Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 272: Phantom of the Opera (1962) - Rank 3/5


After a month-long hiatus of posting reviews (though not from viewing films), due to a deceased computer and knee injury, I shall endeavor to get caught up on my reviews with great haste, meaning I will struggle to be as concise as conceivably possible. Considering my circumlocutory ways, that might prove impractical though. Anyway, the Hammer studios production of the classic Gaston Leroux novel is a nice mix of the fanciful and the morbid (thanks to the expertise of Hammer veteran director, Terence Fisher), but it doesn't rival its predecessors. Well, namely, the 1942 Universal production starring Claude Rains.

Yes, the garish countenance of Lon Chaney Sr.'s role made the Phantom infamous, but Rains really generated sympathy for the character's plight. Herbert Lom dons the plaster mask opposite Michael Gough (who plays the opera-thieving, lecherous Lord D'Arcy) and while he executes the role well, he lacks the power of "presence" that Chaney or Rains commanded. This might be due to the script, which reduces the film's climax to a more altruistic end for the Phantom. The dash of treacle does not do this permutation any good in my mind, but it's still hard to dislike the film, simply because the source material is so good. Though I suppose the same could be argued that such is the case with Charles Dickens' immortal "A Christmas Carol," but that's not going to sway me to sit through two hours of 3-D, Carrey hijinks.

Watch the Trailer

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