A silent adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s famous novel in which Erik, a deformed musician living in the cellars of the Paris Opera House, causes murder and mayhem in an attempt to force the management to make the woman he loves a star.
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Essential. I love all of Universal's forays into horror/thrillers in the silent age (Cat and the Canary I enjoy a lot for its mixture of scares and laughs), but this is their best. This is the Lon Chaney show and his performance is worth seeking this one out alone. The great moody photography and early use of 2 strip technicolor only heighten the significance of this film. Still holds up to this day. 5 easy stars
How much conventions have changed since 1925. The audience then presumably sympathised at least marginally more with the awful Raoul and duplicitous Christine, whereas I sympathise with the Phantom, making the end shocking and sad.
A horror classic that due to the magnificient performance by Lon Chaney stands the test of time. Makeup effects are still extraordinary as is the body language and expression of Chaney. Mary Philbin makes a radiant and expressive Christine. The early use of colour in one scene makes for one of the most memorable entrances in the history of cinema. Much prefer this version to all those that came after.
The first cinematic incarnation of the enduring tale of the Phantom of the Opera may skimp on the plot details here and there, but it's hard to deny its visual power. Clearly inspired by German Expressionism and Murnau's NOSFERATU, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA remains a hauntingly beautiful horror landmark. The makeup effects are still impressive, and Lon Chaney's performance as the Phantom is 2nd to none.
In spite of Lon Chaney's performance I found the film a bit unsatisfactory and artistically uneven. But there are two great moments: the first demasking of the Phantom and, a real highlight, the colored sequence with the maquerade and Eric's appearance as Death. I also didn't like the music accompaniment with its use of complete classical mouvements (mostly Schubert) mostly without adapting them to the filmic rhythm.
A near-perfect film adaptation, severely under-rated and, although touted as a classic, I suggest that most people who know it have never actually seen it all the way through. I recommend this film over the 2004 musical.