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  • Each "Phantom of the Opera" deviates somewhat from the Leroux novel - with the original silent film with Lon Chaney perhaps being the exception. In the '40s Nelson Eddy version, the police chief and an operatic baritone are Christine's suitors instead of Raoul (though the baritone is named Raoul) and it's hinted that the Phantom is her father. His acid in the face was the result of a misunderstanding at the music publisher's.

    In this particular "Phantom," from Hammer Studios, the Phantom (Herbert Lom) has an Igor-type assistant, and here Christine's suitor is the manager of the opera house (Edward de Souza). There is also a real villain, a plagiarist in the form of Lord d'Arcy (Michael Gough). Most notably, it has a production of "Joan of Arc" with music written by Edwin T. Astley that is actually very pretty and beautifully sung.

    Everyone does a terrific job in this - Gough is hateful as the supposed composer of the opera; de Souza is a hunk and a good romantic interest for Christine; and Heather Sears as Christine is very sweet and, like all Christines, lacking the diva quality her rival has. In this film, the rival singer is a very minor role. The dubbing of the voices is wonderful.

    Herbert Lom, normally a comic character in the "Pink Panther" series, is a great phantom, performed at a time when the Phantom didn't have to be better-looking than the ingénue. The Phantom is not a huge role in this film, but an effective and highly sympathetic one. He seems a little less nuts than some of them, though he's clearly not completely there.

    The final scene of this film is very exciting, and the final picture very powerful and sad. This is a really excellent version with not much emphasis on the horror aspects of the Chaney film. It has good production values and is very well directed.
  • The novel The Phantom of the Opera has been filmed at least ten times plus now. This entry by Hammer Studios is one of the better ones, bringing a liberal change in storytelling as well as some very atmospheric settings and camera work. Directed by Terence Fisher, this film, like Fisher's The Gorgon, is highly poetic. The phantom is a former music professor who has been pushed into his life of seclusion and physical deformity. He is a figure of sympathetic pity rather than horror. It is this point of view which makes this film very interesting as the phantom is not the monster but rather just a man who has been mistreated trying to cope and resurrect his life. Yep, he still lives in the sewers of Paris. The Hammer sets are wonderful all around, particularly the opera house and the winding underground sewers. Hammer also puts their stamp of luxuriant looking cinematography on. Herbert Lom plays the man behind the mask. Lom does a nice job in the film as do all the leads. Heather Sears is a striking heroine, and Edward Da Souza makes an affable leading man. The real star, apart from Fisher's direction, is Michael Gough. Boy, can this man play a mean individual. Gough's screen time is magic as he malevolently belittles everyone around him, steals things that are not his, and lewdly leers at anything in a skirt! The film also boasts some fine staged opera numbers and a beautiful soundtrack. Many scenes show Fisher's competence and ability to create lush moods whilst being able to provide good storytelling.

    A fine Phantom edition.
  • This is the Phantom that scared the heck out of me when I was a kid, and comes in second after the classic Lon Chaney version. It is the only color version that really works, here given that garish, over-the-top gothic treatment that worked so well for Hammer Studios. It doesn't have the ponderous, plodding feel of the book or other versions, and follows through with a scary shot-in-the-arm or two. More complete video stores should have this on the shelf.
  • phantom11031 October 2001
    Though this version strays quite far from the book, it was still very good. Herbert Lom and Micheal Gough are excellent in this film, and the Dwarf was an odd, but fun twist. I didn't think that Miss Sears was right for Christine, but she did well none the less. All in all, pretty scary for the time and a good watch. I suggest it be watched, provided of course you can find it.
  • Boba_Fett11387 September 2003
    This version of "The Phantom of the Opera" is very different from the original and others. But fantastic nevertheless.

    The movie is approached differently compared to other versions, not only the story is different but also the characters. Especially The Phantom has become a bit of a different person. Personally I like this approach, it's up to you which approach you personally like the best.

    The typical Terence Fisher directing is very notable and he gives the movie a typical atmosphere. This movie is definitely one of Fisher's and the Hammer studio's best, even though the movie is now days a bit outdated of course. A surprising thing was the amount of humor used in this movie. It fitted the movie surprisingly well and worked out just great.

    The most fantastic thing is the cast. Herbert Lom plays as The Phantom a more of a tragic villain. Michael Gough as Lord Ambrose d'Arcy plays the real main villain of the movie and he is simply brilliant in his role! He really steals the show in this one. The rest of the cast also pulls of quite well.

    Alas there are some flaws and the movie is simply too much outdated to can be considered a masterpiece. But the movie serves its purpose and looks visually great with excellent performances from the cast and a nice finale.

