Phantom of the Opera (1943)
A disfigured violinst haunts the Paris Opera house, hell-bent on making a star of the protege he is madly in love with….
A lavish technicolor production which is visually striking and aesthetically pleasing. Claude Rains gives a spirited yet sympathetic performance as the phantom and Susanna Foster does a reasonable job as the object of the phantom’s wicked obession. However, as compared with other takes on this classic tale, there is a genuine lack of romance between our leads which is perhaps due to the age-difference between Rains and Foster.
The film suffers from tedious and overlong operatic scenes which bludgeon the effective pacing of the movie. There is also an uneasy attempt to introduce comedy into the proceedings with the double act of Nelson Eddy and Edgar Barrier as a pair of would-be suitors to Foster’s stunning opera singer. Such stabs at comedy are neither warranted nor effective. Add to this some hilariously unexplained plot elements – like how the hell our middle-aged and hardly fit phantom managed to get a grand piano into the depths of the Paris sewer-system…. – and you finish the movie feeling rather disappointed.
In a nutshell, this is an over-rated movie which has savagely aged with the passage of time. The appearance of Rains and the lush colour on display heighten this just above a poor rating.
hotdog rating: 5/10