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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Phantom of the Opera (1962)

Hammer Horror puts its spin on the iconic story of The Phantom of the Opera.  As one would expect, the sets are huge and rich with detail.  Furthermore, Director Terence Fisher [House of Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein] knows his way around a horror film and gets nice performances out of the entire cast.  
The high spots in Phantom are the performances of Herbert Lom as the Phantom and Michael Gough as bad guy Lord Ambrose d'Arcy.  Lom's phantom is not as diabolical as  Chaney's original, but the scene where he rehearses Christine is great as he turns up the mean in order to help her reach her potential.  Michael Gough [Batman, Sleepy Hollow] is fabulous as d'Arcy.  He pretty much steals the show and takes change of every scene he's in.  
The weak spots include Heather Sears as Christine.  She's a "plain girl" and simply doesn't have the vulnerability, charisma or beauty Christine should possess.  A second weak spot is that the make up on the phantom is unforgivably bad.  He is not unmasked until the last scene and the results are not terrifying at all.  I believe I did better makeup as a teenager on Halloween night.
The final weak spot is that they have messed around with the story quite a bit.  I understand the choices they made and they work well in this film.  However, I prefer a meaner and more vengeful phantom than one who has a heart of gold.  Oh well.  All in all they did a good job with Phantom but it's not my favorite version of this story.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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