Past Meetup

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) - Severance Hall

Details

THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL EVENT - THIS POSTING IS FOR YOUR INFORMATION ONLY - AN EVENT HOST WILL NOT ATTEND - NO DISCOUNT IS BEING OFFERED.

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THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA* (1925)

Drama (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movie/browser?movietype=1&genre=9), Horror (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movie/browser?movietype=1&genre=10), Classics (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movie/browser?movietype=1&genre=5)

Directed By: Rupert Julian (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/rupert_julian/)

Written By: Raymond L. Schrock (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/raymond_l_schrock/),Elliott J. Clawson (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/elliott_j_clawson/)

Staring: Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin

Severance Hall on Tuesday, October 28 @ 7:30 p.m.

On October 28, one of the greatest horror films ever made, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA* will be presented at Severance Hall with acclaimed organist Todd Wilson accompanying the film with improvised live music on Severance Hall’s mighty Norton Memorial Organ

Experience Halloween with one of the greatest horror films ever made. In this classic 1925 movie about romance and murder, the love-obsessed Phantom (Lon Chaney) haunts the Paris Opera House in pursuit of Christine (Mary Philbin). The fully improvised accompaniment features Severance Hall’s mighty Norton Memorial Organ, considered one of the finest concert organs ever built.

*Please note that The Cleveland Orchestra does not appear on this program.

Celebrity Series Sponsor: PNC Bank

With the film projected on a large screen
above the Severance Hall stage and
film music played and improvised on
Severance Hall's Norton Memorial Organ.

http://photos1.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/7/6/7/c/600_400530332.jpeg

Please note that The Cleveland Orchestra does not perform on this concert.

Severance Hall
October 28 – Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Phantom of the Opera *
Todd Wilson, organ

Film + Organ at 7:30 p.m.

Experience Halloween with one of the greatest horror films ever made. Accompanying the film with improvised live music is acclaimed organist Todd Wilson. In this classic 1925 movie about romance and murder, the love-obsessed Phantom (Lon Chaney) haunts the Paris Opera House in pursuit of Christine (Mary Philbin). The fully improvised accompaniment features Severance Hall’s mighty Norton Memorial Organ, considered one of the finest concert organs ever built.

*Please note that The Cleveland Orchestra does not appear on this program.

Celebrity Series Sponsor: PNC Bank

Lon Chaney stars as Erik, the Phantom, in what is probably his most famous and certainly his most horrifying role.

Produced by Universal, the film shot in 1923 and shelved for nearly two years, and was subjected to intensive studio tinkering. While many expected a disaster, the film turned out to be a rousing success. It was both the stepping off point for Chaney's run as a superstar at MGM and the prototype for the horror film cycle at Universal in the 1930s.

The story concerns Erik, a much-feared fiend who haunts the Paris Opera House. Lurking around the damp, dank passages deep in the cellars of the theater, he secretly coaches understudy Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) to be an opera star. Through a startling sequence of terrors, including sending a giant chandelier crashing down on the opera patrons, the Phantom forces the lead soprano to withdraw from the opera, permitting Christine to step in. Luring Christine into his subterranean lair below the opera house, the Phantom confesses his love. But Christine is in love with Raoul de Chagny (Norman Kerry).

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The Phantom demands that Christine break off her relationship with Raoul before he'll allow her to return to the opera house stage. She agrees, but immediately upon her release from the Phantom's lair, she runs into the arms of Raoul and they plan to flee to England after her performance that night. The Phantom overhears their conversation and, during her performance, the Phantom kidnaps Christine, taking her to the depths of his dungeon. It is left to Raoul and Simon Buquet (Gibson Gowland), a secret service agent, to track down the Phantom and rescue Christine. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA rates a 90-percent FRESH on Rotten Tomatoes

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL MEETUP EVENT. THIS POSTING IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY - NO DISCOUNTED TICKET WILL BE OFFERED.

Severance Hall Box Office (click here) (http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/en/1415-concerts/1415-tco-celebrity-series/2014-10-28-phantom/?performanceNumber=12520)

Who: Todd Wilson on the keyboard of The Norton Memorial Organ

What: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)

When: October 28 – Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Severance Hall in University Circle

TICKET PURCHASE and PERFORMANCE PARKING INFORMATION

Concerts take place at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland.

For more information, call Cleveland Orchestra Ticket Services at[masked] or[masked] or visit online at clevelandorchestra.com (http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/).

