Lon Chaney haunts the Paris Opera in Rupert Julian’s lavish production of the classic Gothic tale
Lon Chaney, ‘the man of a thousand faces’, gives his most famous performance in this first version of the oft-filmed tale. Based on Gaston Leroux's novel, Chaney stars as the Phantom, living in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, who falls in love with the voice of a young opera singer. Infatuated, he kidnaps her, dragging her to the depths below where she will sing only for him.
Directed by Rupert Julian, this lavish 1925 production launched the Hollywood Gothic style – which would become the trademark of Universal horror films.
Original prints of the film were fully tinted, with some sequences in Technicolor, and a rooftop scene using a special process that enabled the Phantom's cloak to show red against the blue night sky. This Photoplay restoration carefully reinstates all these effects, and is accompanied by Carl Davis’ celebrated score, which draws heavily on Gounod’s Faust, the opera performed in the film.
- Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
- The original 1925 version, (black & white, 103 mins): with newly commissioned piano accompaniment by Ed Bussey
- Original 1925 trailer and 1929 sound re-issue trailer
- Reel 5 from lost 1929 sound re-issue (12 mins): the only surviving element, newly discovered in the Library of Congress archives.
- The 'man with a lantern' sequence: mysterious footage thought to have been shot for non-English speaking territories
- Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000, Kevin Brownlow, 86 mins, DVD only): Kevin Brownlow's definitive documentary on the legendary actor.
- Channel 4 Silents restoration souvenir programme (PDF)
- Fully illustrated booklet featuring new essays, review and film credits