Phantom of the Paradise ★★★★

Film #11 from Scavenger Hunt 47

Task 28. Watch a Phantom of the Opera adaptation that isn't by Andrew Lloyd Webber

This is a film that I’m glad I didn’t review straight away. I initially felt it was a mess with too many ideas and too much Andy Williams. But since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it – a sure sign that it’ll be going straight onto the re-watch pile. The songs keep coming back to me but also how many of them appeared to have been recorded live and in single takes. Possibly that should tell you it’s a De Palma film but apart from that and the odd split screen / multi angle shots this seems miles away from any of his other pictures.

A highlight of the film for me was Jessica Harper, particularly her audition song ‘Special to Me’. She was best known to me previously for her appearances in ‘Suspiria’, ‘Stardust Memories’ and her scene with Diane Keaton in ‘Love and Death’ (“The firm of Mishkin and Mishkin is sleeping with the firm of Taskov and Taskov”). However, based on her singing here I now want to revisit ‘Shock Treatment’, the soundtrack to which I listen to for years before watching the film and then felt disappointed when I finally did.

As to ‘Phantom of the Paradise’ I believe my initial reaction was correct – it is a mess but a glorious one!

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