Geoff T’s review published on Letterboxd:
Geoff T's Hoop-Tober 3.0 Challenge
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Normally I wouldn't go back this far, but in the case of this challenge I'll make an exception. There's something really eerie about silent movies to me, not just the grainy old film quality but the fact that they're a century old and almost everyone involved in them has been dead for a long time. I do find them fascinating though.
This is the earliest adaptation of the Phantom story as far as I know, perhaps even the best. Even for it's time, it's well-constructed, tragic and intriguing. It tells the story of a Paris opera house that is haunted by the presence of a disgraced former musician named Erik (Lon Chaney) who now lives under the house as disfigured "phantom". He develops a love interest for a young singer, luring her to his lair so he can declare his romantic desires for her.
The opera house locations are put to brilliant use, and it is genuinely creepy at times. Even to this day the unmasked appearance of the phantom is a pretty horrifying sight. The soundtrack is good and has some nice opera themes, though it often varies depending on which version you watch since so many different prints have been distributed over years due to it's public domain status.
Good stuff overall, I'm not one to seek out very old films but I'm quite glad I gave this a look. If you want a decent version to watch, I'd personally recommend this print.