Lon Chaney is a master of acting, his portrayal of the Phantom is one of the classics in the film universe. He does well at carrying this film. That isn't a jab at any actor impeticular, it was that Chaney's role was so tremendous that the other characters fell into the background. He added to the enormity of the Phantom. Well not just him I suppose, I mean the sets are spectacular. When I watch this movie it makes me think that it could be the first blockbuster horror movie. This is a huge movie with huge sets, huge performances, and a huge soundtrack. The masked ball scene is a testament for the entire movie. It showcases color and music in a way that had never been done before. It is quite the treat.
The film takes place in the 1880's in France, we see the opening of the season for the Paris opera house where they are showing Faust. There are murmurs back stage about the mysterious Phantom of the Opera, who is seen briefly throughout the opening of the movie. The Phantom becomes intrigued with an actress by the name of Christine. He becomes enamored by her and ends up kidnapping her. It is a story of love, but Rupert Julian does such a good job of bringing the horror out in it. The Phantom is the grotesque monster that Julian set out to create. However, he draws the audience in and tugs on their heart-strings a bit. This all comes to a head in the grand finale, the pinnacle of Lon Chaney's performance.
This movie is full of scenes and shots, like the above mentioned mask ball scene, that really grasp the vastness of cinema creativity. The famous unmasking scene between Christine and The Phantom was filmed in such a way, that when presented to an audience viewing for the first time, they would jump out of their seats. The film is one of the greatest and most important of all time.
Phantom of the Critics
- Lon Chaney provided his make-up for the film.
- Filmed in the haunted Studio 28 in Universal Studios, California.
- On October 31, 2008, this film was screened at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with live musical accompaniment by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Ads contained a tag line that was a clever twist on that for Alien: "In silent films, no one can hear you scream".