Phantom of the Opera
Directed by Arthur Lubin. US. 1943. NR. 92 minutes. Universal. 35mm.
Sun., April 14, 2013
As everyone knows, no-one could match the immortal Lon Chaneys horrifying portrayal of the mysterious Phantom in the silent version of this Gaston Leroux story. So, instead of trying to top it for mystery, Universal Studios concentrated on adding colorful spectacle, an engaging back-story and beautiful music, and provided Claude Rains with one of his most fascinating roles. Rains plays up the pathos, and the menace, of the love- lorn but sadly disfigured Phantom, and creates another tour de force of understated terror. Using many of the magnificent original sets created for the silent version (including, and especially, the Paris Opera House), but adding stunning Technicolor photography, beautiful costumes and a sumptuous musical score, it is no wonder that this film won Academy Awards for its Cinematography and Art Direction (and nominations for its Score and Sound Design). Join us and see this classic in all its visual glory, as it was meant to be seen, on the Colonials really big screen. (Bill Roth)