See This - The Phantom of the Opera

Lon Chaney as the Phantom in the 1925 Phantom of the Opera



Gaston Leroux’s famous story of the Phantom – who lives in the bowels of the Paris opera house, falls for a pretty singer and wreaks terrible revenge when she won’t play footsie – seems to have a strange effect on artists. Leroux went super-gothic – very pretty girl, monstrous beast, subterranean caverns, stygian doom, death by fire and water and so on. And everyone since has more or less kept up the melodramatic pace, right down to Andrew Lloyd Webber – ‘the phantom of the opera is there/Inside your mind’ cackle, twirl. This 1925 silent film is actually the best of the lot – it’s got Lon ‘Man Of A Thousand Faces’ Chaney in it for a start. And there’s nothing decorous or abstract about his make-up – a grinning skull, a cavernous blowhole for a nose, eyes popping out of his face. Not pretty. Unlike our lovely heroine (Mary Philbin). And unlike the fabulous sets depicting the Opera House and the Phantom’s lair, shot in part in two-strip Technicolor – quite a sight in the silent era. Add to that a booming recording of Carl Davis’s reworked score, if you’re watching a recently restored print, and it’s quite a sound now as well.

© Steve Morrissey 2006


The Phantom of the Opera – at Amazon this is the Milestone version, the best of many available right now.


For the BFI version with the Carl Davis score mentioned above (warning: it’s Region 2 and expensive if you live outside the UK) click here.



imdb poster The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Run time: 93 min
Rating: 7.7
Genres: Horror | Thriller
Director: Rupert Julian
Writers: Gaston Leroux
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Trivia: A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.
Storyline At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta and thus forces her to give up her role (Marguerite in Faust) for unknown Christine Daae. Christine meets this phantom (a masked man) in the catacombs, where he lives. What’s his goal ? What’s his secret ? Written by Yepok
Plot Keywords: opera, phantom, singer, catacomb, opera singer