Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Phantom Of The Opera Switchblade Symphony (1925)

You know she actually doesn't get curious as to what he looks like until he TELLS her not to look. Damned forbidden fruit!

Silent (to Darkwave Music) Drama Horror

Starring: Lon Chaney (The Unknown; The Penalty), Mary Philbin (The Man Who Laughs)

Directed By: Rupert Julian

Overview: Beneath the Paris Opera house, there lurks a disfigured man. His devotion to one of the singers drives him to become her mentor, but will she accept?

Acting: If you've been following this site lately, you'll know that I'm still deep into the era of melodrama. Yes, silent film invites it, but in some cases, the actors and directors pull it off superbly. This is one of those films, the kind where you'll see a clip in a music video because everyone recognizes the classic feel of the horrified screaming woman just before she swoons. Oh, it's good.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The costumes, the underground, those enormous skulls, the backgrounds and the masquerade ball, people with torches running down the streets. My guest (who I must say seems to be fast-tracking on the film appreciation bandwagon) pointed out how great the sets were. I agree wholeheartedly.
Rating: 9

Script: The dialogue was rich as well. I liked that there was appropriate use of note-passing, that the words on the screen weren't simply pasted on a template for us to read. Different handwriting and different backgrounds ensured the mood, whereas the dialogue itself told the story rather well.
Rating: 8

Plot: This story started off great! The new owners of the theater hear about the mysterious Phantom, ballerinas explore the underground, a woman follows her dream of being a star, but at the cost of being mentored by a freak. She looks at him, loses it, then the movie kind of fell apart. It stopped being so exciting as it had been in the start. It's still a great story though.
Rating: 7

Mood: So unfortunately, this seemed more like a gimmick for the band Switchblade Symphony to get some more marketing, rather than a genuine effort at making a good modern Gothic / Darkwave soundtrack for a movie that really could have made it work. Disappointing, distracting, and WHY VOCALS in a silent film? I'm READING HERE. Besides that the mood was really good. What else horrific monsters spying from the foot of a statue of angels? Wow.
Rating: 6

No Seriously, all he needed was a little elastic on the mask, and none of this would have happened!

Overall Rating: 76% (Classic Film Ruined By A Switchblade In Its Back)

Aftertaste: They should make an updated soundtrack for Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Something Industrial and Gothic but not STUPID like this went. I've said that for years, and since I recently saw the thing, the music they DO use repeats over and over. Not very good. This is a great ideas and more people should get on it. Silent film needs a revival. People are doing all these terrible remakes out of classic films like Pink Panther and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Sidney Poitier would turn in his grave... if he were dead. Anyways, it's a good idea but in this case, terribly executed.