Fun Size Review: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

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.


How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

The naughty Phantom ends up being torn apart by an angry mob, complete with torches. That’ll learn him.

Read my full-length review here (complete with backstage gossip and Mary Philbin’s account of how she evaded Norman Kerry’s wandering hands.)

If it were a dessert it would be: Canned Biscuit Monkey Bread. Some of the ingredients aren’t going to win any awards but you are guaranteed to have no leftovers.

Availability: The Phantom of Opera is in the public domain and has had numerous releases of varying quality but if you want the very best on the market now, you will want the new Kino Lorber version. Packed to the gills with goodies like alternate scores, it comes on both DVD and Blu-ray.


    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Universal had a shortage of just regular leading ladies at this point (Priscilla Dean was doing gangland stuff and Baby Peggy was… Baby Peggy) but both Mary Astor and Renee Adoree passed through the studio around the time Phantom was in pre-production/production. Either one would have been excellent.

      If you want to play the what-if game too, here is the internal Universal publication for the appropriate period. Enjoy!

  1. Ben Davidson

    Some of the greatest films ever made have incredibly turbulent backgrounds. Just look at Star Wars (1977). It took quite a while to film, a good chunk of the people behind the film, including the distributors at Fox and George Lucas himself, had very little faith in it, Lucas rarely interacted with his main cast and was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion due to the amount of stress he was under during filming, the release date was pushed back by several months due to production delays, and the first print of the film was deemed a ‘disaster’ and had to be redone. And yet, when adjusting for inflation, it is the second highest grossing film of all time behind Gone with the Wind (1939).

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