Friday, October 20 8:15PM
“Phantom of the Opera” – Silent w’ LIVE Organ Starring Lon Chaney, Sr., Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry. Directed by Rupert Julian. 1925, 80mins., B&W.
If Universal Pictures’ 1925 “Phantom of the Opera” did not invent the horror movie, it certainly set the mold that would become the genre’s hallmarks in the 1930s with such subsequent films as “Dracula”, “Frankenstein” and “The Wolfman” – also all Universal. Phantom’s moody sets and murky patterns of shadows and light were heavily influenced by German Expressionism, and that look became the lexicon of horror on screen in the next decade. And the striking yet repulsive appearance of the Phantom himself -- created by Chaney who, besides acting, was also arguably Hollywood’s first make-up genius -- set a remarkably high standard of expectation in audiences, which spurred the creation of Universal’s iconic monsters in the Talkie Era.
Of course, the silent The Phantom of the Opera is more than just an avatar of Universal’s later horror dynasty; it is a remarkable work in its own right. The melodramatic tale of a deformed man, an abused outsider all his life, searching for love in a world of socialites repulsed by his presence moves audience even as it scares them. As the Phantom, Chaney – one of the greatest actors of the Silent Era – created such a riveting but empathetic villain that it is nearly impossible not to root for him. And then there is the alchemic mix of horror, melodrama and Expressionism with the sound of a live theatre organ: it pierces the soul in a way that nothing else can.
It is tribute to the power of Chaney’s performance and of the whole production that this silent movie is still one of the most famous films of all time, later decades’ worth of technological development from sound to CGI notwithstanding.
Don’t miss this chance to see it as it was originally enjoyed – with LIVE organ accompaniment, played on the Loew’s Wonder Morton by Bernie Anderson, Jr.
Admission: $10 Adults / $8 Seniors & Kids
The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, NJ. (201) 798-6055 loewsjersey.org [email protected]" target="_blank. We are located directly across JFK Blvd from the JSQ PATH Station with trains to New York & Newark’s Penn Station. Close to NJ Turnpike & Holland Tunnel. Discounted off street parking in Square Ramp Garage.
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