“You don’t seem to understand. Why he can hide everywhere.”
Christine Dubois (Susanna Foster) is a rising soprano with the Paris Opera House. Baritone Anatole Garron (Nelson Eddy) is in love with Christine. So is police inspector Raoul Daubert (Edgar Barrier). An unbeknownst to Christine so is Erique Claudin (Claude Rains). Erique is a pit violinist with the opera house. He is also helping Christine’s career by secretly paying for her singing lessons.
Now after 20 years with the opera house he has lost his job. Without money the singing teacher will not continue Christine’s singing lessons. Erique has written a concerto that if he can have it published will bring in the money he needs. He submits it, but does not hear back. He believes his music has been stolen and he goes into a rage. He kills the publisher. The publisher’s assistant throws acid at him and his face is horribly burned.
Erique hides in the bowels of the opera house. Soon, a series of mysterious crimes begin to plague the theater. The people of the opera house begin to tell stories of a mysterious “phantom” that roams the catacombs beneath the house.
The crimes in the opera house have gotten more serious. And Christine has been the beneficiary of them. Deaths have happened that result in Christine’s rise to stardom. Raoul suspects Erique. Anatole is also suspicious. When Christine is kidnapped Raoul and Anatole are on a desperate search through the opera house’s dark corners and passageways.
“The Phantom of the Opera” was released in 1943 and was directed by Arthur Lubin. The movie is called “Phantom of the Opera” and it stars Nelson Eddie and Susanna Foster so, Oh Yes. There will be singing. And they will be singing opera.
It is the first re-make to be entirely done in sound and color. Of course there were changes done that result in deviation from the book. I’m not sure that the choice of Claude Rains as the phantom was the right one. He’s not exactly imposing. From my understanding the original script called for Rain’s character to be Christine’s long lost father instead of an unrequited love. Neither one seems appropriate to me. Thus, the movie doesn’t really gel. Erique seems more mad than sympathetic. I would have preferred someone else in the role. Especially on the underground river. What should have been mysterious and haunting seemed just kinda creepy.
Nelson Eddie was good and Susanna Foster was wonderful. The sets were appropriately lavish as were the costumes. I would have preferred more phantom and less singing. Provided they had an appropriate phantom. Sorry, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
The auditorium and stage of the Paris Opera House seen here was the same set built for the 1925 version. It has been used for many other productions, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (1967) and “The Sting” (1973). It is the oldest remaining film set in the world and rumored to be haunted. The bronze sculpture of Christine Dubois (Susanna Foster) was actually made by co-star Nelson Eddy, who was an accomplished sculptor.