Monday, October 8, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

That final scene though is great regardless.

I've always been intrigued by the story of The Phantom Of The Opera, a story over a 100 years old written by a mystery novelist Gaston Leroux which has been adapted quite possibly more than any other famous monster during the golden age of horror. But in my humble opinion and to many others as well the 1925 version starring The Man Of A Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney is not only the closest to the book but the superior film above all other versions. The story takes place at the Paris Opera house where a young singer named Christine Daae is being wooed by a mysterious man better known as the Opera Ghost, and is soon fought over by the villainous Phantom and the heroic Raoul de Chagny. I think I can say Phantom is the first true American horror film, where others like Nosferatu came from Germany though I could be wrong for Chaney made several films in the horror genre around this time including The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Regardless this is a classic movie and the restored version which I caught on TCM was outstanding complete with an original score by Carl Davis and the version I suggest you watch. I strongly urge despite Phantom being a public domain film and could be viewed free on YouTube, do not watch it on those terms. The picture quality is horrendous and the music is stock and boring, the restored version made me greatly appreciate the film so much more and the score is definitive in my opinion. The sets are outstanding, a dead ringer for the Paris Opera House to be sure, and the production quality was very high for the time. And for the longest time the set for which this film was made stood standing decades after the film wrapped up shooting. It has such a rich history and is one of the most well documented of any silent picture in history. And for good reason, the story is timeless to be certain. The acting though no words can be heard are excellent, a real tribute to the restoration, so much acting is done through the eyes and body language, and of course the best part and actor of the film is Lon Chaney. Born to deaf and mute parents, Chaney was created for the silent era without a doubt, being able to say so much with a simple movement of his hand and really did the character of Erik justice in his potrayal of a genius but insane musical composer who fell in love with a woman. But all the credit cannot go to Chaney alone, Mary Philbin in my opinion is the only Christine and she is gorgeous and brings much to the character who was kind of a blank slate in the book. And the actor who plays the Persian, is underrated in my opinion giving a mysterious and interesting potrayal of an already interesting and puzzling character. Needless to say I adore this movie and the story it tells, it does bring me back to the discovery of this movie, my repeated rentals and viewings of it from the video store, appreciating and yet being scared of Chaney's outstanding self made makeup. And my love and further expansion of other versions of Phantom Of The Opera came to ahead in my teenage years. All sprung from this classic of American and horror cinema that deserves to be seen by current generations. In fact I give this movie a solid 6/5 stars, and look forward to the next iteration of Phantom tomorrow where we look at Claude Raines potrayal in the color musical made in 1943.

Also a major recommendation for the Phantom Reviewer who you can find on Youtube for more Phantomy goodness!

No comments:

Post a Comment