The cultural influence of The Phantom of the Opera is both indelible and undeniable. It is a celebrated novel, a Broadway classic, and has been made and remade for the stage, the silver screen, and even a Disney Channel TV movie entitled The Phantom of the Megaplex (2000), which references the 1925 silent film. Because of such an impact on pop culture, it is no surprise that one of the first film adaptations of Gaston Leroux’s novel would premiere relatively close to the inception of cinema as an art form. Therefore, the 1925 silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera remains one of the most important and hauntingly beautiful films in cinematic history.
Given the versatility of Lon Chaney as a silent film star, his portrayal of the eponymous phantom remains one of the most iconic performances ever captured on film. Mary Philbin also does great work as Christine Daae, the beautiful leading lady that becomes the obsession of the horrific phantom. Some moments in the film are a bit terrifying, but that is because the phantom really is like a ghost that haunts the famed Paris Opera House.
A unique aspect of this silent film version is it fits well within the horror film genre (which makes sense because a “phantom” is a type of ghost). It is slightly different from the Broadway musical because Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation focuses more on the romantic aspects of the story while this film openly displays the frightening aspects of that same plot. Even though this film can be scary, it is still a fantastic film given the fact that it was made during one of the earliest stages of film history.
The Phantom of the Opera will always remain one of the most famous stories ever conceived by the human imagination. Gaston Leroux gave the world one of the greatest characters of all time when he published his original novel serially between 1909 and 1910. It is clear that the phantom will haunt the minds of readers and film lovers for years to come.
The Phantom of the Opera (1925) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time the film features lavish production design (particularly the opera house itself and the catacombs underneath it)
Take a Drink: every time the Phantom seduces Christine and refers to himself as “her master”
And Do Not Be Sober: when the mask comes off