Fascinating silent film starring Lon Chaney in the title role as the tragic disfigured Erik who haunts the corridors and the cellars of the Paris opera house. He secretly befriends and coaches a beautiful young woman named Christine, and drives the leading lady in the play to flee her role, allowing his new protege to take her place. Complications arise when the phantom decides to take her to his subterranean lair in order to confess his true feelings and becomes convinced that Christine will return his love in spite of his horrible disfigurement. Remade countless of times, this first adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel is definitely the best, with Chaney in top form as Erik the phantom (he even designed his own makeup!). Several sequences were shot in early color processes, but only the Bal Masque scene is still available (and it looks wonderful). Lon Chaney was nicknamed “The Man of a Thousand Faces”, and he often played tortured and disfigured characters (he played Quasimodo in the 1923 version of “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame”). But what really sends shiver down one’s spine is this following piece of trivia: “Inside sound stage 28, part of the opera house set continues to stand to the side where it was filmed some eight decades ago making it the oldest standing interior film set in the world. Though it remains impressive, time has taken its toll and it is very rarely used. Urban legends claim the set remains because when workers have attempted to take it down in the past there have been fatal accidents, said to be caused by the ghost of Lon Chaney Sr.”! Wow!
Seems interesting, I’ve read the book a long time ago and I loved it so much. Can movies that old be found nowadays??
Now more than ever. I have this one on DVD. It’s a classic!