Classic Tuesdays: The Phantom of the Opera
Run Time: 92 min.
October 18, 2022 at 7pm
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Snitz Edwards, Cesare Gravina
Director: Rupert Julian
Screenplay: Elliott J. Clawson, Raymond L. Schrock
A forerunner of the American horror film, and one of the most lavish productions of the silent cinema, The Phantom of the Opera has inspired countless remakes and imitations. But none of its successors can rival the mesmerizing blend of romance and mystery that haunts every frame of the Lon Chaney original.
In the gloomy subterranean passages of the Paris Opera House lurks Erik (Lon Chaney), a ghoulish composer who wears a mask to hide his face. Erik takes it upon himself to secretly coach Christine (Mary Philbin), an ambitious understudy at the theater, for stardom. Soon his interest in her career morphs into murderous obsession. After unleashing a series of terrifying catastrophes that force the leading soprano to step down (thus enabling Christine to take her place), The Phantom now wants more from his protégée than just her voice.
Perhaps the most famous horror movie of all time, and still eerie enough today to give you goosebumps, Julian’s “Phantom” stars legendary spook Chaney as the titular musical maniac. Not only did the film reinforce Chaney’s huge celebrity status, it solidified Universal Studios’ reputation as purveyors of bone-chilling horror fare. Just watch the infamous unmasking of Chaney as he sits at the organ in the film’s climax, and you’ll understand why this creepy tale has inspired so many remakes, spoofs, and rip-offs — not to mention Lord Webber’s long-running musical! Catch this “Phantom,” and see where it all began.
“This is the real thing … A great, classic film, that beautifully stands the test of time…”– Robert Harris, Home Theater Forum
“It has two elements of genius: It creates beneath the opera one of the most grotesque places in the cinema, and Chaney’s performance transforms an absurd character into a haunting one.”– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times