LRFApril 24, 2017 11:02 PM

Unflinching Eye, I'm in California and I receive quite a few discs as you describe from Amazon. The cut-outs are just meant to be ecological, i.e., less plastic (although I know a lot of people, myself included, who replace them with regular cases for better protection, so they're actually not all that ecological -- just cheaper to produce, I suppose). As to the "Made in Mexico" stamp, I'm assuming they're simply produced in plants in Mexico for the studios. I do own a couple of bootlegs, and they're all burned discs, not pressed, so I think these pressed Mexican discs are probably legit.

Unflinching_EyeApril 24, 2017 11:17 PM

Fantastic, thanks!

It occurs to me now that my mention of the manufacturing stamp makes me sound racist, so I'd just like to clarify that the fact that they're produced in Mexico doesn't bother me in the slightest. My concerns were based entirely on the quality of the packaging. And frankly I applaud the major studios for making an effort to minimise their environmental impact, so all good :)

LRFApril 24, 2017 11:33 PM

Oh, I didn't get that from your comment. I think it's normal to question some of these international releases, especially the ones that claim to be released in that country, yet have covers that are mostly in English. As to the eco cases, I like the new ones that are thinner, but have no holes. The ones with holes are prone to damage, particularly during shipping. I've received quite a few where something has apparently pressed against the plastic and into the hole, ripping the cover in the process. So good intent, but poor implementation.

Unflinching_EyeApril 24, 2017 11:38 PM

I've been lucky then. If I received a cover in that condition I'd probably be returning it.

Ard VijnApril 25, 2017 5:10 AM

Apologies, I fell asleep before I could test it.

And test it I must, for googling yields conflicting answers. The old French Blu from 2009 was regionfree, but Arrow's UK version was coded for B. So... it's a toss up until I put this new disc in my A-player. I'll try again this evening!

Ard VijnApril 25, 2017 5:12 AM

Indeed. And to answer your question: I concur with LFR. Some releases are perfectly legal yet just happen to look like that.

Unflinching_EyeApril 25, 2017 5:44 AM

Cheers Ard!

LRFApril 25, 2017 5:07 PM

Here's a review of the release.

It states that the region is B, but I didn't see any indication that this was verified (I have a few discs in my collection that are labeled B, but are actually region free). It also states that the subtitles are removable, another issue I was going to bring up, as it's common for French releases to have forced subs. I'll be passing on this one, as it looks too similar to the Arrow release, which I don't like. It's a beautiful set though, I will admit.