Horror on the Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)


Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013, 2015, and 2106 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second (or fourth) time.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.

Halloween Havoc!: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Universal 1943)


cracked rear viewer

Universal’s 1943 remake of the 1925 Lon Chaney Sr. classic THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is definitely an ‘A’ movie in every way. A lavish Technicolor production with an ‘A’ list cast (Claude Rains, Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster) and opulent sets (including the Opera House interiors built for the ’25 silent), it’s the only Universal Horror to win an Oscar – actually two, for Art Direction and Cinematography. Yet I didn’t really like it the first time I saw it. It’s only through repeated viewings I’ve softened my stance and learned to appreciate the film.

Claude Rains’s performance in particular has made me a convert. As Erique Claudin, he’s a sympathetic figure, and one can’t help but feel sorry for him. When he’s let go from the orchestra by the maestro, after twenty long years as a violinist, his arthritis causing his playing to become subpar, I felt pity for…

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Horror Scenes That I Love: Mary Philbin unmasks Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera!


Today’s horror scene that I love comes from the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera.

In this famous scene, which was directed by Rupert Julian, Mary Philbin unmasks the Phantom (played, of course, by Lon Chaney).  Both of their reactions are justifiably famous.

I have read that Philbin was apparently not told what Chaney would look like when she removed the mask, which contributed to her state of shock.  I don’t know if that’s true but I hope it is.  It’s certainly a good story.

Was this horror cinema’s first “jump scare?”

Horror on the Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)


The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)

Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013 and 2o15 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second time.  Add to that, the original video that I embedded has been taken off of YouTube.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.

4 Shots From Horror History: The Phantom of the Opera, Faust, London After Midnight, The Fall of the House of Usher


This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at the latter half of the 1920s.

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Phantom of the Opera (1925, dir by Rupert Julian)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925, dir by Rupert Julian)

Faust (1926, dir by F.W. Murnau)

Faust (1926, dir by F.W. Murnau)

London After Midnight (1927, dir by Tod Browning)

London After Midnight (1927, dir by Tod Browning)

The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, dir by Jean Epstein)

The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, dir by Jean Epstein)

Horror on the Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)


The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)

Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second time.  Add to that, the original video that I embedded has been taken off of YouTube.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.

Scenes I Love: The Phantom of the Opera (Part 3)


Point of No Return

It’s time to finish off my triptych of Scenes I Love from 2004’s film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. The first two parts were my favorite solo and chorus scenes from film and now we finish it off with what has to be the top scene (IMO) from the film.

The characters of The Phantom and Christine have always been the focal point of the film. Even with the arrival of the wholesome and (as Lisa Marie would call him) vanilla Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, the film continues to truly sizzle when it’s all about The Phantom and Christine moving their relationship from ingenue and mentor to unrequited lovers.

It’s the latter which this scene looks to portray through a duet written by The Phantom himself and where he swaps himself into the role of Don Juan. This duet has always been a fan favorite for those who love the musical and many different versions of it have played throughout the years. Yet, they all have one thing in common and that is the heated chemistry between the two characters once the duet begins.

The scene itself begins and comes off pretty much like foreplay between the two characters without having literal sex on the stage. The whole scene is so sexually charged that even those watching the duet who set the trap looked so transfixed that they fail to act. Even Raoul, Christine’s own fiance, finishes the scene with such a look of cuckold expression once he realizes that he could never have such a deep and personal connection that Christine has with The Phantom.

For me, this duet pretty much sums up what the whole is all about.