Paul Williams is Swan.
This is where things diverge greatly from the original story as Winslow Leech’s Phantom isn’t all that monstrous, when confronted by Swan he cowers before him and eventually agrees to write more music for him as long as they are only sung by the beautiful ingénue Phoenix (Jessica Harper). Winslow signs a contract with Swan and of course he is forced to sign it in blood.
No one reads the fine print.
Things do not go according to plan.
This movie has everything; great songs, an excellent cast and a story that has you routing for Winslow but also mesmerized by Swan. Paul Williams is just chilling as the Faustian Swan, with equal parts charismatic star power and evil seducer of the innocent, he pretty much steals the movie from the title character. This film also does a great job of poking fun at the industry, showing how original art isn’t always appreciated until it’s been sampled and turned into something more palatable for the public.
Case in point: The Juicy Fruits.
Rock on, Beef!
On its initial release back in 1974 it failed to catch the public’s eye, it was only received well in two cities; Winnipeg and Paris, but it has since garnered a rather large cult following. This film certainly isn’t for everyone as it is whimsically weird at times, but that is why I love it.