The Phantom of the Opera Reviews
There's also Patrick Troughton as the rat catcher: "They make a luvverly pie, y'know..." Who's own little cameo is cut drastically short by a knife in the eye.
Herbert Lom, however, might as well not be in it. His Phantom is pretty lacklustre, skulking in shadows and letting an evil dwarf do all the dirty work. Apparently, Cary Grant was interested in the role originally (how bizarre would that have been?), his squeaky clean image necessitating the writing-in of someone to actually do the murders for him. But in the end he pulled out. Tosser.
The plot of the film actually follows more of the Claude Raines version with hammer also talking liberal changes to the story, which is of course fine by this fan! We open with a popular play being rehearsed (overseen by corrupt play writer Michael Gough) only for the play to be plagued my a mysterious "accidents" and deaths. It seems that a masked lunatic is causing all the ruckus (played by Herbert Lom). Thanks to a flashback sequence we see that Herbert Lom spent years of his life writing an opera and when trying to sell his story to a publisher (Gough), the publisher in turns prints the story taking all the credit for himself. Lom finds this out and breaks into the printing mill in order to destroy all the copies but accidentally sets himself on fire in the process. He then becomes known as "The Phantom", masking his burned face and living in the sewers below the opera, Lom takes his revenge on Gough by sabotaging his play. His revenge is going as planned until he falls for a young opera song who he is bound determined to train to give his play all its worth.
Hammer did a decent job with adaption especially by hiring seasoned Hammer director Terence Fischer to helm the project. He makes this adaption less pondering than other ones and also spices up the film with some atmospheric shots. Michael Gough and Herbert Lom are also good replacements for Hammer regulars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and their strong acting brings this familiar story up a couple of notches. The one aspect I couldn't help but be disappointed in the character of the Phantom. The character of the Phantom is more of pity and sympathy rather than horror. His character just really lacked the driving revenge I craved. Sure have the character sympathetic but give him a psychotic, dangerous edge! If some asshole stole my play and I became disfigured in the process, I would lose my mind and set out to take that fucker down! A simple mask isn't enough to make his character "horror". This horror lacking villain made me come out of this film a little disappointed despite the film having top notch production values and cast.
Overall a decent Hammer film but hardly top tear horror material from the company. As a sympathetic atmospheric drama it's good but it really lakes that good horror aspect that great Hammer films supply. If the Phantom character was a little more fleshed out and had more of a psychotic edge to him this film would have been one of Hammer's best!
Aussi, son adaptation du roman de Leroux n'est pas autant un film d'horreur comme le fut la cĂ©lĂ¨bre adaptation de Lon Chaney en 1925 (qui en demeure, selon moi, la meilleure!), qu'un mĂ©lodrame humain. Le vĂ©ritable monstre, dans l'adaptation de Fisher n'est pas le fantĂ´me, c'est Ambrose D'arcy (jouĂ© avec beaucoup de panache par Micheal "Alfred" Gough), exemple parfait de tout ce qu'il y a de plus vile en l'ĂŞtre humain. Il y en a toujours un comme cela dans les films de Fisher.
Comme toujours dans les films de la Hammer, un des points forts demeure les superbes dĂ©cors mi-gothique, mi-rococo, qui rappelle au spectateur que le film se dĂ©roule dans un univers qui n'appartient qu'Ă lui.
Avec Phantom, Fisher poursuit ce qu'il avait commencĂ© avec Curse of the Werewolf: utiliser le mĂ©dium de l'horreur pour explorer l'Ă˘me humaine... Ă? la fois superbe et divertissant.