BY KENDALL ERICKSON
Year Released: 1943
How It Fared Back Then: The movie was a huge success. With very few similarities to the original 1925 version, the film brought a fresh and unique spin to the classic French novel. It is also the only Universal monster movie to ever win an Oscar. It was nominated for four different Academy Awards that year, and won for best art direction and cinematography.
Why It’s Lasted: Bow down to the legend that is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. I truly believe the reason that Gaston Leroux’s novel Le Fantome de l’Opera has not fallen into obscurity is because of Webber’s musical adaptation of it. The musical version opened in the West End in London in 1986 and went onto Broadway in 1988. Since then, it has become the longest running Broadway musical in history, and it celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on February 11, 2012. The 2004 film adaptation of the musical starring Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler also brought the story to life for a whole new generation of moviegoers and longtime fans. It is because of these adaptations that the older takes on the story, such as this 1943 gem, have stayed relevant, though perhaps slightly overshadowed.
- Claudin strangling Pleyel to death, causing Georgette to throw acid at his face, horribly disfiguring it. Now, wanted for murder by the police, Claudin flees to the sewers beneath the Opera House and becomes the Phantom.
- The chandelier falling from the ceiling.
- Christine in his lair singing along to his concerto.
- The Phantom’s lair caving in. But does it kill him? Who knows?! You’ll have to watch.
Does It Still Hold Up? Yes and no. While Phantom of the Opera has become a huge piece of pop culture, and most people know some version of it, it’s hard to say for sure whether or not this particular version of the story is still relevant. I find that a lot of people forget about this version because they either gravitate towards the original film adaptation from 1925, or they are only really aware of the 2004 film version that was based around Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical of the same name. However, I like to think that this version still has its own place in the legacy of Phantom. In my opinion, it’s the only film version that really treats the story like a true horror film, and really, when you think about it, the story really does scream horror rather than romance. Hello! A tortured soul/musician becomes obsessed, obsessed with talented girl. If that plot point doesn’t scream creepy, even a little bit, I don’t know what does.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCYhLLbAKx4]