PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Director: Dwight Little
Screenplay: Duke Sandefur, Gerry O’Hara
Starring: Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, Alex Hyde-White, Bill Nighy
Reviewed by Guy Adams
The Phantom is such a cursed creature. Aside from his caterwauling, Lloyd Webber incarnation, has any movie been truly successful since Lon Chaney donned his finest skull mask and decided to gatecrash a party back in 1925?
Hammer had a crack at the scar-faced music enthusiast with Herbert Lom with limited success and this version, with Robert Englund conducting the bloody crescendos flopped badly on release.
Which is a shame as it’s really very good. Bookended with modern-day sequences (which some may consider superfluous but I find rather fun), it’s a jolly, well-shot piece of Grand Guignol with Englund giving it his usual homicidal relish. Jill Schoelen is perfectly cast as the lusted after soprano, Alex Hyde-White is the handsome villain and Bill Nighy adds his hesitant class as the opera manager and cad.
It may not be high art but it’s good, grisly fun. It plays its murder scenes to the stalls and deserves a new audience.
101 Films’ blu-ray has no extras but it looks and sounds lovely with Misha Segal’s soundtrack — the one thing that even contemporaneous reviewers were happy to compliment — filling the speakers with operatic confidence.