At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta and thus forces her to give up her role (Marguerite in Faust) for unknown Christine Daae. Christine meets this phantom (a masked man) in the catacombs, where he lives. What's his goal ? What's his secret ? Written by
Music, Words and Personality Cannot Make Up for That Face.
The titled character is a badly disfigured man (Lon Chaney) who stays in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with the theater's newest leading lady (Mary Philbin) and hatches a plan to take her down to his tomb. Masked, able to play lovely music and say such lovely things, she finds herself strangely attracted to Chaney. However, she makes the mistake of unmasking him and that is when he shows his true deviant colors. "The Phantom of the Opera" is one of the finest pictures of the late silent era and Chaney was arguably the greatest performer of the period (of course Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin fans would not agree). His ability to literally transform himself into movie monsters is truly uncanny, especially considering the lack of technical resources in the 1920s. New Zealand director Rupert Julian (who took sole credit in spite of the fact that Chaney and fellow director Edward Sedgwick also did some of the work behind the camera) uses tone to stretch his audience to their outer-limits throughout. Spooky, dramatic, stressful and memorable, "The Phantom of the Opera" is one of those silent pictures that will suck you in and never let you go. 5 stars out of 5.
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