A soap opera!
This story never gets old and certainly not in the hands of director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Anthony Hinds. This is Hammer Film Production’s take on the classic Gaston Leroux novel. It takes itself seriously; too much perhaps, but it’s one of the most qualitative adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera there is. It’s clean, classy, dialogue driven and therefore slow paced.
Though he is neither a ghost nor a revenant, we particularly feel the Phantom’s omnipresence everywhere in the opera, where most of the story happens. The costumes are sumptuous, the set design grandiose, the acting a little stiff but good enough for a period piece. The colors are washed out. The textures are crisp. If you’ve seen Hammer Films, you know what to expect.
What this production lacks in rhythm it compensates for with its aesthetic. This is not a musical but it contains several musical segments. In a nutshell, this story is about a singer who gets kidnapped by her admirer who imposes himself as a music teacher. He’s masked, mutilated, violent, but he is somehow charming. At least Christine, the protagonist, seems to think so...