Wednesday, October 19, 2011
October 17th: Phantom of The Opera (1943)
After 20 years of service at the Paris Opera House, eccentric violinist Erique Claudin (Claude Rains) is dismissed by his conductor Villeneuve (Frank Puglia) due to pains in the fingers of his left hand which negatively affect his playing abilities. Though Villeneuve assumes Erique has made more than enough money to retire, Erique is practically broke, having spent much of his money secretly funding music lessons for Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster), a soprano and understudy to leading lady Biancarolli (Jane Farrar).
Alongside Thomas Edison's Frankenstein and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, Rupert Julian's The Phantom of The Opera was one of the first horror films made. Starring Lon Chaney Sr. in ghoulishly creepy makeup, the film was a massive hit and paved the way for Universal Studios to become the first House of Horrors, with Tod Browning's Dracula and James Whale's Frankenstein leading the charge.
Next Up: October 18th: The Phantom of The Opera (1983)