The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★

"Erik: [title card] If I am the Phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so... If I shall be saved, it will be because your love redeems me."

Another black and white film to add to my viewed list, The Phantom of the Opera is a good movie. Having a film about an operatic stage production might not lend itself to being a silent film so well, but it comes off surprisingly beautiful on screen.

The story revolves around the "Phantom" lurking under the Paris Opera House, causing murderous mayhem in order for understudy "Christine Daae" to become a star. He also wants her to fall deeply in love with him and be committed to him forever in return.

Lon Cheney does a great job playing the "Phantom" and the unveiling of his grotesque face is quite scary. The fact that he did his own make up as well, is also quite astonishing. He did a great job at evoking the horror, along with the sorrow and love he feels for "Christine." Mary Philbin is quite good as "Christine," successfully portraying the fear at being captured, but also the internal heartbreak she feels for the lonely "Phantom."

The visuals in the film are also quite astounding. One thing I have loved in each of the black and white films I have watched is the gorgeous cinematography. Using light and shadows really pay off here and gives the viewers a sense of dread and fear at every corner. The production design is also excellent, with the grand layout of the opera house superbly realized and the foreboding layers of tunnels underneath it mysteriously horrifying.

I have to say I did enjoy Joel Schumacher's version more overall, but the unveiling of the "Phantom" is way scarier here and this tale is more terrifying to watch. If you're looking for a slightly scary black and white film to watch, I recommend picking up The Phantom of the Opera.

Barry liked this review