LON CHANEY’S — THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, 1925
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA came as a boost to Lon Chaney’s static career playing 2nd rate characters with disfigured faces and bodies. Now there was to be a vehicle for his compassion for these destitute people, surrounded by a classic story, based on the gothic horror / love novel of Gaston Leroux published in France in the early 1900’s. Here in the part of the enigmatic Phantom, Lon Chaney, the “Man of a Thousand Faces”, had an opportunity to revel in its twisted emotions and frightening anger, which he played to the hilt, ending up with THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, his most famous of movies, (along with The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
Many versions of The Phantom have been filmed since then, some with lavish sets, others with elaborate music and opera. But only the original silent version truly emphasized the stark-ness of the basement of the opera house, and the dark emotions of the phantom, thanks partly to Lon Chaney himself.
The score prepared for this version by Rick Friend is faithful to the emotions of the film, thematically interesting, while aptly synchronized. With excerpts from Gounod’s Faust, Danse Macabre of Saint-Saens and Friend’s original music it uses orchestra, piano, and the sounds of 3 different pipe organs.