So a phantom walks into an opera house…..what do you mean you’ve heard this one before? Maybe you have, but you can hear it again. The opera house is putting on an opera about Joan of Arc. That guy that wrote this thing is a real jackass. Oh and the opera house is supposedly haunted by a phantom. Odd things start happening like sheet music being ripped, instruments being damaged and people being killed. I guess that last one is kind of major. It looks like someone doesn’t want the show to go on and the original lead female singer is scared off. A new girl is brought on for the lead and…
1)the producer befriends her
2)the play write tries to seduce her, fires her when she turns him down, but then has to rehire her
3)the phantom thinks she can be a great singer and wants to coach her in his crazed way
Back to the story. The phantom has a short lackey (?!) who does his killing for him. Eventually it’s revealed that the nasty play writers guy actually stole this script from the dude who became disfigured and turned into the phantom. The nasty guy gets chased off, the play goes on but the phantom gets accidently killed because he is the phantom and can have no joy. Roll the credits.
The negatives-The story goes that Cary Grant was originally interested in playing the phantom but he didn’t want to kill. This lead to writing in a dwarf henchman to do the killing. Grant supposedly read the script, decided not to do it, but the studio let that part in even after hiring Herbert Lom as the phantom. I add this because I think the henchdwarf does not help the movie at all. While the film has atmosphere it’s short on actually horror.
The positives-Despite a slightly troubles script this film does have a strong cast and they help it out a lot as does the whole look of the film (with the exception of the cheapo phantom mask).
This version isn’t nearly as good as the silent version with Chaney Sr.. However it is a little better than the opera heavy Universal version with Claude Reins as the phantom.