Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

3.5 7
Director: Arthur Lubin

Cast: Arthur Lubin, Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains

     
 

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This Technicolor retelling of the Gaston Leroux "grand guignol" classic The Phantom of the Opera has a little more opera than phantom, but that's because the stars are soprano Susannah Foster and tenor Nelson Eddy. Claude Rains carries the acting honors on his shoulders, playing a pathetic orchestra violinist who worships aspiring opera-singer Foster from afar.See more details below

Overview

This Technicolor retelling of the Gaston Leroux "grand guignol" classic The Phantom of the Opera has a little more opera than phantom, but that's because the stars are soprano Susannah Foster and tenor Nelson Eddy. Claude Rains carries the acting honors on his shoulders, playing a pathetic orchestra violinist who worships aspiring opera-singer Foster from afar. The girl is unaware that Rains has secretly been financing her music lessons with instructor Leo Carrillo. When he runs out of money, Rains attempts to sell the concerto that he's been working on all his life. Mistakenly believing that his precious concerto has been stolen from him, Rains attacks and kills the music publisher he holds responsible. Terrified, the publisher's mistress throws a pan full of acid into Rains' face. Rains runs screaming into the night, and is not heard from for the next reel or so. Soon afterward, the Paris Opera house is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents. The managers are informed via letter that the "accidents" will continue if Foster is not immediately promoted to leading roles. Only after reigning diva Jane Farrar is drugged into incapacitation is Foster given her big break. Farrar accuses Foster's boyfriend, police inspector Nelson Eddy, of doping her in order to advance Foster's career. Farrar is later strangled, and Eddy is accused of the crime. The culprit is, of course, Rains, who now poses as the masked-and-caped "phantom." Maniacally determined that no one will impede Foster's success, Rains causes a huge chandelier to crash down on the opera audience when Foster fails to appear onstage (she'd been kept from performing by police-chief Edgar Barrier, who hoped in this manner to flush The Phantom out of hiding). A chase through the catacombs below the opera house ensues, with Rains holding Foster prisoner. When Rains briefly lets down his guard, the tremulous Foster removes his mask. It's "yecccch," all right, but nowhere near as frightening as the unmasking scene in the silent Lon Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera. The same can be said for the rest of this 1943 remake, though in fairness it appears as though the film wasn't really designed to scare anyone, but instead to serve as a suspense yarn with musical interludes. Hume Cronyn makes his second film appearance in Phantom in a microscopic role. The huge sets designed for this picture were hastily reused for the 1944 Universal melodrama The Climax, starring Boris Karloff and (again) Susannah Foster.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Universal lavished Technicolor on this, the studio's long-awaited remake of the 1925 Lon Chaney classic. The powers at be also secured the services of Claude Rains in the title role but although a fine character actor, the soft-spoken Britisher may not be everyone's idea of a horror star. Leery of the typecasting that almost inevitably had bedeviled predecessors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, Rains refused the kind of grotesque makeup that shocked the movie going audience nearly 20 years earlier, allowing Universal makeup wizard Jack Pierce to apply only a very moderate and not very hideous scar. Thus, the drama's much-awaited set piece, Christine's (Susanna Foster) unveiling of the true condition of her secret benefactor, proves not only anti-climactic but also somewhat absurd. What, you may justly ask, was all the fuss about? Although a huge box-office hit back in 1943, some commentators already then questioned the lack of true horror and the same complaint may be raised today. Happily, director Arthur Lubin and ace cameraman Hal Mohr manage to create quite a bit of excitement and atmosphere -- the opening tracking shot, serving to introduce the drama's main characters, remains as effective as Orson Welles' similar but much more famous tour-de-force in Touch of Evil (1957) -- and Universal's magnificent (and still standing) theater set never looked better. In other words, this version of Phantom of the Opera is more Grand Opera than Grand Guignol, a clear indication, in fact, that the confection was originally intended for the studio's popular songbird, Deanna Durbin.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/12/2005
UPC:
0025192076725
Original Release:
1943
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
26,542

Special Features

"The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked"; Feature commentary with film historian Scott MacQueen; Production photographs; Theatrical trailer; Cast and filmmakers; Production notes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nelson Eddy Anatole Garron
Susanna Foster Christine DuBois
Claude Rains Enrique Claudin
Edgar Barrier Raoul D'Aubert
Jane Farrar Biancarolli
Leo Carrillo Signor Feretti
Hume Cronyn Gerard
J. Edward Bromberg Amiot
Barbara Everest Aunt
Fritz Leiber Franz Liszt
Steven Geray Vercheres
Frank Puglia Villeneuve
Hans Herbert Marcel
Fritz Feld Lecours
Gladys Blake Jennie
Nicolle Andre Lorenzi
Richard Bartell Actor
Renee Carson Georgette Pleyel's Girl Friend
Wheaton Chambers Reporter
Lane Chandler Officer
Edward Clark Usher
Cyril Delevanti Bookkeeper
William Desmond Actor
Hank Mann Stagehand
Anthony Marlowe Martha Singer
Alphonse Martell Policeman
Belle Mitchell Feretti's Maid
James Mitchell Reporter
Beatrice Roberts Nurse
Muni Seroff Reporter
David Cross Dr. Lefours
Johnny Walsh Office Boy
Tudor Williams Actor
Marek Windheim Renfrit
Ernest Golm Office Manager
Elvira Curci Biancarolli's maid
Kate Lawson Landlady
Miles Mander Pleyel
Rosina Galli Christine's maid
Paul Marion Desjardines

Technical Credits
Arthur Lubin Director
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
John B. Goodman Art Director
W. Howard Greene Cinematographer
Samuel Hoffenstein Screenwriter
Hans Jacoby Screenwriter
John Jacolby Screenwriter
Hal Mohr Cinematographer
Jack P. Pierce Makeup
Russell Schoengarth Editor
Eric Taylor Screenwriter
George Waggner Score Composer,Producer
Edward Ward Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ira S. Webb Set Decoration/Design
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapter List
1. Main Titles [4:22]
2. Inspector D'Aubert [3:09]
3. Christine [2:57]
4. Monsieur Claudin [8:40]
5. Signor Ferretti [3:35]
6. The Music Publishers [3:20]
7. The Attack [3:56]
8. A Thief [2:33]
9. A Lullaby [3:06]
10. An Investigation [5:00]
11. The Phantom Touch [17:12]
12. In the Rigging [7:04]
13. Setting a Trap [9:40]
14. The Chandelier [3:38]
15. Abduction [5:07]
16. The Concerto [5:36]
17. Suitors [2:38]
18. End Titles [:53]

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