Saturday, October 10, 2009

26. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Running Time: 91 minutes
Directed By: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney
Written By: Gaston Leroux
Main Cast: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Mary Fabian


I think everyone out there, who may be reading this, has heard the story of the Phantom of the Opera, or at least has heard of it. For those of you who haven't I'll recount the film version of the tale, credited as one of the closest adaptations of the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux.
Our tales starts with two men purchasing the Paris Opera House and right off the bat being warned of a ghost or phantom that lives in the building. They laugh it off at first, but are almost immediately presented with evidence that supports the warnings that were given earlier. From there the new owners are presented with a note, signed by "The Phantom" that basically says that Carlotta, who is the Paris Opera House's main star, will not sing on the following evening, but instead will be replaced by Christine Daae. The new owners don't pay much mind to it, but the following day sees Carlotta suddenly turn up "ill" and Christine ready to belt one out at the opera house.

Christine is a big hit and upon returning to her dressing room, hears a mysterious voice calling to her and telling her that her career is going to flourish and that all of Paris would worship her. The Phantom continues to warn the managers and Carlotta's mother, not to let Carlotta sing, but the night after Christine brings down the house, Carlotta is ready to go onstage, and the Phantom doesn't take to kindly to this, bringing the chandelier crashing into the audiences, in a very memorable scene.

Later that night, The Phantom casts some kind of spell over Christine, putting her into a trance and drawing her into his underground lair, far below the Paris Opera House. While underground, the Phantom confesses his love for Christine, as he wears a mask, covering his face. As he sits down to the organ to play for Christine, she sneaks up behind him ripping off his mask, to expose a hideous, deformed face, that the Phantom is enraged that she saw. Christine shrieks in horror and the Phantom declares that he'll only let her visit the world one more time, before recapturing her and holding her prisoner underground.

With some mesmerizing shots, such as the great chandelier falling, Christine ripping the Phantom's mask off and the short technicolor sequence of the masked ball, in which the Phantom dresses in glorious red, despite all of those scenes, this movie really didn't spark the enjoyment and awe that I wanted it to. At only ninety one minutes long, this film seemed to go a lot longer than that, dragging on and on with nothing really exciting or interesting ever happening. While I will admit that there were some great scenes and great sets, as well as great costumes and makeup, the film, for me, fell short of a movie worthy of being titled one of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die".

RATING: 2.5/10 That's just about as high as I can take it for this one, and I really expected to like this one too. Oh well, there's still 900 and some odd movies to go.

NEXT UP: The Battleship Potemkin...The review should be up later on tonight, as this one is on Netflix to view instantly and I plan to knock it out quick.

October 9, 2009 9:25pm

1 comment:

  1. From everything you hear about this one I actually expected it to be good, kinda sad to hear it wasn't!


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