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Monday, October 8, 2012

Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Phantom of the Opera (1943) is the last film in the Universal Classic Monster Collection and there are two noteworthy things about it 1) It was filmed in technicolor and 2) It isn't very good. Now I usually enjoy Claude Rains in anything he's in but in this case I'd wish they'd cast someone else, he plays the sympathetic Claudin, who is secretly in love with Christine, quite well but his turn as The Phantom is kind of bland. Worse is the fact that Rains refused to put on any elaborate make-ups so The Phantom in this outing just has some burn scars on about half his face that is only slightly more impressive than the make-up used by Gerard Butler in the 2004 version. Not quite on par with the living skull that the original Lon Chaney gave us. But for me what really hurts the film is the horrible pacing of the story as it is constantly brought to a halt so we can watch Nelson Eddy and Susannah Foster belt out opera numbers. This movie isn't a musical so the numbers have no bearing on the story they are just there to showcase the two leads singing talents which are impressive if you are a fan of opera. The Phantom of the Opera is also notable as to be the only Universal Monster to not spawn sequels, it's been remade numerous times but we were never treated to The Wolf Man Meets the Phantom of the Opera.

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