phantomI have done Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween for three years with this being the fourth and never once have I ever included the man with 1000 faces known as Lon Chaney (The Hunchback Of Notre Dame). Well, that sad statistic is over as I am reviewing the 1925 silent film classic The Phantom Of The Opera which starred Chaney as The Phantom. Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) is an aspiring opera singer who hasn’t really had her chance at The Paris Opera House. That changes when The Phantom, who seeks love from Christine, brings murder and mayhem to the new owners of the opera house to persuade them into putting Christine into the spotlight. This Universal Pictures classic also starred Norman Kerry (The Hunchback Of Notre Dame) as Vicomte Raoule de Chagny, Arthur Edmund Carewe (The Cat And The Canary) as Ledoux, Gibson Gowland (Greed) as Simon Buquet, John St. Polis (Mr. Wong, Detective) as Comte Phillip de Chagny, Snitz Edwards (The Thief Of Bagdad) as Florine Papillon, Mary Fabian as Carlotta, Virginia Pearson (The Wizard Of Oz) as Carlotta’s Mother, and the film was directed by Rupert Julian (Merry-Go-Round), Chaney, Ernst Laemmle (Prowlers Of The Night), and Edward Sedgwick (The Cameraman).

phantom 2The Phantom Of The Opera is definitely a cinematic masterpiece for it’s time and it kind of represented where America was at the time of it’s release. A lot of guys had come back from war and they were torn up and missing limbs so they were sort of treated like freaks and outcasts even though they were just disfigured. The phantom could represent a little piece of all of us who sometimes feel like we don’t belong or we are not good looking enough. All the phantom wants is love, but he knows he is too disfigured for society to accept so he goes about it in the wrong way, but for him it’s the only way. There’s this one scene that caught my eye as you can see from the picture to the right. The phantom comes to a costume party and while the film is in black and white, he is the only one in color. Well, at least his costume is in color and it’s an effect that directors used to do by coloring the film with whatever color to give the appearance of color. This is a silent film after all, so you have to be willing to sit through the film with no dialogue with the dialogue written on screen for you. Lon Chaney is phenomenal in the film and if you look when he is wearing a mask, he i not in makeup cause you can see his ears. I also read that Chaney kept his look a secret from the studio until the actual release of the film. Nevertheless, he puts on an amazing performance that cemented him as one off the all time greats in American Horror history. One other thing you’ll notice in the film is that this is the same set used for Dracula and other films. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.


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