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Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Music | 27 August 1943 (USA)
A disfigured violinist haunts the Paris Opera House.

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Writers:

Eric Taylor (screenplay), Samuel Hoffenstein (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nelson Eddy ... Anatole Garron
Susanna Foster ... Christine DuBois
Claude Rains ... Erique Claudin
Edgar Barrier ... Raoul Daubert
Leo Carrillo ... Signor Ferretti
Jane Farrar ... Biancarolli
J. Edward Bromberg ... Amiot
Fritz Feld ... Lecours
Frank Puglia ... Villeneuve
Steven Geray ... Vercheres
Barbara Everest Barbara Everest ... Aunt
Hume Cronyn ... Gerard
Fritz Leiber ... Franz Liszt
Nicki Andre Nicki Andre ... Lorenzi
Gladys Blake ... Jeanne
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Storyline

Pit violinist Claudin hopelessly loves rising operatic soprano Christine Dubois (as do baritone Anatole and police inspector Raoul) and secretly aids her career. But Claudin loses both his touch and his job, murders a rascally music publisher in a fit of madness, and has his face etched with acid. Soon, mysterious crimes plague the Paris Opera House, blamed on a legendary "phantom" whom none can find in the mazes and catacombs. But both of Christine's lovers have plans to ferret him out. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's classic of terror! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El fantasma de la ópera See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where the three heroes escape the Phantom's crumbling lair (which involve the three characters running from a cave in) only Susanna Foster actually appeared in the scene, the two male stars were deemed too important to film such a risky scene and had stunt doubles. See more »

Goofs

When Claudin (Claude Rains) is being tested by the maestro, his fingering of the violin's strings do not match the vibrato produced. See more »

Quotes

[Christine has left Raoul and Anatole in her dressing room while she greets a crowd of admirers]
Raoul D'Aubert: Would you join me for a bit of supper at the Cafe de l'Opera?
Anatole Garron: With pleasure, monsieur.
Raoul D'Aubert: Think we can get through this crowd?
Anatole Garron: Certainly. After all, who'd pay any attention to a baritone and a detective?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

LE PRINCE MASQUE DU CAUCASUS
(uncredited)
(Russian Opera sequence)
Adapted by Edward Ward (from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "4th Symphony")
Lyrics by George Waggner, translated by William von Wymetal
Sung by Nelson Eddy, Nicki Andre & company
See more »

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User Reviews

More musical than horror...
20 July 2011 | by JoeytheBritSee all my reviews

Poor old Enrique Claudin doesn't have much luck – and what he does have is all bad. An adept but unremarkable violinist with the Paris Opera House, he secretly worships Christine Dubois, the young understudy to the snooty leading songstress, and even goes so far as to anonymously spend all his money on singing lessons for her even though she is barely conscious of his existence. Enrique loses his job when he starts losing the feeling in his fingers. Then he mistakenly believes the musical manuscript he has been working on has been stolen by no less a light than Franz Liszt (Lord only knows how he wandered into this). Gripped by a violent rage, Enrique throttles the bad-tempered music publisher who prevents him from retrieving his manuscript and ends up with a face full of acid courtesy of the publisher's panicky secretary. Evading capture by the police, Enrique hides in the sewers beneath the Opera House and, like a tomato that's rolled under the cooker, grows dark and warped in the darkness.

Gaston Laroux's Phantom of the Opera is one of those stories that filmmakers feel compelled to retell every couple of years, so there's not a great deal to set this apart from all those other versions. Universal's use of colour is uncharacteristically sumptuous, and given that this tale falls nominally into the horror category for which they were famed, it stands by comparison to their other output of the time as something of a prestige production. There's not really much horror to speak of – although, by modern standards, none of the 40s horror films are likely to scare anyone over the age of five, so it's not out of the ordinary there. In fact it would arguably be more accurate to describe it as a musical given the amount of time that's given over to opera numbers that do little other than pause the action.

Claude Rains gives a typically polished performance as the tormented Claudin, although the failure of the script to get under his character's (scorched) skin once he assumes the identity of the Phantom leaves the actor with little to work with once he dons the mask and descends into B-movie madness. Nobody else in the cast really stands out. Susanna Foster makes a rather unmemorable ingénue (who shows worrying indications of following the same path as the prima donna she replaces given the way some of their lines are nearly identical), and leaves you wondering why poor old Claudin got so hot and bothered over her in the first place. Nelson Eddy and Edgar Barrier provide some light relief as the troupe's baritone and the investigating police officer, both of whom also fall under Miss Foster's mysterious spell.

Phantom of the Opera provides a good example of 40s Hollywood expertise (although it looks more like an MGM film than a Universal), and is entertaining enough even though it rarely provides anything that's likely to stick in the mind. Arthur Lubin at least attempts moments of artistry – for example by having the camera repeatedly passing sources of light – candelabras, chandeliers, etc – to suggest the fatal fascination Claudin's object of unrequited love holds for him.


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