When PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was shot in 1925, there were three cuts of the film: two preview cuts and the final, general release version. The first, completely directed by Rupert Julian, was first shown in January of 1925 in Los Angeles, and was the closest to the original novel, most notably, the ending in which the Phantom dies of a broken heart at his organ. Due to unfavorable reviews, subsequent footage was shot and the film was re-worked by western/comedy director Edward Sedgwick. Extra material included a Russian count played by Ward Crane, duelling Norman Kerry. The ending was reshot, with the Phantom being stormed by the mob. This version was previewed in San Francisco in April of 1925. Both of these versions are now lost. The final, general release cut was premiered in September of 1925 and deleted most of the Sedgewick material, except for the ending. This version only survives in 16mm prints that were distributed by Universal in the 1920s and 1930s. Fewer home video editions source from these prints, but this version is available.
In 1929, 40% of the film was re-shot with available cast members (excluding Chaney, who was at MGM), and the rest fitted with a music and sound effects track. However, the version that most video editions are sourced from are from a 35mm print that was struck for the George Eastman House motion picture archives in the early 1950s. This version is a silent reworking of the 1929 reissue. The most notable differences between the two available cuts of the film are the transformation of Virginia Pearson's character of Carlotta (in the 1925 film) to "Carlotta's mother" in the Eastman House print, with singer Mary Fabian playing the role of Carlotta in the reissue. The editions of the film available are almost all of the Eastman House print, with a hand full of distributors presenting the general release prints of 1925.
In 2012, it was determined that an "accidental 3-D" version of the film existed. From an examination of various prints of the film, it was discovered that most - if not all - of the original film was shot using two cameras placed side-by-side. This was most likely done to create simultaneous master and safety/domestic and foreign negatives of the film. However, when synched together and anaglyph color-tinted, the spatial distance between the two simultaneous film strips translates into an effective 3-D film. Under the working title of LA FANTOME 3D, a fundraising effort is under way to locate and restore (create) a full "accidental 3-D" version of the film.