The Severance Hall Ticket Office is located on street level in the Smith Lobby. The entrance and 15-minute Ticket Service parking are along the west side of the building, on East Boulevard. Severance Hall Ticket Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. From September through May, the Ticket Office is also open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Sundays and holidays except for those days with performances, when the Ticket Office will be open 3 hours prior to each performance).

For information about parking for Severance Hall concerts, click here (http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/plan-your-visit/directions--parking/parking-at-severance-hall/).

Parking Information –

A variety of parking options are available for concerts at Severance Hall, including guaranteed pre-paid parking passes (purchased through the Ticket Office or via this website) for many but not all events.

CAMPUS CENTER GARAGE - The Case Western Reserve University Campus Center Garage is located directly adjacent to Severance Hall (parking entrance is off East Boulevard), with stair and elevator access to Severance Hall. Event parking in the Campus Center Garage can be purchased for $11 per vehicle when space permits. However, the garage often fills up well before concert time and only patrons who purchase pre-paid parking passes are ensured a parking space.

Pre-Paid Parking for the Campus Center Garage can be purchased for many concerts in advance for $15 per concert by calling the Ticket Office or through this website. Pre-paid parking guarantees you a space, but availability of pre-paid parking passes is limited.

HOW TO BUY PRE-PAID PARKING If you are purchasing online via this website, you will have the opportunity after selecting your concert tickets to add pre-paid parking (if pre-paid parking is available for your performance) to your order. Please note that each pre-paid parking pass is for a specific date and concert).

If you have already purchased concert tickets, you can still purchase pre-paid parking online by locating the car icon at the top righthand side of the orchestra's event page. The text with the icon will show you whether pre-paid parking is available. Click on the link.

Parking can also be purchased through the Ticket Office by calling[masked]-1111.

Limited additional event parking is available in the Case Western Reserve University Lot 1 off Euclid Avenue across from Severance Hall, or at the University Circle Lot 13A on Adelbert Road, and at the Cleveland Botanical Garden parking garage on East Boulevard. Space at these lots may be particularly limited during weekday daytime hours. Some on-street parking is also available, but often fills up well before curtain time.

PARKING MAP For a printable map of parking areas surrounding Severance Hall, click here (http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/ClevelandOrchestra/1314/pdf/tickets/Severance-Hall-Parking-Information.pdf).

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Todd Wilson – Organist

Todd Wilson is an American organist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organist). He is head of the organ department at Cleveland Institute of Music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Institute_of_Music), house organist at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Hywet_Hall_and_Gardens) in Akron and organ curator of the Cleveland Orchestra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Orchestra). In 2010 he became organist at Trinity Cathedral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Cathedral_(Cleveland,_Ohio)) in Cleveland, and in 2011 accepted the role of choirmaster, succeeding Horst Buchholz.

Todd Wilson

Regarded across America and around the world as one of today’s finest concert organists, Todd Wilson serves as head of the Organ Department at CIM. In addition, he is Curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Severance Hall (home of The Cleveland Orchestra), and serves as Director of Music and Worship at Cleveland's Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal), where he plays the Cathedral's Flentrop organs. He also is House Organist for the newly-restored Aeolian organ at the Stan Hywet Home & Gardens in Akron, and teaches at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Wilson received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied organ with Wayne Fisher. Further coaching in organ repertoire was with Russell Saunders at The Eastman School of Music.

He has won numerous competitions, including the Grand Prix de Chartres (France) and the Ft. Wayne Competition. An active member of the American Guild of Organists, Mr. Wilson holds the Fellow and Choirmaster certificates. He was a featured performer for the Centennial National Convention of the Guild in New York City in July 1996 and at the 2008 National Convention of the Guild in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Todd Wilson has been heard in concert in many major cities throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, including concerts at Symphony Hall (Birmingham, UK), Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center and Uihlein Hall in Milwaukee. In June of 2003 he dedicated the organ in the new 21,000-seat Mormon Conference Center in Salt Lake City, in October 2004 he performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra on the first orchestra subscription series concert featuring the new organ at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and in January 2005 he performed his Japan debut recital in Tokyo. He has appeared as a solo recitalist for Austrian Radio in Vienna as well as in concert with the Slovakian Radio Symphony. Past orchestral appearances include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, members of the Atlanta Symphony, the Naples (FL) Philharmonic, the Calgary Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, the Canton Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, the Ft. Worth Symphony and the Orchestra at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

A sought-after adjudicator, Todd Wilson has been a jury member for numerous national and international playing competitions. An active interest in improvisation has led to his popular improvised accompaniments to classic silent films.

