The Phantom of the Opera (1962)

Movie Title: The Phantom of the Opera

Year Released: 1962

Rated: Unrated

Runtime: 1h 24min

Genre: Drama, Horror, Music, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Terence Fisher

Writer: Anthony Hinds (as John Elder), Gaston Leroux (composition)

Starring: Herbert Lom, Heather Sears, Edward de Souza, Thorley Walters, Michael Gough, Harold Goodwin, Martin Miller, Liane Aukin, Sonya Cordeau, Marne Maitland, Miriam Karlin, Patrick Troughton

Review: Mysterious mishaps bedevil a London opera house, but when tragedy strikes during an opening night performance, it becomes clear that these "accidents" are the deliberate work of a deranged madman - the Phantom (Herbert Lom).

Hammer Films, after many successful horror icon revivals, offer their shocking take on the classic story - The Phantom of the Opera. It has the classic Hammer Horror style, but sadly, not too much else.

When a young opera singer (Heather Sears) arrives the mysterious Phantom is bemused by her and wants her for his own. A handsome producer (Edward de Souza) comes to her aid and investigates the ghastly goings-on of the monstrous musician. There's also a plot concerning Lord Ambrose d'Arcy, played despicably by Michael Gough, as the corrupt, evil, Weinstein-esqe opera composing fraud. You'll love to hate him!

The film however is fairly standard fare. Not much in the way of shocks and scares, but the Phantom looks especially creepy in his less-is-more mask, and his secret underground lair is an unusual, yet impressive set.

It's a harmlessly fun fright-flick, but most might find it too slow. Not Hammer's best take on a horror icon, but it's still entertaining if you're a fan of what Hammer was belting out in the '60s.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: According to producer Anthony Hinds (in Wayne Kinsey's book "Hammer: The Bray Studio Years"), Cary Grant was originally slated not for the role of the Phantom, as is commonly assumed, but for the romantic lead, eventually played by Edward de Souza.


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