The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★

Classic Universal horror film is a prime showcase for the make up work of star Lon Chaney. In the film, he plays the deformed Erik who is best know as the Phantom. He falls in love with a new singer and plans on turning her into a star but she must first give her life over to him.

I've always been hit and miss on this film but my most recent viewing in the cinema gave me a new appreciation for the film. I certainly don't think this is Chaney's best performance and no where close to it. I don't think this is anywhere near his best film but it does have a strong following that I can't deny.

What works so well in the film is the performance by Chaney, which is very good, although this factor usually gets overlooked due to the masterful make up. Chaney is very calm in the role and manages to be quite evil but at times also very sympathetic. Mary Philbin on the other hand isn't as good and I think a stronger actress would have done the film a lot of good. Norman Kerry and Arthur Edmund Carewe on the other hand are both fine in the film and add nice support when they're on the screen.
The sets are all incredibly and special note really goes towards the Phantom's underground lair, which is a true beauty to see. Another major plus is the build up to what the Phantom actually looks out and, as we all know, the eventual payoff is priceless. The movie also features a rather tense ending, which undoubtedly started the angry mob routine, which would be in countless horror films to follow.