I've never reviewed a silent film on my blog before. That's because, up until two months ago, I hated them. (And, honestly, I don't even remember why, except that I didn't like the idea of films without dialogue.) But, recently, I've seen quite a few silents that I really enjoyed (City Lights and The Scarlet Letter, just to name a few). Earlier this week, I saw Lon Chaney in The Hunch Back of Notre Dame, so I had really high hopes for The Phantom of the Opera. My expectations were by far surpassed.
If not for The Night of the Hunter, I would say Phantom is the scariest film I'd ever seen, mainly because of Chaney's shocking appearance. Naturally, after just seeing him play Quasimodo, I was expecting him to be quite grotesque as Erik, but he was much more horrifying than I expected him to be. Chaney's performance itself is absolutely wonderful and he affected me as much as Robert Mitchum did. Other notable performances are delivered by Mary Philbin and Norman Kerry.
Rupert Julian's directing is absolutely marvelous. Phantom is among some of the best-directed films I've seen, and that includes films like Casablanca, Vertigo, and Sunset Boulevard. I'm quite interested in seeing more of his films now, particularly the silent adaption of Ben Hur (also released in 1925).
Overall, I found The Phantom of the Opera to be a disturbing yet wonderful film. I know what I'm watching on Halloween this year...
If you haven't seen this film yet, you can do so here.