An offbeat, episodic film about three friends, Paul, a shy love-seeker, Lloyd, a vibrant conspiracy nut, and Jon, an aspiring filmmaker and peeping tom. The film satirizes free-love, the ... See full summary »
Brian De Palma
Robert De Niro,
Evil 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 composer Winslow Leach to celebrate the opening of his rock palace, The Paradise. While trying to stop Swan, Leach was framed and convicted for drug dealing, and 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. However, Leach signs a contract with Swan to complete his rock opera based on the legend of Faust for an aspiring singer - Phoenix. Written by
According to Danny Peary in the book "Cult Movies 2", originally this film would have had the title "The Phantom" but King Features Syndicate, syndicators of "The Phantom" comic strip, demanded that the film have a longer title so as not to be confused with their copyrighted character. See more »
Around 31:50, the cameraman's foot can be seen moving on the mirror behind Swan, as Winslow leaves the hallway. See more »
Phoenix, no one's singing in this Paradise again. No one's ever gonna sing my "Faust" again. No one but you. Phoenix, leave this place! Swan'll destroy you too!
You're crazy! Why should I go with you? Don't you hear them down there? Why should I give that up?
They'll want more now. They want much more. They want more than you could ever give.
I'll give them whatever they want.
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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 »
Belongs in The Unnamable Top-Ten List with "This is Spinal Tap"
My father wouldn't let me see this in 1974 (I was 11) and I recall him reporting a coworker's opinion that the film should have been rated "R."
So finally, in 2005, I see the film at age 42.
The film is disturbing on a variety of levels. First and foremost, I realized that most of the players are now in their late 50's and 60's. Disturbing, why? Well, because there's a band out there called "the Undead" (Bobby Steele, ex-Misfits) who, turns out, stole (or did he?) his name from Phantom of the Paradise's "the Undeads" Likewise, the Undeads in this film were doing in 1974 what Scandinavian death metal bands _started_ doing in the early 1990's. Furthermore, did the Damned's Dave Vanian rip off the Undead's gimmick?
I felt uneasy realizing that, had I seen the movie when it came out, I probably wouldn't have gotten any of the jokes; I wouldn't have laughed out loud at Beef, the lesbian jokes, the parody of self-important wimpy rockers. And I wouldn't have appreciated the successful composite of Phantom of the Opera, Faust, Picture of Dorian Gray, etc.
The acting is top-notch - the only way "camp" gets laughs. Paul Williams's Swan is the most black-hearted villain I've seen.
The wait was worth it for me on this one.
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