Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1943)

Now for the first Phantom movie in color.

This adaptation takes a few liberties with the source material, but I attribute it to the time when the movie was made, World War 2 was raging so classic monsters weren't exactly scary anymore leading the filmmakers to focus more on a colorful spectacle to entertain audiences. Compared to the Chaney version, this film doesn't have much horror in it but it's still a fine film and even won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography which is evident from the very first shot, it really gives a grand scale and shows off the still lavish original set from the 1925 film. The story concers a poor violinist Claudin, who has spent years helping a young singer Christine to finally be a great singer before his face is scarred by acid and he takes to haunting the Paris Opera House. Somewhat similar to the original novel, but as I said takes some liberties. Hell in the original script Claudin was supposed to be Christine's father, but they cut it because of the romance subplot which was a wise decision to say the least, but it's like they never refilmed previous scenes so Claudin acts very paternal around Christine but for seemingly unknown reasons. And on top of that we get two Raoul's in this version leading to quite a few attempts at comedy that fail miserably, so I can honestly live without that. But beyond that small problem the cast is quite good, Claude Raines is a fine Phantom and for a man of small frame his voice is what gives him power (Just like in the book!), and Susanna Foster is ridiculously pretty and an excellent singer. Speaking of which, there's at least 3 or 4 musical numbers though only one is actually worth a damn in my opinion, Lullaby Of The Bells which is beyond beautiful. So if musicals aren't your taste, I don't blame you if you fast forward through them. But beyond that, it's a good film and should be seen at least once. I have to say Claude Raines Phantom look is quite possibly my favorite of them all, not so much in disfigurement but costume, it looks so cool. You know what's odd? Waaaay back in either my first or second year of reviews, probably my first I went out and bought all the essential Universal Monster movies. So Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Creature From The Black Lagoon, all on seperate DVD's and this version was the Phantom movie of that collection. Now me personally I would have put the Lon Chaney version but I think it's still public domain. Like Universal owns the rights, kind of? And this is the one that comes packaged in every box set or nearly all of them. There's nothing wrong with that, but this is not the Phantom movie that pops in my head when I think of this character. In fact, the only other Monster movie that I can think of where you don't think of the original is The Mummy. Because there's been what, like 5 different Mummies? Imhotep, Kharis, the Hammer Mummy, the 90s Mummy, and now Sofia Boutella. Most people usually think of either the 90s or the original Mummy, but I'm getting off track here. Do recommend it for at least one viewing, and later this week it's Hammer time!

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