    9/10

    http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
  • In this version of The Phantom Of The Opera, the hideous phantom lurks in the sewers and catacombs of London instead of Paris. And in this third version bits of a real opera by British composer Edwin Astley highlight the musical portion of the film. That's important because in this telling of the tale, the phantom has a singular interest in this particular work.

    Stepping into the shoes of Lon Chaney and Claude Rains is Herbert Lom. Because this film is done in flashback Lom is given less of a chance to create his character in the way his predecessors did. Still Lom as he did in Night And The City manages to get across both the poignancy and the evil that he's sunk to. I would also compare his characterization of Professor Petri here with what he did in Flame Over India where he got across sympathy for a character who was a terrorist.

    The truly evil one here is Michael Gough who is a classic Victorian rakehell whom if he were slightly of better character and given to a bit of introspection, we could hear some Oscar Wilde aphorisms coming out of his mouth. But his Lord D'Arcy hasn't got any redeeming features whatsover. Kind of like Liberty Valance which also came out in 1962.

    The young lovers here are producer Edward DeSouza and Heather Sears the singer that Lom takes an interest in. I looked to see who might have dubbed Sears for the opera sequences and found no credit. If she did it herself, truly remarkable and why didn't that part of her talent be better known.

    I saw an edited version of this on YouTube and I'm convinced they involved the end of some characters in a ghastly fashion. I'd like to see a director's cut if possible.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Considering they had already successfully reprocessed the three most legendary horror tales by the time the 1950's were over (Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy), it's was pretty much inevitable that the British Hammer Studios would also attempt at making their own version of "The Phantom of the Opera". Personally, I was a little more skeptical about this idea at first because, unlike the aforementioned stories, Gaston Leroux' classy novel does NOT revolve on shocks or gruesome images as much. Hammer is great but, let's face it, subtlety and elegance aren't exactly their biggest trumps and those characteristics happen to be fundamental when you're bringing a tale about murder & mystery in an opera house. Well anyway, I love it when my assumptions are wrong! Hammer's Phantom is a truly masterful film, extraordinary stylish and benefiting from some of the most enchanting film sets in the history of British cinema. Scriptwriter Anthony Hinds slightly altered the original storyline without really detracting the merits of Leroux' original tale. The story is set in England to start with, but that doesn't really matter. More noticeable is the portrayal of the phantom's persona, as he's quite an emotional weakling here and not even committing the vilest of the crimes himself. The real villain in this version is the obnoxious opera owner Lord Ambrose D'Arcy, played by the brilliant and still vastly underrated Michael Gough. Lord D'Arcy is getting praise and credit for an opera he didn't write himself. The real artist is the poor professor Petrie, who supposedly died in a fire but lives on beneath the opera house, hiding his mutilated face behind a mask. His life mission is to ruin all the recitals for his Joan of Arc piece, but when the talented Christine Charles becomes the new lead singer, his plans change and he wants her to make it the mesmerizing opera it was intended to be. The script may not be entirely flawless (all the wrong people are punished!) and the grand finale is kind of a letdown, but the beauty of this whole production really compensates for everything! Terence Fisher' directing is accomplished as always, the decors are often breathtaking and the music occasionally even sent cold shivers down my spine. And that does not happen frequently, believe me. Herbert Lom may not be as charismatic as Lon Chaney, but his phantom performance is still very convincing. "The Phantom of the Opera" is perhaps Hammer's 'tamest' horror movie when it comes to eerie images and violence, but it's another vintage classic and highly recommend to anyone who appreciates good storytelling.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Phantom of the Opera (1963): Herbert Lom, Heather Sears, Michael Gough, Edward De Souza, Ian Wilson, Liane Aukin, Thorley Walters, Marne Maitland, John Harvey, Miriam Karlin, Martin Miller, Harold Goodwin, Sonya Cordeau, Leila Forde, Miles Malleson, Renee Houston, Patrick Troughton, Laurie Main, John Maddison, Geoffrey L'Oise, Liam Redmond...Director Terence Fisher...Screenplay Anthony Hinds.

