Pit violinist Claudin hopelessly loves rising operatic soprano Christine Dubois (as do baritone Anatole and police inspector Raoul) and secretly aids her career. But Claudin loses both his touch and his job, murders a rascally music publisher in a fit of madness, and has his face etched with acid. Soon, mysterious crimes plague the Paris Opera House, blamed on a legendary "phantom" whom none can find in the mazes and catacombs. But both of Christine's lovers have plans to ferret him out.
Running Time: 92 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
Universal Studios' elaborate and expensive remake of their classic 1925 silent horror film THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA boasts fabulous sets, gorgeous costumes, and stunning Technicolor photography--but fails in the horror department, because of an excess of music and low comedy. Draining much of the fear, suspense, and mystery out of the original Gaston Leroux material, this remake posits Enrique Claudin (Claude Rains)--the future "Phantom"--as a somewhat frail, middle-aged violinist with the Paris Opera who is in love from afar with Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster), a pretty and talented singer in the chorus. Although Christine doesn't even know the violinist exists, Enrique devotes his entire life to her, sacrificing his musical future just to make her happy. Universal spent $1.5 million on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and every dollar is on the screen. While the opera house set is the same one used in the original, many additional sets were constructed and dressed up with elaborate and expensive wares. Rains, who had just finished playing what would later become his best-remembered role--that of Capt. Louis Renault in CASABLANCA--managed to bring a sense of pathos and menace to the Phantom. The sparse and briefly seen makeup of the disfigured violinist is merely serviceable;wisely, no attempt was made to duplicate or surpass Lon Chaney's amazing visage in the original. While this version can be quite entertaining at times, it is frustrating that the horror elements are used merely as a plot device to propel the story along to the next elaborate opera scene--a structure that pleased neither horror fans nor opera buffs. PHANTOM OF THE OPERA won Oscars for Best Color Cinematography and Best Color Interior Decoration (John B. Goodman, Alexander Golitzen, R.A. Gausman, Ira S. Webb), receiving nominations for Best Sound Recording and Best Musical Score. (TV Guide)
CAST &CREW: Directed by:
Arthur Edmund Carewe
John St. Polis
Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture - Nominated
Best Sound, Recording - Nominated
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