This story has been told multiple times in movies and on the stage, some better than others. This version from 1943 includes the amazing Claude Rains as the titular Phantom. Rains, who was also known as the Invisible Man for the Universal Monsters, had big shoes to fill as well. The previous version of this film had featured the iconic portrayal by Lon Chaney. All of this makes for a solid film to continue the DailyView with this Friday night, beginning week number three.
In some of the other versions of this movie, the Phantom has been sympathetic. However, here, in my humble opinion, Erique Claudin, the pit violinist and wannabe composer who becomes the Phantom after being scarred with acid in his face, has little relatability. When he believed that his concerto was going to be stolen by a sneaky publisher, he flipped out and murdered him. As a response, the publisher’s secretary threw acid in Claudin’s face, scarring him terribly.
The murderous rage was there prior to the acid. He was just a killer. He retreated to the Paris Opera House and began hiding in the catacombs beneath it. He continued his obsession about beautiful opera singer Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster), attempting to get her to sing in the main show. He went about this by murdering people.
I will say that I enjoyed the main parts of this story, but, not being a fan of opera, the music that is throughout the film is too much more me. They certainly use a lot of operatic music in the film.
However, the parts around the opera were really good and filled with tension and anxiety. Claude Rains was excellent during the entire film. Nelson Eddy and Edgar Barrier were good too as Christine’s two suitors. They were both trying to set traps to capture the Phantom.
Rains played the Phantom as a murderous psychotic. The whole chandelier scene was just horrendous when you think what would have happened. He did not think twice about murdering women or anyone that got in the way of his ultimate goal.
This was a decent film, but too much opera for my taste.