Wilson on the Norton Memorial Organ -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv0fpnv1fhk

NORTON MEMORIAL ORGAN

E.M. Skinner, Opus 816
Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio
1931

The Norton Memorial Organ in Severance Hall is considered to be one of the finest concert hall organs ever built. Designed specifically for symphonic use and specifically for Severance Hall, the Norton Memorial Organ was created by the renowned organ builder Ernest M. Skinner in Boston in 1930, and it was installed just before the hall’s opening on February 1931. It was dedicated on March 6, 1931, in a special recital performed by Palmer Christian, the prominent American organist from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The organ was named in memory of Mr. and Mrs. David Z. Norton, recognizing a contribution from their children, Miriam Norton White, Robert Castle Norton and Laurence Harper Norton, to build the organ. David Norton and his wife had served on the board of trustees of the Musical Arts Association, the parent organization of The Cleveland Orchestra, and Mr. Norton was the Association's first president.

Skinner concert organs are known for their tonal sophistication, mechanical reliability and comfortable touch. To build an organ that would neither compete with nor dominate an orchestra, Skinner created unique voices that blend with and enhance the sound of an orchestra. In addition, he contoured instruments for concert halls around unison pitch rather than the vertical tonal design of the classic organ.

The 94-rank Norton Memorial Organ includes 6,025 pipes made of lead and tin alloy, zinc, and wood. The largest pipe, made of wood, is 32 feet in length, and the smallest, made of metal, is approximately seven inches in length.

The original placement of the organ high above the stage did not meet the Orchestra's acoustical expectations, as the small fly space did not allow the voice of the organ to be fully heard. The installation of an acoustical stage shell in 1958 during the tenure of George Szell rendered the transmission of the organ's sound even more challenging, and it had to be amplified by speakers. From 1958 until the late 1970s, the Norton Memorial Organ was still used in concerts, but it finally fell silent in 1976.

With the strong advocacy of The Cleveland Orchestra's sixth music director, Christoph von Dohnányi, restoring the organ became a key component of the Severance Hall Renovation Project, which was planned during the mid-1990s. In 1996, the Musical Arts Association selected Jaffe Holden Scarbrough Acousticians, Inc., of Norwalk, Connecticut as the renovation project's acoustical consultants and David M. Schwarz Architectural Services, of Washington D.C., as the renovation project's head architect, to be assisted by the local architects-of-record, GSI Architects Inc.

The Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio, was charged with restoring the Norton Memorial Organ as part of the larger project. The company, founded in 1873, is recognized as one of the foremost builders and restorers of pipe organs in the United States and is the oldest such company still under the management of the founding family. In July 1997, the Norton Memorial Organ was removed from Severance Hall and transported to the Schantz factory. The pipes remained in storage during the completion of Severance Hall's renovation [masked]), which included the construction of a new concert stage that features organ façade pipes across the back of the stage. A new organ chamber occupies the space immediately behind this façade, one level above the stage so that the organ speaks directly into the hall.

Once the home for the pipes was completed, the full-scale restoration of the organ pipes and mechanisms proceeded. In June 2000, the Schantz Organ Company began reinstalling the organ pipes within Severance Hall. Throughout the summer and early fall of 2000, experts from Schantz tuned and voiced the organ to return to it the tonal character that Mr. Skinner had created. The reinstallation enabled this magnificent organ to be heard once more ― both as a solo instrument, and in its intended role as sonic partner to The Cleveland Orchestra.

The rededication of the Norton Memorial Organ took place on January 6, 2001, at a gala celebration concert featuring the renowned British organist Thomas Trotter and members of The Cleveland Orchestra’s brass section. It marked the final milestone in the Severance Hall Renovation Project and the beginning of a new life for the hall and its reknowned pipe organ.

This is the famous scene when Christine (played by Mary Philbin) unmasks the Phantom, Erik (played by Lon Chaney).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa3bHKWZoJg

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwTOvc5NHmo

silent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_film) horror film (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror_film) adaptation of Gaston Leroux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaston_Leroux)'s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera). It was directed by Rupert Julian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Julian)and starred Lon Chaney, Sr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Chaney,_Sr) in the title role of the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_Garnier),[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)#cite_note-2) causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he loves a star. The movie remains most famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere.

The picture also features Mary Philbin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Philbin), Norman Kerry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Kerry), Arthur Edmund Carewe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Edmund_Carewe), Gibson Gowland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Gowland), John St. Polis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_St._Polis), and Snitz Edwards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snitz_Edwards). The last surviving cast member was Carla Laemmle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carla_Laemmle) (1909–2014), niece of producer Carl Laemmle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Laemmle), who played a small role as "prima ballerina" in the film when she was about 15.

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Plot summary

The film opens with the debut of the new season at the Paris Opera House, with a production of Gounod (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gounod)'s Faust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust_(opera)). Comte Philippe de Chagny (John St. Polis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_St._Polis)) and his brother, the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny (Norman Kerry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Kerry)) are in attendance. Raoul attends only in the hope of hearing his sweetheart Christine Daaé (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Daa%C3%A9) (Mary Philbin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Philbin)) sing. Christine has made a sudden rise from the chorus to understudy of the prima donna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_donna). Raoul visits her in her dressing room during the performance, and makes his intentions known that he wishes for Christine to resign and marry him. Christine refuses to let their relationship get in the way of her career.

http:// https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN6u28dq4qc

At the height of the most prosperous season in the Opera's history, the management suddenly resign. As they leave, they tell the new managers of the Opera Ghost, a phantom who asks for opera box #5, among other things. The new managers laugh it off as a joke, but the old management leaves troubled.

After the performance, the ballet girls are disturbed by the sight of a mysterious man in a fez (Arthur Edmund Carewe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Edmund_Carewe)), who dwells in the cellars. Arguing whether or not he is the Phantom, they decide to ask Joseph Buquet, a stagehand who has actually seen the ghost's face. Buquet describes a ghastly sight of a living skeleton to the girls, who are then startled by a shadow cast on the wall. The antics of stagehand Florine Papillon (Snitz Edwards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snitz_Edwards)) do not amuse Joseph's brother, Simon (Gibson Gowland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Gowland)), who chases him off. Meanwhile, Mme. Carlotta (Virginia Pearson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Pearson)), the prima donna of the Paris Grand Opera, barges into the managers office enraged. She has received a letter from "The Phantom," demanding that Christine sing the role of Marguerite the following night, threatening dire consequences if his demands are not met. Christine is in her dressing room at that moment, speaking to a phantom voice (which the audience sees as a shadow on a wall behind the dressing room.) The voice warns her that she will take Carlotta's place on Wednesday and that she is to think only of her career and her master.

The following day, in a garden near the Opera House, Raoul meets Christine and asks her to reconsider his offer. Christine admits that she has been tutored by a divine voice, the "Spirit of Music," and that it is now impossible to stop her career. Raoul tells her that he thinks someone is playing a joke on her, and she storms off in anger.

Wednesday evening, Carlotta is ill and Christine takes her place in the opera. During the performance, the managers go to Box 5 to see exactly who has taken it. The keeper of the box does not know who it is, as she has never seen his face. The two managers enter the box and are startled to see a shadowy figure seated. They run out of the box and compose themselves, but when they enter the box again, the person is gone. In her next performance, Christine reaches her triumph during the finale and receives a standing ovation from the audience. When Raoul visits her in her dressing room, she pretends not to recognize him, because unbeknownst to those in the room, the phantom voice is present. Raoul spends the evening outside her door, and after the others have left, just as he is about to enter, he hears the voice within the room. He overhears the voice make his intentions to Christine: "Soon, Christine, this spirit will take form and will demand your love!" When Christine leaves her room alone, Raoul breaks in to find it empty. Carlotta receives another discordant note from the Phantom. Once again, it demands that she take ill and let Christine have her part. The managers also get a note, reiterating that if Christine does not sing, they will present "Faust" in a house with a curse on it.

Erik, The Phantom (Lon Chaney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Chaney,_Sr.)) and Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Philbin))

The following evening, despite the Phantom's warnings, a defiant Carlotta appears as Marguerite. At first, the performance goes well, but soon the Phantom's curse takes its effect, causing the great, crystal chandelier to fall down onto the audience. Christine runs to her dressing room and is entranced by a mysterious voice through a secret door behind the mirror, descending, in a dream-like sequence, semi-conscious on horseback by a winding staircase into the lower depths of the Opera. She is then taken by gondola over a subterranean lake by the masked Phantom into his lair. The Phantom introduces himself as Erik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_(The_Phantom_of_the_Opera)) and declares his love; Christine faints, so Erik carries her to a suite fabricated for her comfort. The next day, when she awakens, she finds a note from Erik telling her that she is free to come and go as she pleases, but that she must never look behind his mask. In the next room, the Phantom is playing his composition, "Don Juan Triumphant." Christine's curiosity gets the better of her, and she sneaks up behind the Phantom and tears off his mask, revealing his hideously deformed face. Enraged, the Phantom makes his plans to hold her prisoner known. In an attempt to plead to him, he excuses her to visit her world one last time, with the condition that she never sees her lover again.

