Documentary DVD: 'The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking The Masterpiece'

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Documentary DVD: 'The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking The Masterpiece'

Post  Scorp on Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:38 pm

Many thanks to ML6, who found this for sale on the Internet and pointed it out to me. It was with considerable pleasure that I just watched the following documentary about the various film versions of Phantom, with special focus on the first (and best) of them all -- the original one. There's also a long segment devoted to the Broadway production of the ALW show (and an unfortunate 5 minutes or so on the 2004 abomination).



There are some great interviews contained in this with individuals with histories connected to the 1925 film, including obvious ones like Carla Laemmle and Ron Chaney, but also with refreshingly informed film historians who actually have insightful things to say about the making of that film. There's also a good potted history of the Phantom's history on the silver screen and a long interview with Hugh Panaro and one of the conductors of the Broadway production of the ALW show (some slight groaning from my end when the conductor mentions his presence in ALW's former NYC home in the Trump Towers during the screen tests for the 2004 film, and his obvious bemusement when Gerard Butler (who?) and Emmy Rossssum (who?) were cast...made all the more embarrassing by the acknowledgement of the success of the Les Mis film).

Florence Lacey, who played Evita in Hal Prince's original world tour, narrates (although not without some terrible butchering of French words/names). If you can get over the incessant and relentless background organ MIDI music forever on a loop of Saint-Saëns's 'Danse Macabre', Bach's D Minor Fugue, Grieg's 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' and a bit from Swan Lake, this is well worth watching.

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Re: Documentary DVD: 'The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking The Masterpiece'

Post  Paula74 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:37 pm

I just got a copy of this about two weeks ago, but between a broken DVD player and too many work-related things going on, I only just had a chance to watch it.

That cheesy loop of music aside, I actually enjoyed it a great deal. I knew a few of the anecdotes about the Chaney film, but the interviews were interesting (especially enjoyed Carla Laemmle)...lots of great photos, stills, posters, etc.. It covered a lot of the adaptations, especially the Claude Rains remake...and included a good segment on "Man of 1,000 Faces."

The Tim Stella segment made me chuckle when he said that Gerard Butler is "definitely not a singer."

I did find myself anticipating almost all of Hugh's answers, but I guess that's to be expected after eight years.

It was interesting enough that I watched it all in one sitting...something I generally don't do with documentaries...and I *didn't* even consider just skipping ahead to Hugh's segment. If my copy hadn't been complimentary, I would not regret actually buying this.


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Re: Documentary DVD: 'The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking The Masterpiece'

Post  NightRachel on Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:51 pm

Thank you, Scorp and Paula, for posting about this documentary on DVD...I just purchased a copy from Amazon. I look forward to watching it! Smile 

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Re: Documentary DVD: 'The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking The Masterpiece'

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