    This is a Hammer horror film production directed by Terence Fisher and released in 1962. French author Gaston Leroux's 1911 novel "Phantom of the Opera" has been made for film and television for years, each version being completely different from the other, none of them faithful to Leroux's original novel. The most famous and closest to the novel is legendary Lon Cheney's silent film from 1926. In this version, Herbert Lom portrays the Phantom and Heather Sears portrays Christine. Following the plot to the 1943 Phantom with Claude Rains and Susanna Foster, the Phantom was once a normal-looking man, a resident of London. He is an obscure and aspiring composer, a music professor named Petrie who makes a deal with the licentious and wicked Lord Ambrose D'Arcy (Michael Gough)to whom he sells his compositions for publication. But Lord Ambrose takes the credit for writing the works, including an opera, Saint Joan of Arc, which triggers the fury of Professor Petrie. He breaks into the publishing building and sets it on fire, only to scar himself in the process. His face becomes deformed and he seeks shelter from the world by living beneath the Opera house. The opera "Joan Of Arc" premieres but it's a disastrous night after a stagehand is killed by a mysterious force. Although the opera company speaks of a resident ghost, the heroic and curious Harry Hunter (Edward De Souza) investigates who this Phantom really is. Things are further complicated when the Phantom abducts the bright new star, Christine Charles, whom he holds in thrall. His desire: to make her into the world's greatest soprano. Phantom fans will be pleased with the little familiar elements that are part of the Phantom legend: the death of a stagehand by hanging, an arrogant diva whose brief limelight is soon replaced by Christine, the Phantom's abduction of Christine and his role as her vocal coach, the masked Phantom playing the organ in the dark depths of the opera house by a lake, and a chandelier that falls. But quite frankly, these things, which although true to the novel, are not put together in faithfulness. Spoilers: The death of the stagehand happens far too soon and the Phantom has a hunchback, dwarf assistant who is a totally made-up character for the film (played by Ian Wilson of My Fair Lady). The story is not set in Paris but in London. The chandelier which famously falls around the middle of the story, falls toward the end and even crushes the Phantom who unmasks himself (Christine never unmasks him) who leaps to save Christine. Everything is therefore actually inaccurate to the novel and the Lon Cheney version, which subsequent versions have always aspired to resemble. The best parts of the film lie in the color and cinematography. The Hammer film series were done in gorgeous and innovative color and cinematic style. The look of this film is as lovely as the 1943 Claude Rains version. Beautiful and period-correct costumes, fine theatrical interior scenes and the original music by Edwin Astley is grand, especially the fictional opera "Joan of Arc". Still another good thing is the quality of acting from the principal actors. Michael Gough steals the show as the egotistical, arrogant, womanizing and villainous Lord D'Arcy who is responsible for the Phantom's tragic situation. But again he is a character that never appeared in the original source. Herbert Lom is fine but clearly inspired by both Claude Rains in his "Professor" role and Lon Cheney in his "Phantom" mode. The Lon Cheney influence is evident in his body language and the gesticulations of his hands. He raises them and points at Christine the way Lon Cheney did with Mary Philbin. Heather Sears is not impressive as Christine, but then again her character in every version has always been flat and simply the Phantom's romantic interest. It's interesting to note that in this version she is NOT the Phantom's object of love. He is merely her teacher, and he is more brutal with her (even slaps her) because she is a means to achieve his masterpiece, the opera that he was never given credit for. We do not get a genuinely romantic feeling from this film in regards to the Phantom and Christine except for Christine's relationship with Harry. So when the Phantom risks his own life to save her it's very much a surprise and an ending that is too abrupt and spontaneous. Because this film is not faithful to the Phantom we all know and love from Cheney to Andrew Lloyd Webber, I rate this film with a 6 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is the Hammer Horror version of the famous Gaston Leroux story, starring Herbert Lom as the hideously disfigured murderer hiding beneath a Parisian opera house and seeking revenge on those responsible for his predicament. This one's directed by Terence Fisher and was a flop on release, meaning that Fisher didn't get to work again for Hammer for a couple of years. The atmospheric and colourful visuals are the film's best aspect although the story is, it has to be said, a little flat.

