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The Phantom Of The OperaAustralia 1925
Directed by Rupert Julian
Running time 101 minutes
Here, horror stalwart Lon Chaney in one of his classic roles, plays the Phantom and Mary Philbin is Christine Daaé, the girl he tragically dotes on. Produced by Ernst Laemmle, who also directed although he is uncredited for this, the film has some Expressionist qualities, particularly in the presentation of the Phantom’s underground world. Making the appropriate concessions this is still compelling stuff, but it is Chaney’s cadaverous unmasked skull-like remains the wildly grimacing at the camera remains the film’s iconic image. The film’s original ending which gave the Phantom his redemption was replaced after it failed to resonate with test audiences to be replaced with the stock angry-torch-bearing-mob-pursue-monster-to-his-death ending that lessens the film but it is still an impressive effort. BH
FYI: Although originally released at 101 mins, the film was re-released as a sound film in 1929 and there are been versions with various running times doing the rounds since.