News
Top News

Phantom of the Paradise DVD review – Philip French on a garish cult thriller

(Brian De Palma, 15, Arrow, 1974)

In 1974, after a decade making low-budget, semi-underground movies, Brian De Palma thought he was about to enter the big time when 20th Century Fox paid $2m for this wild satire on indulgent rock musicians and the corrupt industry that exploited them. Basically it's a transposition of The Phantom of the Opera to the modern pop world, where an evil impresario, Swan (the diminutive, baby-faced composer Paul Williams,, who also wrote the songs), steals a pretentious rock cantata from Winslow Leach, its naive author, and frames him on drugs charge.

After he's been disfigured by a record-pressing machine, Winslow returns to seek revenge by haunting Swan's theatre, the Paradise. The piece also draws on Goethe's Faust, Wilde's Dorian Gray and Edgar Allan Poe, and refers to movies ranging from Psycho (the shower scene is reprised using a plunger) and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

But De Palma

See full article on The Guardian - Film News