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  Lon Chaney.
Photograph: courtesy UCLA Film and Television Archive.
 
 
The Phantom of the Opera
(1925) American
Color/B&W : Ten reels / 9200 feet
Directed by Rupert Julian + [Edward Sedgwick]

Cast: Lon Chaney [Erik, the Phantom], Mary Philbin [Christine Daaé], Norman Kerry [Vicomte Raoul de Chagny], Arthur Edmund Carewe [Inspector Ledoux], Gibson Gowland [Simon Buquet], John Sainpolis [Comte Philippe de Chagny], Snitz Edwards [Florine Papillon], Virginia Pearson [Carlotta]; Bruce Covington [M. Moncharmin, bearded Paris Opera owner], George B. Williams [M. Ricard, moustached Paris Opera owner], Bernard Siegel [Joseph Buquet], Cesare Gravina [the former Paris Opera owner], William Humphrey [the moustached former Paris Opera owner], Edith Yorke [Mama Valerius], Anton Vaverka [the prompter], Olive Ann Alcorn [La Sorelli, a dancer], John Miljan [Valentin], Edward Cecil [the singer portraying Faust], Alexander Bevani [the singer portraying Mephistopheles], Grace Marvin [the singer portraying Martha], Madame Fiorenza [the attendant at Box Five], William Tyroler [the orchestra conductor], Ed Wolff [mob extra], Rebecca Laemmle (Carla Laemmle) [a prima ballerina (1929 version)], Mary Fabian [Carlotta (1929 version)], Fay Holderness [Carlotta’s mother (1929 version)], Edward Martindel [Philippe de Chagny (1929 version)], Ward Crane [Count Ruboff (edited from final release)], Chester Conklin [orderly (edited from final release)]

Universal Pictures Corporation production; distributed by Universal Pictures Corporation [Universal-Jewel]. / Produced by Carl Laemmle. Scenario by Raymond L. Schrock and Elliott J. Clawson, from the novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera) by Gaston Leroux. Art direction by E.E. Sheeley and Sidney Ullman. Set design by Ben Carré. Set construction supervision by Archie Hall. Assistant director, Robert Ross. Cinematography by Virgil Miller, with additional photography by Milton Bridenbecker and Charles van Enger. Technicolor photography technician, Howard Estabrook. Intertitles by Tom Reed + [Walter Anthony]. Edited by Maurice Pivar. Presented by Carl Laemmle. / © 1 August 1925 by Universal Pictures Corporation [LP21689]. Previewed January 1925 in Los Angeles, California. World premiere, April 1925 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, California. Premiered 6 September 1925 at the Astor Theatre in New York, New York. General release, 15 November 1925. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. Technicolor two-strip color process sequence. Color-tinted and color-toned. / The film’s art direction and set design is often erroneously credited to Charles D. Hall. In the original ending, the phantom died at his pipe organ of a broken heart. Charles van Enger stated in 1973 that, in addition to the Bal Masque sequence, the Faust scenes were also shot in Technicolor. After the January 1925 preview, Chester Conklin was brought in to add comic relief to the film, additional scenes were shot and edited into the April 1925 world premiere version; the scenes were later removed before the film was shipped for general release. For the general release of the film, scenes with Miljan were edited out as were some scenes with Sainpolis. Additional scenes were directed by Sedgwick, including a new mob chase ending. Sedgwick also supervised the reediting of the film. Scenes with Ward Crane were also edited out before release. The film’s production costs were $632,357. This was Chaney’s last film for Universal. The film was reedited and rereleased at 8382 feet on 15 December 1929 by Universal Pictures Corporation, with added Western Electric Vitaphone sound-on-disc sound system talking sequences, ballet and operatic sections. The new sound sequences were directed by Ernst Laemmle, featuring dialogue by Frank McCormack. Sound recording by C. Roy Hunter. Edward Martindel replaced Sainpolis as Philippe, Mary Fabian replaced Pearson as Carlotta and Fay Holderness became Carlotta’s mother in new full-sound scenes shot for the 1929 reissue. Pearson became Carlotta’s mother through reediting and retitling in the 1930 international version.

Drama: Gothic horror.

Synopsis: Synopsis available in AFI-F2 n. F2.4230.

Survival status: Prints exist of the original 1925 release version [16mm reduction positive], and of the reedited 1929 silent reissue version [35mm positive, plus some of the Vitaphone soundtrack disks]; also in the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House film archive [35mm positive (struck 1950), plus 35mm Technicolor footage]; in the UCLA Film and Television Archive fim archive; the Library of Congress film archive; in the Museum of Modern Art film archive; in the film holdings of Cohen Media Group (Raymond Rohauer collection) [16mm reduction positive]; in the film holdings of Film Preservation Associates; and in private film collections [16mm reduction positives].

Current rights holder: (unknown)

Keywords: Boats - Color cinematography - Costume balls - Crime: Murder - France: Paris - Horror - Law: Enforcement: Police: Detectives - Masks - Opera - Opera singers - Rope - Shadows - Theaters - Water

Listing updated: 26 October 2014.

References: Film credits, film viewing : AFI-F2 nn. F2.4230, F2.4231; Aylesworth-Movie pp. 67, 76; Ball-Shakespeare pp. 354, 389; Bardèche-History p. 383; Basten-Technicolor p. 169; Bohn-Light pp. xxiii, 97; Cary-Hollywood p. 47; Dardis-Keaton p. 162; Edmonds-BigU pp. 69, 83, 136-137, 138, 139, 149; Everson-American pp. 136, 220, 290, 310l; Everson-Detective p. 31; Fell-History p. 86; FilmDaily-1926 pp. 31, 51; Higashi-Virgins pp. 81, 86; Hirschhorn-Universal pp. 14, 15, 48, 140; Kael-Kiss pp. 330-331; Kerr-Silent p. 37; Keylin-NYTimes p. 158; Lahue-Collecting pp. 27, 29, 50; Leish-Cinema p. 58; Limbacher-Feature p. 188; Maltin-Guide p. 980; Manchel-Terrors pp. 47-50, 56-57, 76; Marrero-Vintage pp. 4, 6, 21, 22, 24, 25, 30, 90, 159; McCaffrey-Guide p. 5; Shipman-Cinema p. 89; Smith-Colman p. 300; Steinbrunner-Encyclopedia p. 245; Sweeney-Coming pp. 78, 89; Vermilye-Twenties pp. 121-125; Weaver-Twenty p. 77; Webb-Hollywood pp. 93, 98, 99 : ClasIm-279 p. 45; Vitaphone-1-4 : Website-GEH; Website-NFPF.

Home video: DVD.

 
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