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The Phantom of the Opera

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Original title
The Phantom of the Opera
Running time
84 min.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Anthony Hinds (Novel: Gaston Leroux)
Edwin Astley
Arthur Grant
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Universal Pictures presents a Hammer Films production
Horror | Opera
Movie Groups
The Phantom of the Opera
Synopsis / Plot
Hammer's version of the Phantom starts right in with odd happenings at the opera like missing music, destroyed instruments and stories of ghosts. On opening night of the opera (which is about Joan of Arc) a man is hanged and the star singer leaves because of it. The opera's producer and the house manager try to find a replacement and deal with the opera's obnoxious creator who tries to control every step of the opera. A young women named Christine is picked for the starring role, but the Phantom hears her and takes her away to his underground lair. This is the finest version of the Phantom because the Chaney version offers a strong performance for the phantom, but the story strays and becomes very awkward at times. The Universal version offers a fine phantom played by Claude Rains, but gets bogged down by too much singing and it takes the film nearly half an hour to really get going. This version jumps right into the story and never slows down, the interest level is high throughout the film and the the pace is consistent. Herbert Lom offers a more low key, almost sympathetic phantom. Michel Gough deserves mention for a great job as the overbearing Lord Ambrose D'Arcy. The Phantom did not really need an assistant and he never professes his love for Christine as much as he does just for the musical ability she has. This is still a fine film for Hammer and the best Phantom to date.
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