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Released from the underground dungeon, Christine makes a rendezvous at the annual masked-ball, which is graced with the Phantom in the guise of the 'Red-Death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Masque_of_the_Red_Death)' from the Edgar Allan Poe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe) short story of the same name. Raoul finds Christine and they flee to the roof of the Opera House, where she tells him everything that followed the chandelier crash. However, an unseen jealous Phantom perching on the statue of Apollo overhears them. Raoul plans to whisk Christine safely away to London following the next performance. As they leave the roof, the mysterious man with the fez approaches them. Aware that the Phantom is waiting downstairs, he leads Chrstine and Raoul to another exit.

The following evening, Raoul meets Christine in her dressing room. She has heard the voice of the Phantom, who has revealed that he knows their plans. Raoul has arranged for a carriage and reassures her nothing will go wrong.

Backstage, Simon finds the body of his brother hanging by the strangler's noose and vows vengeance. During the performance, the Phantom kidnaps Christine off the stage during a blackout. Raoul rushes to Christine's dressing room, and meets the man in the fez, who reveals himself to be Inspector Ledoux, a secret policeman who has been studying Erik's moves as the Phantom since he escaped as a prisoner from Devil's Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Island). Ledoux reveals the secret door in Christine's room and the two men enter the catacombs of the Opera House in an attempt to rescue Christine. Instead, they fall into the Phantom's dungeon, a torture room of his design. Philippe has also found his way into the catacombs looking for his brother, and a clanging alarm alerts the Phantom to his presence in a canoe on the lake. Phillipe is drowned by Erik, who returns to find the two men in the torture chamber. Turning a switch, the Phantom subjects the two prisoners to intense heat.

The Phantom gives Christine a choice of two levers: one shaped like a scorpion and the other like a grasshopper. One of them will save Raoul's life, but at the cost of Christine marrying Erik, while the other will blow up the Opera. Christine picks the scorpion, but it is a trick by the Phantom to "save" Raoul and Ledoux from being killed by heat — by drowning them. Christine begs the Phantom to save Raoul, promising him anything in return, even becoming his wife. At the last second, the Phantom opens a trapdoor in his floor through which Raoul and Ledoux are saved.

A mob, led by Simon, infiltrates the Phantom's lair. As the clanging alarm sounds and the mob approaches, the Phantom attempts to flee with Christine in the carriage meant for Raoul and Christine. While Raoul saves Christine, the Phantom is pursued and killed by a mob, who throw him into the Seine River (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seine_River) to finally drown. In a brief epilogue, Raoul and Christine are shown on their honeymoon in Viroflay.

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MORE ABOUT THE FILM:

Production

In 1922, Carl Laemmle, the president of Universal Pictures, took a vacation to Paris. During his vacation Laemmle met the author Gaston Leroux who was working in the French film industry. During a conversation they had, Laemmle told Leroux that he admired the Paris Opera House. Leroux gave Laemmle a copy of his 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera). Laemmle read the book in one night and bought the film rights as a vehicle for actor Lon Chaney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Chaney,_Sr.).[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)#cite_note-pttpom-3) Production started in late 1924 at Universal Studios (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Studios) and did not go smoothly. According to the Director of Photography, Charles Van Enger, throughout the production Chaney and the rest of the cast and crew had strained relations with director Rupert Julian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Julian). The first cut of the film was previewed in Los Angeles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles) on January 7 and 26, 1925. The score was prepared by Joseph Carl Breil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Carl_Breil). No information survives as to what the score consisted of other than Universal's release: "Presented with augmented concert orchestra, playing the score composed by J. Carl Briel, composer of music for "Birth of a Nation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_of_a_Nation)". The exact quote from the Opening Day full-page ad in the Call Bulletin read: "Universal Weekly claimed a 60-piece orchestra. Moving Picture World reported that "The music from 'Faust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust)' supplied the music [for the picture]." Due to poor reviews and reactions, the January release was pulled. On advice from Chaney and others, Universal told Julian to re-shoot most of the picture and change the style, as it was feared that a Gothic melodrama would not recoup the film's massive budget. Julian eventually walked out.

