Nice documentary from Universal that was originally released on the DVD of the 1943 PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Universal released many great documentaries on their monster films but this here is perhaps the weakest. I'm going to say this is probably because there's really not too much to talk about as it seems the 1943 PHANTOM has been overlooked by movie fans, although I personally think it's an underrated gem. The documentary starts off telling us the history of the 1925 version with Lon Chaney. We hear about how Universal got the rights to the story, Chaney's make up and the eventually fighting between star and director. We hear a few points on the 1930 version and then move to the 1943 version. We hear about Lon Chaney, Jr. originally wanting to play the role but apparently the studio never took this too serious. We hear about the decision to make it in color and the hiring of Claude Rains and his demands for the lack of make up. Finally, we jump to the Hammer remake, which was distributed by Universal. This documentary is entertaining but at the same time it comes off rather disappointing because it jumps around so much and yet we really don't learn too much about any of the three version. The 1925 version gives basic stuff and we don't get Chaney expert Michael Blake. The 1943 version gets some nice comments from Rains daughter but a lot of stuff is pretty much overlooked. Then, the Hammer version is pretty much skipped all together. Again, we're greeted with some good information but this is certainly the weakest documentary from Universal in regards to their classic monsters.
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