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Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,016 users  
Reviews: 136 user | 73 critic

A disfigured composer sells his soul for the woman he loves so that she will perform his music. However, an evil record tycoon betrays him and steals his music to open his rock palace, The Paradise.

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Title: Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Winslow / The Phantom
...
...
...
George Memmoli ...
Philbin
...
The Juicy Fruits / The Beach Bums / The Undeads
Jeffrey Comanor ...
The Juicy Fruits / The Beach Bums / The Undeads
Peter Elbling ...
The Juicy Fruits / The Beach Bums / The Undeads (as Harold Oblong)
Colin Cameron ...
Band
David Garland ...
Band
Gary Mallaber ...
Band
Art Munson ...
Band
Mary Margaret Amato ...
Swan's Entourage
Rand Bridges ...
Swan's Entourage
James Bohan ...
Swan's Entourage
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Storyline

Rock opera version of The Phantom of the Opera which also serves as a dark satire of the music business. Notorious record tycoon Swan has sold his soul to the devil for eternal youth and success - 20 years ago. Swan's current scheme is to steal the music from meek composer Winslow Leach to celebrate the opening of his rock palace, The Paradise. While trying to stop Swan, Leach becomes the victim of a freak accident that leaves him horribly disfigured. He takes refuge in the cavernous Paradise, hiding his mangled face beneath an eerie mask and planning gruesome vengeance upon Swan - and everyone else who has hurt him. Written by Max Davison <RockyHexorcist2785>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He sold his soul for rock 'n' roll! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Phantom  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Movielab)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At several key points in the film--especially during the Swanage audition and "orgy" sequences--the singing and character voice work is provided by Betty Buckley. She originally auditioned for a role in the film and wasn't cast, but director Brian De Palma called on her because of her skill with ADR and voice work. He would call upon her again to do double-duty, when he finally did cast her as the gym teacher, Miss Collins, in his next film Carrie (1976). See more »

Goofs

There's a shadow of the camera and the cameraman visible on the blue car at the end of the "bomb in the trunk" sequence. See more »

Quotes

Swan: [holding a contract] It's all here. Read it carefully, and then sign at the bottom in blood. Messy, I know, but it's the only way that can bind. Tradition. What do you have to lose?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits feature a series of montages of the cast members, identifying each by name, starting with the musical trio (Oblong, Hahn, Comanor) and concluding with William Finley as Winslow/The Phantom. These montages are made up of shots ostensibly from the movie, and most of them are, but there are also numerous outtakes. See more »

Connections

Version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye
Written by Paul Williams
Performed by Jeffrey Comanor, Archie Hahn and Peter Elbling as The Juicy Fruits, lead vocal Archie Hahn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quintessential cult movie
13 February 2006 | by (Paris, France) – See all my reviews

Mix "the Phantom of the Opera" with "Faust" and "the Picture of Dorian Gray", sprinkle it all with 1970's electric glam-rock, Gothic horror and uttermost baroque scenery and costumes. And there you get "Phantom of the Paradise", a picture that has everything to be the perfect cult movie, and would deserve much more attention than its more famous counterpart "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", released one year later.

Whereas "Rocky Horror" remains a farce all the way through, "Phantom of the Paradise" is a real tragedy in the original meaning : the story of a genial but naive musician who gets his work swindled by an evil baby-faced producer who has sold his soul to the Devil. Besides, "Phantom" is more a film about music or a film with songs in it than a proper musical, and it's better so because the story is really interesting. Like "Rocky Horror", " Phantom" is full of parody and incredible gimmicks, but the plot and the soundtrack are far superior, and on the whole, "Phantom" has a lot more class.

Many people who have seen the movie when it was released were teenagers, and it's one of those movies I know many people to have seen ten times or more. Looked at from a mature point of view, it is true that "Phantom" appears somewhat kitsch and not so profound, and it is obvious that the director must have had great fun shooting such a delirious show. But let's say then that as "typical midnight movie", "Phantom of the Paradise" remains a gripping and creative kitsch masterpiece, and still keeps up with its cult movie status thirty years after. That's what classics are all about.

Countless scenes and details would deserve comments, but let's say that two of them are really hard to forget: when the hero gets his face destroyed in a record-press after his escape from Sing-Sing in a toy box, and when he murders the campy music-hall star who usurped his music in the middle of the stage, by shooting a neonlight across his chest as the climax of a hysterical rock concert.

Interesting to know that the same three singers successively impersonate a parody of a sixties group with banana hairdos and falsetto voices, a nutty band in pants and wigs, and finally appear with ominous black and white make-up in a hard-rock performance that reminds of "Kiss". I guess you wouldn't tell if you didn't know.

The casting is very good although none of the actors seemed to have achieved real stardom. You don't get to see so much of William Finley because he wears a mask throughout much of the film, but Paul Williams, who has had a rather mediocre singing career, was perfect for the role as machiavelic producer Swan. The angelic blond face and the malign nature of the character make a very powerful contrast.

However, I found the most impressive performance was given by Jessica Harper. Her big dark eyes and deep voice make her stand out both as an accomplished actress and singer. Her talent has been unfortunately never used any better than in this movie, which was her first star role, and that's "the hell of it".

As for director Brian de Palma, I have not seen many of his films outside of this one, so I'm not too sure, but it looks like "Phantom" really has a place apart in his career. For instance, "Carrie", which got more attention, appeared very disappointing to me in comparison, much more like a B-grade horror flick. Mr de Palma certainly seems to have a fascination for blood, and "Phantom" has of course its fair share of it. Contracts are even signed with blood instead of ink...


47 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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When and where did you first see this fun flick? oldshawfan
Please suggest other similar movies! StrayFeral
Why do they have to remake it? ginapulai
awsome cast for remake of Phantom of the Paradise JohnnyBeardson
Phantom making the upgrade to 1080p Blu-ray in Dec! Swampthing
But What GENRE Would You Slap On It? middlenamewayne
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