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Non-Review Review: The Phantom of the Opera (1943)

The Phantom of the Opera is something of an outlier in the Universal monster movie blu ray collection. It’s the only film in the collection available in colour but, more than that, it’s really the only film in the collection that doesn’t have a serious claim to being the definitive big screen adaptation of its source material. I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t include the 1925 adaptation starring Lon Chaney in the title role, as it’s certainly one of the forerunners to the subgenre that would be launched by Dracula in 1931. The 1943 version of Phantom of the Opera is easily the weakest film in the set. Although not without its charms, it feels just a little bit too mangled and messy to try be a classic horror film.

In the gutter, looking at the stars…

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Les Miserables Trailer

Just a quick one. The guys at Universal Pictures Ireland just sent on this trailer for Les Miserables, the next film from the Tom Hooper, the director of The King’s Speech. It features Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman… and Hugh Jackman’s great big bushy beard. All joking aside, I’m amazed that Hollywood hasn’t been quicker to adapt more of the more vintage or “classical” stage musicals. Sure, occasionally you end up with Phantom of the Opera, but I really enjoyed Sweeney Todd.

With films like Hairspray proving you can adapt a musical in a fun and sharp (and engaging) manner, there’s no reason to be afraid of the genre – if done right. And Hooper, I think, definitely has the elegant style necessary to transition a work like this from stage to screen. I’m quite curious about this one, and I like that it’s up front about being a musical – unlike the infamous Sweeney Todd trailer that made a point of cutting around the singing.