Edward Sedgwick (later director of Buster Keaton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buster_Keaton)'s 1928 film The Cameraman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cameraman)) was then assigned by producer Carl Laemmle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Laemmle) to re-shoot and redirect the bulk of the film. Raymond L. Schrock and original screenwriter Elliot Clawson wrote new scenes at the request of Sedgewick. The film was then changed into more of a romantic comedy with action elements than the dramatic thriller that was originally made. Most of the newly added scenes depicted added subplots, with Chester Conklin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_Conklin) and Vola Vale as comedic relief to the heroes and Ward Crane as the Russian, "Count Ruboff" dueling with Raoul for Christine's affection. This version was previewed in San Francisco on April 26, 1925, and did not do well at all, with the audience booing it off of the screen. "The story drags to the point of nauseam", one reviewer stated.

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The third and final version was the result of Universal hold-overs Maurice Pivar and Lois Weber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Weber), who edited the production down to nine reels. Most of the Sedgwick material was deleted, though notably the ending, with the Phantom being hunted by a mob and then being thrown into the Seine River, remained. Much of the originally deleted Julian was reedited into the picture, though some important scenes and characters were still missing. This version, containing material from both the original 1924 shooting and some from the Sedgwick reworking, was then set to be released. It debuted on September 6, 1925, at the Astor Theatre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astor_Theatre_(New_York)) in New York City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City). It premiered on October 17, 1925, in Hollywood, California (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood,_California). The score for the Astor opening was to be composed by Professor Gustav Hinrichs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Hinrichs). Hinrichs' score was not prepared in time, so instead, according to Universal Weekly, the premiere featured a score by Eugene Conte, composed mainly of "French airs" and the appropriate Faust cues. No expense was spared at the premiere; Universal even had a full organ installed at the Astor for the event. (As it was a legitimate house, the Astor theater used an orchestra, not an organ, for its music.)

Makeup

Following the success of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_(1923_film)) in 1923, Chaney was once again given the freedom to create his own make-up as the Phantom, a habit which became almost as famous as the films he starred in. Chaney painted his eye sockets black, giving a skull-like impression to them. He also pulled the tip of his nose up and pinned it in place with wire, enlarged his nostrils with black paint, and put a set of jagged false teeth into his mouth to complete the ghastly deformed look of the Phantom. When audiences first saw The Phantom of the Opera, they were said to have screamed or fainted at the scene where Christine pulls the concealing mask away, revealing his skull-like features to the audience.

Chaney's appearance as the Phantom in the film has been the most accurate depiction of the title character, based on the description given in the novel, where Erik the Phantom is described as having a skull-like face with a few wisps of black hair on top of his head. As in the novel, Chaney's Phantom has been deformed since birth, rather than having been disfigured by acid or fire, as in later adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera.

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Reception

Mordaunt Hall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordaunt_Hall) of The New York Times (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times)' gave The Phantom of the Opera a positive review as a spectacle picture, but felt that the story and acting may have been slightly improved. TIME (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TIME) praised the sets but felt the picture was "only pretty good".

Despite the production problems, the film was a success at the box office, grossing over $2 million.

Re-issue

After the successful introduction of sound pictures during the 1928–29 movie season, Universal announced that they had secured the rights to a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera from the Gaston Leroux estate. Entitled The Return of the Phantom, the picture would be in sound and color.[8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)#cite_note-9) Universal could not use Chaney in the film as he was now under contract at MGM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGM),[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)#cite_note-10) and unbeknownst to the studio, Chaney was already sick from throat cancer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throat_cancer), the disease which would ultimately kill him the following year.

Universal scrapped the sequel idea, and instead opted to re-issue The Phantom of the Opera with a new synchronized score and effects track, as well as new dialog sequences. Directors Ernst Laemmle and Frank McCormick re-shot a little less than half of the picture in sound during August 1929, while the remainder of the film was scored with music and sound effects, with music arranged by Joseph Cherniavsky. Mary Philbin and Norman Kerry reenacted their roles for the sound re-shoot, and Edward Martindel, George B. Williams, Phillips Smalley, Ray Holderness, and Edward Davis added to the cast to replace actors that were unavailable.[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)#cite_note-11) Universal was contractually unable to loop Chaney's dialogue, but "third person" dialogue by the Phantom was looped over shots of his shadow. (The voice-overs are uncredited, but are probably Phillips Smalley.) Because Chaney's talkie debut was eagerly anticipated by film-goers, advertisements emphasized, "Lon Chaney's portrayal is a silent one!"

The sound version of Phantom opened on February 16, 1930, and grossed another million dollars. This re-issue of the film is lost, although the soundtrack discs survive.

Lon Chaney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Chaney,_Sr.) in The Phantom of the Opera

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