May 12, 2010

Justify My Netflix: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Today's movie: The Phantom of the Opera, 1925 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because as regular readers know, I've been using my Netflix Streaming account on weekends as a convenient excuse to get caught up with all the classic silent films in existence; and you can't do a tour of the great silents without including this infamous horror film, featuring homemade makeup by Lon Chaney so horrific, it made women in the audience faint when first revealed.

The reality: Pretty good for an 85-year-old movie; although I have to confess that I simply don't have a lot to say about most of the silent films I watch through Netflix Streaming, which is why I don't usually write most of them up. (For example, in the last few months I've also watched Buster Keaton's The General and James Whale's adaptation of Frankenstein, neither of which I've mentioned here until now.) And that's because it's hard, I think, to do an objective review of a film's quality when it's this old and anachronistic, with the main point of watching it being seemingly for historical purposes instead of to compare it to a contemporary movie; but in this case I did want to make a small mention, because the Chaney version of Phantom really does turn out to be a lot scarier and more impressive than most films from this period. Netflix Streaming seems to be almost made for watching movies like these, older and slower ones where you have no real dialogue to speak of to have to keep up with; for those who have Netflix themselves and have never thought before about getting caught up with the classics through their digital service, I just wanted to mention what an easy treat it is, an option which also allows you to keep your DVD queue open for more modern films. It comes highly recommended for those who are in a mood for such a movie.

Strangest piece of trivia: There are sections of these sets still standing at Universal Studios; many believe them to be haunted by the ghost of Chaney, and it's considered bad luck by the stagehands there to try to tear the set down.

Worth your time? Yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 10:02 AM, May 12, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |