The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★★

Universal Pictures The Phantom of the Opera is undoubtedly one of the most famous horror movies of all time. Lon Chaney contributes a sensational performance as the grotesque Phantom, and his appointment in the title role, which helped to establish his lionised reputation, is still extraordinary as he plagues the Opera House in Paris. It was reputedly a highly fraught set with sweeping proclamations that director Rupert Julian managed to estrange himself with virtually everyone implicated in this adaptation of the novel by Gaston Leroux.

Its production of the now-familiar story is, without any exaggeration, magnificent for it's day, from the large set pieces to the frightful makeup, which Chaney himself developed and applied. He delivers a performance which manages to showcase both his magnetism and expressions irrespective of all the cosmetics, and he theatricalises for the camera with exaggerated body language as he helps his feminine obsession Christine Daaé, portrayed by Mary Philbin, evolve into an acclaimed opera star. It's a sophisticated piece of moviemaking which additionally spotlights a spectacular technicolour masquerade ball sequence, and it's accomplishments triggered enthusiasm for Universal to finance further productions on a procession of horror films, as well as establishing the tone for them to follow.