Great Moments In Film – The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
A new cycle and we get to someone that’s long over due for their first appearance on this feature. Lon Chaney, Sr. The Man of a Thousand Faces. This was a man who was born to be in silent films. A very physical actor, he was willing to endure painful processes in order to help achieve the look of the characters he portrayed. However, there’s also a subtle nature to many of his characters that is easily overlooked. Watch his Quasimodo in 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for an example of this.
All of that said, this is Chaney’s most famous character: the Phantom. Not only that, this is one of the most famous scenes in movie history: the unmasking of the Phantom. This is something that scared people of the 1920s witless in theatres all across the world, even if it seems tame by today’s standards. I love how the tension builds and builds during the scene. The music sucks us in along with the many false starts until the moment finally happens.
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