Friday, 1 May 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 131: Mon May 11

Phantom of the Opera (Julian, 1925): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


The special screening of this silent classic features a live score by Mininma.

Here is the Prince Charles Cinema's introduction:
Beneath the sewers of the Paris Opera House dwells a masked figure. He is the Phantom, a hideously disfigured composer whose dream is to turn chorus singer Christine into a diva. Lon Chaney, the “Man of a Thousand Faces”, dominates this classic adaptation of the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this one of the great classics of American silent film. 


Minima’s music is an audacious 21st-Century interpretation of silent and avant-garde film. The ensemble of drums, bass, guitar and cello combine hypnotic post-rock beats with quasi-classical arrangements, striking up a thrilling relationship with the film. 

“Minima are one of the leading bands accompanying silent film in Europe.”
(Robert Rider, Head of Cinema, the Barbican Centre) 

Chicago Reader review:
Critics rank this 1925 feature by Rupert Julian well below Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but Lon Chaney's performance as the hideous organist prowling the sewers beneath the Paris Opera is still a cornerstone of gothic horror. Chaney based his death's-head make-up on a description from the Gaston Leroux source novel, though as film historian David J. Skal has observed, viewers at the time would have been more immediately reminded of the disfigured men who came home from World War I. Aside from the famous unmasking scene, the movie's most striking moment is the two-strip Technicolor sequence in which the Phantom, clad in the scarlet robes of Poe's Red Death, terrorizes a masked ball; the image seals Chaney's reputation as the grim reaper of the Jazz Age.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the famous unmasking scene

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