An incompetent director feuding with the star, romantic leads who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag, a flurry of last-minute cuts, a print slashed apart in a bizarre attempt at sound conversion… and yet The Phantom of the Opera remains one of the iconic films of the silent era. Strong source material, set design and the hard work of Lon Chaney pay off in the end. This is an inconsistent film but also strangely charming. Not to be missed.
The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most beloved and iconic silent films but, let’s face it, the home media releases have been a mixed bag. For every quality release, there have been several duds with faded, scratchy prints and unsuitable music.
If you have to be known for only one movie, it may as well be a legendary one. Arthur Edmund Carewe is significant as the first Armenian-American movie star (real name: Hovsep Hovsepian) and as a fixture of classic horror, old dark house and mad scientist films. He made a lot of movies but The Phantom of the Opera remains his most famous role.
Yep, that’s me, malevolent laugh and all. When one lives in a reasonably rural area with reasonably winding roads, this is the result. What can I say? It’s fun.
Ugh. Parties. Not a fan. This is because, a) I would rather be watching silent movies or reading a book and b) there is always someone who designates themselves the Fun Police and then proceeds to shame guests into playing Apples to Apples. (I run in fast circles, as you can clearly see.)
Just once, I would love to see someone do this. Dress up as Red Death and rebuke their merriment. The rebuking of merriment is highly underrated these days, I would like to see it come back in style.
(This is from The Phantom of the Opera. My review is here.)
Availability: High quality releases include the Image DVD and Blu-ray release and the two-disc Milestone edition (which also includes the 1925 version). The rule of thumb with this film: You get what you pay for.
Here’s a movie that no one really wanted to make. Its production was troubled from the very beginning. From professional spats to last-minute recuts and reshoots, it had disaster written across it. So how did this hellish production end up as one of the most iconic and memorable horror films of all time? Does it live up to its reputation? Is it worth seeing for the casual viewer? We are going to engage in a little silent movie archaeology in order to find out.