    The problem lies with the writing rather than the direction. The viewer can never quite get excited about the big set-pieces and Hammer's spins on the original story are none too impressive. Lom's Phantom certainly looks the part but the story gives him very little to do other than haunt the scenery. Similarly, Heather Sears and Edward De Souza are fine as the protagonists, but they spend the film reacting rather than acting on their own behalf. Where this film shines are in the supporting roles, with a number of cameoing actors (Patrick Troughton, Miles Malleson, Michael Ripper) showing up to supply laughs and doing very well at it too. In addition, Michael Gough is a splendidly horrible villain. Compared to their adaptations of Dracula, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY, Hammer's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is merely okay, although fans of the era and story should enjoy it anyway.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Have you ever heard of a movie where the title character him/herself is the weakest part of the film? Well, I haven't until I came across this version of Phantom of the Opera. However, before I get to that, let's talk about some good things. I really liked how the story was handled. I really like the mystery aspect of this film. Even though it was easy to put two and two together, it was really good and interesting build up to a really cool flashback scene towards the end of the film. I was also quite fond of the character Harry, who is basically the Raoul character of the story. While I think he could've used some flaws to make him more relatable, this version of the character really does him justice. He actually listens to Christine, he's always there for her, he does proactive things to help her and is just a really sweet guy. Even though he and Christine didn't know each other very long, I thought their romance was really believable, cute and sweet. They aren't the most fascinating characters but they have a believable relationship and were enough to keep me invested in them and the story. Now onto the main flaw with the movie: the Phantom himself. Now I won't say that everything about this character is bad. I actually quite liked his backstory, even if it was a bit too similar to the forties film, and how they handled revealing it. However, the character himself is extremely lacking. First off, his obsession with Christine comes completely out of nowhere. He saw her perform once and then all of a sudden starts stalking her and kidnaps her at one point. It's extremely rushed. Also, the Phantom does something completely unforgivable in my eyes, which I will spoil so navigate away if you don't want that. While the Phantom is forcing Christine to sing for him in his lair, she stops singing for a moment, thinking she can't do it and the Phantom slaps her across the face! I'm not joking, he really does that at the time mark 56:29 of the movie! Yes, the Phantom does many terrible things in every adaptation but that just crosses the line way too far. You know what's odd though? The Phantom and Christine don't have any sort of romantic feelings for each other in this version, which at first glance wasn't a very big loss for me since I usually hate that couple anyways. However, after watching the ending, I realized it actually was a big loss because the Phantom not only sacrifices his life to save hers but she cries at his death. I'm sorry but the only thing between these two was that he stalked her, forced her to do something she clearly didn't want to do and hit her when she didn't until Harry came along and told him to knock it off. If you wanted The Phantom's death to impact Christine, we should've seen what happened between the Phantom and Christine after the Phantom agreed to train her less harshly. I'll admit, the way his death scene was executed did draw a little emotion from me but that scene and the whole end of the movie in general was too rushed for the emotion to build and have any meaning. Overall, this is a good movie but not really for the Phantom himself.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Phantom of the Opera" is one of Hammer's more underrated efforts.

    **SPOILERS**

    Lord Ambrose D'Arcy, (Micheal Gough) is celebrating the success of his new opera when a deadly accident forces it to close down. As he tries to move on, the producer, Harry Hunter, (Edward De Souza) manages to get Christine Charles, (Heather Sears) to appear in the re-opening of the play. As she prepares to train for it, strange experiences begin to haunt the theater. Christine learns that the hauntings are due to the Phantom, (Herbert Lom) a disfigured ex-composer who haunts the theater and lives in the sewers below, seeking revenge on Lord Ambrose for stealing his work. As Harry begins to suspect that The Phantom has evil intentions, he races to stop him from harming Christine.

    The Good News: For as often as this story has been told, Hammer's is perhaps the moodiest. As expected, the marvelous opera house looks marvelous, with it's lush, vibrant colors, beautiful curtains, and large layout. It's one of the better-looking opera houses out of all the interpretations, and it really looks quite striking when compared to the damp and dark sewer, where most of the film is set. Hammer have gone for a more downtrodden style than the usual flamboyance, and that helps to enforce the dark side of this classic tale. It gives a select quality to it that other incarnations don't match: the credibility that the sets convey. The make-up is great, and he looks suitably evil. It's one of the better-looking Phantom's around, and it's one of the best things about this one. I also love the opening of this one, and what happens is a great jump that opens the film with a great bang. There's a bit more action to this than other tales, so it does have some other moments within that are exciting to watch.

    The Bad News: There is a couple complaints about the movie. Firstly, the Phantom is seen way too early in the film for his appearance to be all that terrifying. In the earlier films, his appearance was one of terror, even in the gentle moments of the films, and here, his doesn't invoke a lot of horror at all. This is due to us meeting him far too early in the film, and being more acquainted with him than before. The Phantom's lair seems awfully close to the surface, and the absence of a maze of sewer catacombs makes the film feel not that well thought-out. It would seem rather easy to find him in his location, and that isn't what an evil genius needs. It's the mute assistant of the Phantom that does all the damage, so he doesn't seem as dangerous as he could've been, and he definitely acts more vicious in other films.

    The Final Verdict: It's not that bad of an adaption, but it's still got problems. The usual Hammer flair is quite evident, and the Phantom is pretty creepy, but had he actually done most of the sabotaging, it would've ranked higher. Worth it for Hammer fans to check out, but can't tell whether or not fans of the novel will like this one.

