• Film

    The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

    Lon Chaney’s phantom is a creature that Shakespeare’s Richard III, would have been comfortable with. Someone who, because he cannot prove a lover, is determined to prove a villain. But his villainy is not in pursuit of power, but rather in pursuit of truth, an artistic truth so blindingly real that the woman he loves would have to bow down and admire him. The film is appropriately operatic, both in Lon Chaney’s performance, and in the little touches of scene and scenery. The ballet dancers twirl in fear, the underground chambers are dramatic labyrinths, and one gesture from the monster is enough to make his enemies cringe. The peak of the…