A comedy musical stage version of the Phantom of the Opera, filmed live on-stage during a performance in Florida. Young Christine Daae were on the beach when she heard her father speaking ... See full summary »
Darin De Paul,
Count de Chagnie has discovered Christine's singing talent on a market place and sent her to his friend Carriere, the director of the Parisian opera. However just when she arrives ... See full summary »
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
Universal Studios' Stage 28, the Lon Chaney 1925 B&W feature film "Phantom of the Opera" interior European three tiered box seat horseshoe theatre and stage proscenium existed as a permanent studio stage standing set. The Universal Studios' stage 28 "Phantom of the Opera" theatre interior set was also used in Alfred Hitchcock's 1966 feature film "The Torn Curtain." In 1965, the Paris Opera theatre interior set had fallen into disrepair, but Universal gave permission for Hitch to use it in the climax of his film. Hitch had his crew (including Joe Musso, a young budding illustrator) restore the theatre set back to the way the stage set was originally built for the 1925 Lon Chaney film. The original blueprints for the 1925 Chaney film no longer existed in 1964, but Joe Musso had a great 8"x10" photo collection from the Chaney film that showed the Paris Opera theater interior in great detail. Based on these archived B&W photos, the production designer, Hein Heckroth, art director, Frank Arrigo, and assistant art director, Joe Alves, had the set designers recreate new blueprints for the construction crew to restore the stage theatre set properly. Hitchcock had the original seats reupholstered and put back into the audience floor space, filling the theater floor and the European style horseshoe three tiered box gallery with 500 extras, along with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. The set designers who worked on the film included John Corso, Burwell Hamrick, William "Bill" O'Brien. Mort Rabinowitz also worked on the film as an illustrator. Mort Rabinowitz became a production designer shortly after working on the Hitchcock feature film. Joe Musso did the set illustrations on the opera house in color and painted Hitchcock's film crew in the audience besides Newman, Julie and Hitch. Hitchcock kept Joe Musso's illustration as his private and personal souvenir. See more »
1929 cut: A shadow can be seen passing in front of the backlighting of the door to Christine's room in the Phantom's lair just as the unmasking scene ends. See more »
What do you offer for their lives? Your answer quick - they can survive but a few moments!
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None of the technical staff of this film receives screen credit. See more »
Chaney is best known today for two roles: Quasimodo in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and Erik in "The Phantom of the Opera." The pair contrast the human response to physical deformity. While Quasimodo searches for kindness and acts to protect his home and loved ones, Erik shuns humanity and in his hatred and isolation becomes truly evil.
Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) is the understudy at the Paris Opera house, an ancient structure built over a network of torture chambers and interconnecting cellars. Rumors abound of a ghost or phantom who stalks the halls, and even rents his own box for the performances. With the help of this mysterious stranger, Daae becomes the lead diva.
Daae, apparently fine with her benefactor's use of extortion and mass murder to help her career, dumps her boyfriend Raoul (Norman Kerry) and follows the masked Phantom into the bowels of the opera house. She is, however, sensitive enough to collapse in a faint at the discovery that her benefactor is the legendary Phantom, and at his profession of love for her.
Awakening, she discovers herself in a lavish bedroom he has prepared for her, with her name engraved on a hand mirror. But upon snatching off the Phantom's mask, she realizes that he isn't Prince Charming after all, but hideously deformed, with a skull-like face.
The Phantom returns her to the opera, telling her that she must never see Raoul again. Upon reflection, however, Christine decides that looks and sanity are more important to her in a lover than she originally thought, and makes plans to meet Raoul at the annual masked ball. Raoul, neither particularly brave or smart, suggests that the two of them hightail it out of town. Christine, not one to run before her chance at the big time, suggests that they flee after the following evening's performance. Erik, of course, is listening in.
At that point Erik drops his nice-guy facade, hangs a stagehand who discovers his trap door, kidnaps Christine and flees into the cellars. He is hotly pursued by Raoul and a Secret Police inspector, who are followed by Raoul's brother, who is followed by angry mob led by the murdered stagehand's brother.
Erik, meanwhile, is trying to convince Christine of his capacity to reform ("No longer like a toad in these foul cellars will I secrete the venom of hatred -- for you shall bring me love!"). Alas, his plans to become a good husband are interrupted by the need to bump off a few of his pursuers, using elaborate boody traps and alarms throughout the dungeons.
The final minute of the movie is perhaps the best, with Erik's final gesture proving that his mental ability far outweighs that of anyone else in the film. He goes out in style, leaving the dim-witted Raoul and his amoral girlfriend to live happily ever after.
The two best things are Chaney's over-the-top performance as Erik and the spectacular sets. Chaney had a way of making any other actors in a film appear flat and lifeless, and this is no exception. The elaborate set of the opera house and the gothic appearance of the dungeons are still impressive, and the tinting and two-strip technicolor in the Bal Masque sequence look great.
"Phantom" is rousing horror/adventure, while "Hunchback" was a touching allegorical film. The latter is better and more serious, but "Phantom" is still some of the most fun it's possible to have before a movie screen.
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