    Today's Rating-PG-13: Violence
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In Hammer Studio's version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the facially scarred pianist who haunts the opera-house, portrayed sympathetically by Herbert Lom, is not a demented monster causing nothing but disruption, but a deeply wounded man betrayed by a composer named Lord Ambrose(played as a lecherous scoundrel who belittles everyone around him as only Michael Gough could). You see there's a reason, in this version anyway, why the Phantom(actually a professor Petrie, a fine pianist who created accomplished works needing cash to pay his rent)causes such trouble to a specific opera house where Ambrose's plays reside..Ambrose stole Petrie's work claiming it as his own. Petrie, in a fit of rage(..who wouldn't be?)breaks into the printing press to destroy the works that are rightfully his but carrying Ambrose's name..in the act, nitric acid splashes in Petrie's face causing the disturbing scar that would lead to hiding his hideous face under a creepy mask forever. Harry Hunter(Edward de Souza)is producer of Ambrose's plays and Christine(Heather Sears)is a novice, with a fine voice, for whom the Phantom wishes to see star in a play of his own as a true audience member. But, Ambrose wishes for Christine to sleep with him and when she refuses, urging Harry to assist in getting out of the situation, they are both "excused" from the play. The running villain, who in most versions is the Phantom, is actually Ambrose who keeps a sure winning play from being realized. Harry will seek out information about Petrie as his mute "assistant" kidnaps Christine bringing her to the Phantom's sewer lair underneath the opera-house. The Phantom wishes to teach Christine how to use her voice to the uttermost bringing grace to his stolen play Ambrose couldn't. Will Phantom see his play come to fruition with Christine as star? Or, will Ambrose's desire to not see this type of opera played at the theater succeed in never giving Petrie that satisfaction?

    Not too bad an adaptation of the play. I thought it had great casting with Lom quite underplaying the Phantom..he's more sad and miserable than menacing or scary. Sears and Souza are acceptable as the hero and heroine of this Hammer flick. But, Gough easily steals this film, as he always seems to do, as the vile composer, who is such pure slime. I love watching Gough because he makes dialogue crackle and sizzle..you just loathe this man for he's such a wretch to humankind. But, being filthy rich and having stabbed quite a few backs to gain such a prominent position..to see him lose his opera at the end as his nasty emotions get the better of him pays off with dividends. The film itself isn't the most memorable of the Phantom films, but does allow him to gain sympathy from the viewer. When his own assistant causes the chandelier to fall accidentally as it appears Christine is in danger of being crushed, we get a true hero instead of a jealous lunatic fiend causing harm rather than good. That finale at least sets this apart from other versions.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film was one of the 1st Hammers I saw. I bought it from Woolworth's with my Dad when I was 9 (14 years ago). It frightened me then and has always held a place in my heart. In the midst of a clear-out the other day I found it and gave it a whirl for nostalgia. IT STILL HOLDS UP.

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!

    The titles are fantastically eerie, beginning arrestingly in total silence and then a slow tour through the empty theatre to the haunting strains of the Phantom's mournful organ. Who didn't jump the 1st time they saw the Phantom's eye? Fantastic. Surprisingly suspenseful direction from Fisher (the grasping hand over the stage, the lowering of the gas lamp) and some all out 'jumps' (the screaming diva, the crashing cymbals) rubbish the claim that this is sub-standard Hammer. There are so many highlights in this film. Michael Gough's slime-dripping impresario. The hanging stagehand. The flashback. But most of all, Herbert Lom's hugely sympathetic Professor Petrie, and Edwin Astley's fantastic score. Look out for the scene near the end where the Phantom watches Christine bring his opera to life. there is a close up of his eye through the mask, and where at the beginning it was filled with malevolence, now a single tear rolls out. This sounds wet but the effect with the music is intensely emotional. As is the final shot, after the Phantom has fallen to his death, of his mask cast aside. Even after all this time my emotions got the better of me. So there you have it. I can't praise it enough. Call it nostalgia if you will but it is the most intensely emotional film Hammer ever put out.
  • This version of "The Phantom of the Opera" was the second remake of the oft filmed classic tale was produced by England's Hammer Studios who remade most of the old Universal B&W classics of the 30s and 40s.

    An Opera based on the life of Joan of Arc is being performed at the Opera house. Several mysterious unexplainable events have taken place. An apparent murder scares off the lead singer and she is replaced by a young aspiring singer, Christine (Heather Sears). A shadowy figure known as The Phantom (Herbert Lom) lurking among the shadows takes a personal interest in the girl. Also taking an interest in her is lecherous Lord Ambrose D'Arcy (Michael Gough) the womanizing entrepreneur. Coming to her aid is the Opera's producer (Edward de Souza) the token hero of the piece.

