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The Phantom of the Opera (1962)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Music | 15 August 1962 (USA)
Terror strikes the London Opera House as a new opera is disrupted by the actions of a deformed specter of the show's past who has an obsession with one of the production's chorus girl.

Director:

Terence Fisher

Writers:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder), Gaston Leroux (composition)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbert Lom ... The Phantom (Prof. L. Petrie)
Heather Sears ... Christine Charles
Edward de Souza ... Harry Hunter
Thorley Walters ... Lattimer
Michael Gough ... Lord Ambrose d'Arcy
Harold Goodwin ... Bill
Martin Miller Martin Miller ... Rossi
Liane Aukin Liane Aukin ... Maria
Sonya Cordeau ... Yvonne
Marne Maitland ... Xavier
Miriam Karlin Miriam Karlin ... Charwoman (as Miriam Carlin)
Patrick Troughton ... The Rat Catcher
Renee Houston ... Mrs. Tucker
Keith Pyott ... Weaver
John Harvey John Harvey ... Sgt. Vickers
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Storyline

The corrupt Lord Ambrose D'Arcy (Michael Gough) steals the life's work of the poor composer Professor L. Petrie. (Herbert Lom). In an attempt to stop the printing of music with D'Arcy's name on it, Petrie breaks into the printing office and accidentally starts a fire, leaving him severely disfigured. Years later, Petrie returns to terrorize a London opera house that is about to perform one of his stolen operas. Written by Jeremy Lunt <durlinlunt@acadia.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BENEATH HIS MASK...the Grotesque Face of Horror Unimaginable! INSIDE HIS HEART...the Desperate Desire for Beauty and Love! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Phantom der Oper See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£180,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in 1890 and December 1900. See more »

Goofs

All the times we see the Phantom prior to being unmasked, his forehead above the mask is clean. But for a split second before he rips the mask off, a small scar is visible on the right side of his forehead. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lattimer: The house is sold out, my lord.
Lord Ambrose d'Arcy: No further incidents, I trust?
Lattimer: No, nothing. Everything seems quite normal.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A subplot involving a pair of Scotland Yard police inspectors on the trail of the Phantom was shot especially for the American TV version (by the TV companies, not by Hammer). This was a regular occurrence in this era, most notably with Hammer's films The Kiss of the Vampire and The Evil of Frankenstein. See more »

Connections

Version of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Joan of Arc
by Edwin Astley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Pretty good but not among Hammer's best
2 July 2015 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As far as adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera goes(excluding the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical), this 1962 Hammer version is not as good as Lon Chaney's, which is the best version, but it's superior to the Claude Rains version(though I do prefer Rains over Herbert Lom).

It does have its problems, with too much time spent on the opera and the romance and not enough of the Phantom, which does undermine the tension, sense of dread and horror. Sadly, the opera numbers, while musically good, are staged awkwardly and really do slow the film down. The romance is rather saccharine, and the chemistry between the two 'heroes' a little bland. Heather Sears also plays Christine too low-key and the script, while with some intelligent moments, does plod sometimes and has a little too much talk.

However, it is very lavishly made (one of the better looking early-60s Hammer films) with truly marvellous interiors of the opera house, rich vibrant colours and opulent costumes. It is beautifully and spine-chillingly scored, though James Bernard would have been an even better fit for composer. The story is less than perfect, but does offer some effective moments. The close up of the eye is really quite chilling and enough to make one jump, while the grasping hand over the stage and the lowering of the gas lamp are indeed very suspenseful, Phantom's back-story is interesting and makes one empathise with him and the ending is incredibly moving.

Terrence Fisher's direction is technically accomplished and does evoke some suspense and atmosphere, though his story-telling has been better elsewhere. Regarding the acting, Michael Gough steals the show being chillingly vile as a true slimeball with no redeeming qualities of a character. Herbert Lom is a great contrast as the Phantom, under heavy and effective make-up he is a sympathetic and tragic figure and it is quite a poignant performance, though not without a few scary moments. Edward De Souza is charming.

In conclusion, not among the best of Hammer by a long shot and could have been better, but still manages to be pretty good. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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