The New York Times has reprinted their 1943 movie review of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which starred Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster and Claude Rains as The Phantom.
Perhaps there is renewed interest in all things Phantom since Andrew Lloyd Webber recently announced he’d written a sequel to his Phantom musical.
The review of Nelson’s film, which was originally published on October 15, 1943, seems to sum up correctly the weaknesses of this film. True, Nelson sang wonderfully in the film …but that black wig was dreadful. The movie’s main failing seemed to be that it couldn’t decide whether it was a Nelson Eddy film or a horror movie. It didn’t fully succeed either way, and Nelson Eddy obviously felt it didn’t work for him as he left Universal Studios without filming the second picture he’d hoped to make at that studio.
The review reprint also has a color trailer that you can watch!
The fact that the name of Nelson Eddy appears at the head of the cast of Universal’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” which came to the Capital yesterday, is not to be taken as evidence that Mr. Eddy has finally found his role. He is no phantom in this one; he is very much in solid evidence, and his lungs are working as strongly and as loudly as they have ever worked before. Indeed, you might almost think the picture was made just so he might sing. And that is the principal reason why this remake of the old Lon Chaney film is bereft of much of the terror and macabre quality of the original.
Read the rest of the review at the link.