    Needless to say the girl winds up in the Phantom's underground hideaway where she is kept captive until his terrible secret is revealed.

    Lom as the Phantom is more of a supporting player rather than the star. The Phantom is played more as a sympathetic character rather than a menace. The real villain of the piece is Gough who steals the film as the unscrupulous D'Arcy. There is also an evil dwarf (Ian Wilson). Lom's makeup as The Phantom is not revealed until the end of the film and then we only get a brief glimpse. It could have been used to much greater effect.

    Others in the cast include Thorley Walters as Latimer, the manager of the Opera house and Miles Malleson in a nice bit as the cabby in the park. True Hammer Horror fans will spot Hammer regular Michael Ripper almost unrecognizable as the first cabby who drives the hero and heroine home from the restaurant.

    Unfortunately, the producers have left many loose ends. What happens to D'Arcy who is last seen running from the room in which he has just met The Phantom? And the Dwarf? He is literally left hanging at the film's end. Do the baddies get away with it?

    The original theatrical version of the film runs 84 minutes. There is also a 98 minute version which adds scenes involving Scotland Yard detectives investigating the goings on at the Opera, a flashback sequence which repeats in its entirety a scene shown earlier and an attempted murder of D'Arcy's mistress all of which add nothing to the film.

    No one will ever better the Lon Chaney 1925 silent version of this story but you have to give Hammer credit for at least trying to tell it with a few new twists.
  • As far as adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera goes(excluding the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical), this 1962 Hammer version is not as good as Lon Chaney's, which is the best version, but it's superior to the Claude Rains version(though I do prefer Rains over Herbert Lom).

    It does have its problems, with too much time spent on the opera and the romance and not enough of the Phantom, which does undermine the tension, sense of dread and horror. Sadly, the opera numbers, while musically good, are staged awkwardly and really do slow the film down. The romance is rather saccharine, and the chemistry between the two 'heroes' a little bland. Heather Sears also plays Christine too low-key and the script, while with some intelligent moments, does plod sometimes and has a little too much talk.

    However, it is very lavishly made (one of the better looking early-60s Hammer films) with truly marvellous interiors of the opera house, rich vibrant colours and opulent costumes. It is beautifully and spine-chillingly scored, though James Bernard would have been an even better fit for composer. The story is less than perfect, but does offer some effective moments. The close up of the eye is really quite chilling and enough to make one jump, while the grasping hand over the stage and the lowering of the gas lamp are indeed very suspenseful, Phantom's back-story is interesting and makes one empathise with him and the ending is incredibly moving.

    Terrence Fisher's direction is technically accomplished and does evoke some suspense and atmosphere, though his story-telling has been better elsewhere. Regarding the acting, Michael Gough steals the show being chillingly vile as a true slimeball with no redeeming qualities of a character. Herbert Lom is a great contrast as the Phantom, under heavy and effective make-up he is a sympathetic and tragic figure and it is quite a poignant performance, though not without a few scary moments. Edward De Souza is charming.

