First preserved adaptation of Gaston Leroux's classic.
A new season is about to begin at the Paris Opera and Christinne Daeé, a promising singer is about to make her debut at Gounod's Faust. But the young woman is kidnapped by a mysterious stranger who speaks to her through the walls of the theater. Rumours have it that a masked phantom dwells beneath the theater, scaring the opera's whole staff.
The film remains most famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere. Chaney commented "in The Phantom of the Opera, people exclaimed at my weird make-up. I achieved the Death's head of that role without wearing a mask. It was the use of paints in the right shades and the right places—not the obvious parts of the face—which gave the complete illusion of horror...It’s all a matter of combining paints and lights to form the right illusion." Producer Laemmle commissioned the construction of a set of the Paris Opera House. Because it would have to support hundreds of extras, the set became the first to be created with steel girders set in concrete. For this reason it was not dismantled until 2014.
Initial critical response for the film was mixed. Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times gave the film a positive review as a spectacle picture, but felt that the story and acting may have been slightly improved. Modern critical response for the film has been more positive, with many considering it the best adaptation of Leroux's novel to another medium, or at least until the classic 1986 Lloyd Webber stage musical version was first performed.
The film remains most famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere.
The first version of Caspervek's Soundtrack for "The Phantom of the Opera" was premiered in Vigo in 2016 by the band's usual line-up (violin, piano, percussion). In 2019, the ensemble revised the score by adding a vocal line for soprano, based on poems by Edgar Allan Poe, which was premiered by soprano Beatriz Arenas at the Fundación Sales in the summer of that year.
The music plays with references to operatic language, 19th century musical Romanticism, classic Hollywood soundtracks, combined with the group's usual musical style.