The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★

Hoop to the Sixth Power: My Hooptober 2019 Watchlist

April 2019 Scavenger Hunt (#49) Task 20: A film featuring the first language listed for Film #19 (English/Silent Film -- Piccadilly).
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I feel a little bad I never got farther on trying to do that April Scavenger Hunt in order given that I liked the concept but ... ehh, my fault for not making time for Goodfellas.

So, I didn't realize until I started watching this one on Tubi that this film actually has multiple cuts. The film stock on that version was really degraded -- it had an overexposed center that made a lot of the picture difficult to see -- and it gave me such a headache to watch it that after 20 minutes I was like, "You know what? I'm going to go see if there's a better version." I found one near-to-perfect on YouTube, but the scenes were in a completely different order. I still don’t know if what I saw was the definitive version -- somebody in the comments said it was very different from the one they watched. On the other hand, the overexposed Tubi version I saw actually sounded really similar to the cut for the sound version -- it both referred to Carlotta as her mother at one point and had those inserts with the Phantom’s shadow.

Oh well, it’s a mystery. And one very appropriate for The Phantom. I’m going to blame him for the wi-fi troubles I had in watching the film, too.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read the Gaston Leroux novel, and I recognize that most of my memory is mixed up in the details about the stage musical, which I know a lot better. Still, this struck me as a solid adaptation with some great iconography. Lon Chaney’s a great Phantom -- even if I think his makeup does a lot. (The mask over the face is really weird, though.) Mary Philbin is also great as Christine Daae. I do think this movie can be a bit too slow, but that might have just been my cut. The traps in the dungeon are also a lot of fun.

I don’t think this will ever be my favorite version of the Phantom, but I like it and I can see why this is so beloved by so many people.

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