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
One of the most eminent horror films ever made and perhaps even the most famous silent horror movie from that time. Lon Chaney starred in over 150 films (most of them silent ones) but he'll always be remembered best for his personification of Erik, the Phantom. And justified! Even though this role was played by many respectable actors afterwards (like Claude Rains, Herbert Lom and Robert Englund) Lon Chaney is and remains the one and only Phantom of the Opera. The film itself is depressing and dark, with terrific photography and settings. Deep down the catacombs of the Parisian Opera building, the phantom reigns in forgotten dungeons and underground lakes. After all these years of dwelling in the opera, he has fallen in love with the unsuccessful singer, Christine. He helps her career a little and threatens to kill the prominent singer Carlotta if she doesn't hand over the her role in Faust to Christine. The until then unknown singer is thankful and meets her `master' in the catacombs. Her appreciation soon turns into fear when she finds out her benefactor is the horribly scarred Phantom of the Opera. The biggest difference between this first version and the later remakes lies in the roots of the Phantom. Here, Erik is said to be an escaped madman whereas he merely only was a hurt romanticist in later versions. His deformed appearance isn't explained and neither is shown how he falls for the beautiful, shy Christine.
At least 3 sequences in the 1925 Phantom of the Opera are legendary and still astonishing after almost 80 years. The masked bal, which the Phantoms attends as the `Red Death' is an outstanding horror sequence and truly atmospheric. The grimaces of Chaney seem to look right through the other partygoers and his search for Christine is relentless. Immediately after this scene, the crew moves to the roof of the Opera building and Chaney takes place on top of the Apollo statue. A breathtaking piece of early cinema that stands the test of time like no other. The climax of Phantom of the Opera is an extended series of chasings and battues, resulting in the dramatic (and gruesome) death of our protagonist. Rupert Julian's classic silent has got everything! An actor capable of carrying the toughest role ever written, beautiful scenery, real-life drama, sentiment and romance. And last but not least an unbearable tension Throughout the entire film, you're looking at it with your eyes wide open.
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