Friday, September 26, 2014

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA / Universal Pictures - 1925

It's Classic Monster Friday with Tabonga, here at The Dungeon!.. We still have a nice pile of pre-fifties titles to post, like this awesome silent film starring the great Lon Chaney. One interesting behind the scenes story involves Chief Cinematographer, Charles Van Enger. In full makeup, Lon Chaney summoned him to his dressing room without telling him why, then, when he was standing closely behind the actor, Lon quickly spun around! Shocked, Van Enger fell back over a stool and landed flat on his back and yelled, "Are you NUTS?!" Chaney laughed, spit out his fake teeth and said... "Never mind Charlie, you already told me what I wanted to know." Also, Mary Philbin's reaction to the unmasked Phantom was real, she had no idea what he would look like until that exact moment! Now, that's what I call, fun.

Here's The Phantom and the makeup genius himself, Lon Chaney. His son Creighton would follow in his footsteps and eventually assume his father's famous name.

Hiding in the shadows, The Phantom seems to haunt the opera house!

In this scene, The Phantom pays a visit dressed as Death, creeping the Hell out of everyone!

He lures Christine to his lair in the catacombs in order to train her for the lead role of Marguerite in the production of FAUST.

I love this shot, showing what good lighting can do for a terrifying looking character.

And, this shot! Wow, the the movie audience must have crapped their pants back in 1925!!

Here are issues #3 and #16 of FAMOUS MONSTERS featuring amazing illustrations of The Phantom, bottom cover done by the fantastic artist, Basil Gogos.

Here's the box art for The Phantom by Aroura models back in the mid sixties.

This is a scene from the 1957 movie MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES starring James Cagney as The Phantom, another one I was lucky enough to see when it came out.

So, who remembers this excellent version of The Phantom?.. I do! There's a big mystery surrounding this photo, no one knows anything about where it came from! After studying it, I have concluded that it is not a mask, rather, an excellent makeup job.

The photo was used for this very nice cover of Charlton's HORROR MONSTERS #7 from 1963.

It was one of six 8x10 Universal monster photos offered by Charlton and was substituted for Lon's version! I will be doing THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME starring Lon Chaney on Monday, so, check back for that one.

And, by the way, today is my mom's 91st birthday - Happy Birthday, mommy dearest!!


Randy Landers said...

What terrific memories I have of seeing this film. My mom took me to see it at the Jerry Lewis Hilltop Cinema in Mableton, and apparently a lot of other moms did the same thing. The place was packed with kids and their parents. Chilling reveal!

Greg Goodsell said...

Carla Laemmle, the last surviving cast member of this film, died earlier this year. She was 104.

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