    In conclusion, not among the best of Hammer by a long shot and could have been better, but still manages to be pretty good. 7/10 Bethany Cox
  • The film starts off promisingly with the opening night of a new opera on the subject of Joan of Arc, due to be sung by a Maria Callas type soprano. A series of discovered acts of sabotage culminate in the film's first shock-horror moment. So far, it looks as if its going to be an enjoyable hour and a half. Michael Gough is great fun as an eminently hissable villain, and Edward de Souza is fairly watchable, too, as the charming if rather conventional hero. But alas, it all goes horribly downhill from the Phantom's first appearance. Poor Herbert Lom is given a pretty duff script (a lot of ineffectual muttering to himself), and a frightfully tacky hideaway replete with tiger rug and a naff red-upholstered throne. The music this alleged genius writes is pretty awful too - a sort of cross between the worst kind of Gilbert and Sullivan and a Broadway show with truly cringe-worthy lyrics. And why exactly does the phantom rip his own mask off just before rescuing the heroine? A huge disappointment all round.
  • StevenFlyboy30 December 2008
    I never have been a big Hammer film fan but I have to say that the Hammer version of Phantom of the Opera is absolutely the best I've ever seen. The story is great, the acting is great and there are a few really terrifying moments. I even almost shed a tear at the end. Poor professor Petrie! Anyway, if you haven't seen this, you owe it to yourself to check it out. I've been looking for the DVD release for years and it finally got here, although I doubt you can get it by itself. The only one i've seen so far is a Hammer double feature, the other movie being Paranoiac, starring Oliver Reed and Janette Scott. This is Hammer at its best!
  • I have many other "Phantom" movies but this is one of my favorites, even though the location and story has been changed. I thought Herbert Lom did a great job and the aria Christine sings is hauntingly beautiful. I would love to have a CD of the music. Does anyone know if it is available?
  • timrause22 December 1998
    Although I would consider this POTO movie to be the farthest from the Leroux novel, it still is DEFINITELY worth the investment of your time. It is excellently plotted, with the Phantom (Herbert Lom) giving a wonderful sympathetic performance. DEFINITELY a 10/10!!!
  • I really enjoyed this film here. It was a great horror film and not that bad as a Phantom movie. Although The Phantoms real name in this one is not Erick as it should be, The Pasrt was played very well by Herbert Lom and i really liked it that they had the Phantom play the fuleral march in this one. The mask on the Phantom was really cool it was the full face mask and i like that. In some of the more recenlt Phantom films he has not ever had the mask (as in the 1999 version with Julian Sands and the 1989 big budget film with Robert Englund)All in all this movie is really good and if you are a fan of Gothic horror films then you will like this one this has a gothic setting to it that i liked. I give this movie a 8 out of 10. Done very well for it's time
  • In remaking Universal's monster movies, Hammer's films tend to stand out for their emphasis on bosoms, gore and Technicolor. Since Universal had already made an Oscar-winning Technicolor version of "Phantom of the Opera" (1943), that left only the other two factors to distinguish this one; yet, for the most part, Hammer ignored them in this case. There's one gory scene where a rat catcher is stabbed in the eye, which may be the best part, but has nothing to do with the rest of the narrative. The rest of which is surprisingly tame and dull--partly reworking the story of the 1943 picture, which was already a big departure from Gaston Leroux's novel, for the worse I'd argue, and otherwise adding elements that transform the Phantom into not-such-a-bad guy. That's one of the last things I wanted to see, especially after Claude Rains had already made the character into a tragic and pathetic halfwit, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's later adaptation (made into a movie in 2004) altered him into a romantic figure. Here, Hammer gives us a Phantom who's mostly a victim and who otherwise helps Christine.

    In the 1943 version, a misunderstanding had Rains's "Erique Claudin" believe his music was being stolen, which ended up with acid disfiguring his face. Hammer adjusts this, in a story that we're first told and later shown via flashback, to its "Professor" actually having his music stolen, resulting in acid disfiguring his face. The stolen music plot would later be reused again, to better effect, in "Phantom of the Paradise" (1974). Thankfully, Hammer didn't reuse the storyline of Erique living in poverty to anonymously support Christine's singing lessons; instead, the Professor has his hunchback assistant abduct her so he may provide lessons to her himself in his subterranean lair. Sourcing out an abduction is the worst thing that the Phantom definitively does here, except for, perhaps, slapping her, and unlike in the book and other adaptations, there's no indication of sexual perversity to it. It's just about the stupid music. The baddies here are the underdeveloped hunchback, with his random acts of violence, and the producer who stole credit for the opera and uses its lead to lure starlets to his casting couch.

    The opera, however, is a lousy musical rendition of the tragedy of Joan of Arc. It replaces "Faust" in the original story, which was an apt play-within-a-play because it reflected the main outer narrative. John of Arc, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the main story about the Phantom or the romance between Christine and Harry (standing in for the original Raoul), which actually occupies most of the runtime. At most, it alludes to the story's French origins. This is the same problem that the 1943 version had with its irrelevant opera, although, at least, that production had actual trained opera singers. Both films also remove the use of mirrors in entering the Phantom's lair, although this one adds a scene where Harry plays with a peephole film flipbook, which partially replaces the self-reflexive aspect of the mirrors.

    That the opera house (the real Wimbledom Theatre in London) is substantially smaller than the recreated Palais Garnier built for the 1925 Universal film and reused for the 1943 version doesn't help this one stand out in a crowded field of cinematic adaptations, either. Compared to the unnecessary additional villains and de-vilification of the Phantom, the opera setting is the least of the production's problems.

