See this before Joel Schumacher’s remake hits later
this year.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Lon Chaney Sr. as the Phantom

Mary Philbin as Christine

Norman Kerry as Raoul

Screenplay by Elliot J. Clawson, based on the novel
by Gaston Leroux

Directed by Rupert Julian.

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

A deformed man with an affinity for magic lives
beneath an ancient
opera house.

I should note that this is the restored 1929 edition
of the film.
There are a few versions in the DVD release linked to
above, but this
is the default version on disk one, so I’ll interpret
that as saying
that this is the preferred version, at least by the
restoration crew.

High Point

The revelation of his face. Lon Chaney designed his
own makeup, and
he did an excellent job.

Low Point

The rather fickle attitudes of Christine.

The Scores

Again, originality suffers for an
adaptation. On the other
hand, this may be the first stalker movie. (I’m no
historian, but I’m
unaware of any that predate this.) I give it 4 out
of 6.

The effects are done in silhouette, with
colour tinting,
through editing, or with makeup, and the makeup is
incredible. Lon
Chaney Sr. certainly earned the nickname “the man of
1000 faces.”
(From the back of the DVD: “Lon Chaney, or it can’t
be done!”) All of
the effects are convincing, due to a deliberate
limitation of camera
views to accomodate the available technology. I give
it 6 out of 6.

The story is simple in design, but holds
together
consistently through all but Christine’s motivation.
The way she
falls in and out of love, she’s either one of the
flakiest women who
ever lived, or a victim of MPD. I give it 3 out of
6.

The acting is just starting to move away
from the classic
silent film overdone stage acting. I give it 3 out
of 6.

The emotional response is fairly effective.
It would have
worked better if the Phantom had a more sympathetic
history, though.
(I believe his original in the novel was different,
but I’m not
familiar enough with the source material to say for
certain.) I give
it 4 out of 6.

The production is impressive for the time.
The lighting
choices were well done, as was the editing in this
version. I give it
5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent movie, and a landmark
of the silent
era. This was probably Lon Chaney Sr.’s definitive
role. I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, The Phantom of the Opera receives
29 out of 42.

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