The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★

This is a celebrated piece of cinema, a true classic that any serious film fan ought to see at some point. The cinematography is wonderfully interesting, especially in its extensive use of tinting. The 'Bal Masque' sequence, with its early Technicolor, is exquisite in its costuming, especially the Phantom decked out as the Red Death. And the unmasking scene is an iconic moment in film.

So why did I rate it so low? This is the third version of Phantom for me, and thus far my least favorite. Chaney's Phantom is well done, but the character of Christine is very unsympathetic. She is willing to toss over Raoul for the mysterious voice who tutors her to greatness in music, only to be willing to toss him over after his hideous visage is revealed, begging Raoul to save her from him. She comes off as self-serving and shallow, and at no point did I see any reason that both Raoul and The Phantom should fall in love with her.

Still, it's worth the watch at least once, even if Chaney's wonderful makeup doesn't hold the terror it once did.