    Also of note, Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" was likely associated with the Phantom as early as the 1925 silent film, as, reportedly, the piece had early on become a cliché in horror films, but this seems to be the first Phantom to include it within a synchronized score, and the association has continued with a variation of it in the 2004 movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have to admit that I haven't (yet) seen every filmed adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel of the same name, but all the same I am pretty confident in saying that this version, while not the absolute worst, is one of the lesser efforts. It is not an awful movie. The folks at the Hammer studio made sure that it looked pretty nice, with expert production values. And actor Michael Gough really makes for a good villain... though oddly his character really isn't punished in the end for all his misdeeds. The biggest problem with this version is how surprisingly uneventful it is for much of the running time. It moves very slowly, with little in it that could be considered "horror". It's also strange that the title figure in this version almost becomes an afterthought, getting a lot less focus and screen time than you would think. It doesn't help that the music isn't all that special at all. It may sound like I'm making this movie out to be really bad. It isn't - it's watchable. But it's unlikely you remember it for a long time afterwards.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Almost every movie fan knows the story – an opera house is beset with problems as a new production is set to open. At first it's strange, annoying occurrences like missing music or damaged instruments. But it goes beyond mere annoyance when a stagehand is murdered. What evil force is behind this series of events?

    As a fan of Hammer, there's a lot here to enjoy. The first thing I always notice, and it's hard not to, is the film's "look". Hammer made some wonderful looking movies and The Phantom of the Opera just might be at the top of that list. Beautiful is the way I would describe it. The colors, the sets, and the costumes are so incredibly pleasing to the eye. Everything from the rich burgundy curtains on the opera stage to the simple, but effective mask worn by the Phantom are perfect. You could spend three times the budget of The Phantom of the Opera and not come up with something that looks this good.

    Terence Fisher directed some of Hammer's best films. And his work on The Phantom of the Opera is among his best. I've read complaints that Fisher lacked imagination and was, at best, a workmanlike director who was lucky to be "in the right place at the right time". With The Phantom of the Opera, Fisher shows more artistic touches and allows the camera to be more fluid than at any time I can remember. Fisher was aided by an impressive cast. Other than Heather Sears in the female lead, the acting is solid. Edward de Souza, Thorley Walters, and Herbert Lom are all great in their respective roles. But, as usual and as expected, Michael Gough as Lord Ambrose d"Arcy steals every scene in which he appears. He's just so deliciously evil and over-the-top.

    There are several little moments in The Phantom of the Opera that make it special. Scenes like those involving the rat catcher or the opera house cleaning women might seem like throwaway moments, but they help add life and interest to the film. Or the dinner scene when Sears character turns down d'Arcy's advances. The look of contempt on Gough's face as he stalks out of the restaurant is priceless. Very well done!

    In the end, while there have been any number of versions of The Phantom of the Opera made over the years, Hammer's version is my favorite. It's definitely a movie that any Hammer fan or anyone interested in learning about Hammer should see.
  • The corrupt Lord Ambrose D'Arcy (Michael Gough) steals the life's work of the poor composer Professor L. Petrie. (Herbert Lom). In an attempt to stop the printing of music with D'Arcy's name on it, Petrie breaks into the printing office and accidentally starts a fire, leaving him severely disfigured. Years later, Petrie returns to terrorize a London opera house that is about to perform one of his stolen operas. An underrated Hammer film . Hammer's version offers many changes to Leroux's novel, the most noticeable one being that the movie is set in London instead of Paris. The disfigured phantom (Herbert Lom) lurks in the bowels of the London Opera House (in this version) and he has fallen in love with Christine (Heather Sears), a soprano he helps to promote and protect Christine (the enchanting Heather Sears) . I like the UK accents . Drama, Horror, Romance in the twisted tale. And Hammer productions adaptation is my new favorite version . Excellent .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My favorite version of the oft-filmed Gaston Leroux tale and one of the most attractive costume dramas ever committed to celluloid, Hammer's take on "The Phantom of the Opera" has, unfortunately, gotten lost in the shuffle. Part horror movie, part operetta and part melodramatic love story, it's easy to see how the film might try the patience of present-day viewers...but if you're familiar with this kind of cinematic storytelling, and especially if you're a fan of Hammer Studios and director Terence Fisher, you should see it. Herbert Lom plays a harsh, commanding Phantom, and Heather Sears--by virtue of the fact that she's not movie-star pretty--is a very believable, and likable, Christine. The cast is also enlivened by Michael Gough as the slimy, stereotypically villainous Lord Ambrose d'Arcy, and delightful Hammer regular Thorley Walters as his whipping boy. Edward de Souza is a little stiff as Christine's love interest Harry, but he's the sort of goofy, overly earnest hero you expect in a movie of this type. The horror is restrained; the Phantom's unmasking doesn't occur until the end of the film (and it's a memorably gruesome moment, courtesy of makeup artist Roy Ashton), but you'll find it worth the wait. Seven and a half stars.
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