The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★★

Note: I saw this movie last night on Turner Classic Movies and among the many versions of this out there, it was the restoration of the 1929 reissue; it will take too long to explain the differences between this and other versions, but I wanted to make that clear.

Then again, I have never seen any version of the classic story by Gaston Leroux, whether it be stage or screen. I knew the general story, as I am sure many do already, so I won't say much about it except that it's about an evil man with a deformed face who falls in love with an opera singer named Christine and via the catacombs of Paris-where he resides-he does various awful things to try and ensure her love and her hand in marriage.

While I had never seen this in full of course I had seen images of Lon Chaney as the titular Phantom and how horrifying his visage was. You likely have seen the unmasking scene even if you did not know where it was from. Turns out, he delivered a great performances; the cast is fine as a whole but he was clearly the best. Also high quality was the set design and the cinematography. The catacombs did look quite spooky and creepy, which only added to the mood.

As what was popular at the time, while it was in black and white the footage had various tints on it to match the mood; if it was at night it was blue, something creepy was green, a fiery scene was red, daytime was yellow, etc. In addition, one section of the film was in full color, or at least a primitive version of it. I wonder what it would have been like if all the movie had been like that; the section in question involved The Phantom in a ghoulish red outfit. All those great images combined with a fantastic organ score means that this is a silent classic which does deserve such an honor.

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