Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A To Z Challenge-Letter P


Today we are at the letter P so head on over to the A To Z Challenge and find out what everyone else is talking about. I'm excited about this letter because I will be seeing this film, with the help of Chorus Niagara, in May!

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA-1925


DIRECTOR: Rupert Julian and Lon Chaney(Uncredited)
STARS: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
OSCAR NOMS: Oscars were not around yet
OSCAR WINS: See Above
PLOT: A beautiful singer, being secretly trained by someone she has heard but never met, gets her chance at the Paris Opera House. When she falls for the lead, the Phantom, who trained her, abducts her to his underground lair beneath the Opera House. She is told by the phantom to never take his mask off...you know she will not behave.
LOVE: The Masquerade Ball
TRIVIA: Rupert Julian was not well liked and was not doing a great job. Lon Chaney hated him and they often had rows. Think Murder She Wrote where the director is a nasty buffoon who winds up dead and you have many suspects. No worries, Rupert didn't die. As for Lon Chaney, his make-up for this and many other roles, were quite painful but he wanted the effect that was described in the book. For example, he put wire inserts into his nose to widen them and some fish-skin to pull his nose back.

MARY PHILBIN-July 16, 1902-May 7, 1993


OCCUPATION: Actress
OSCAR NOMS: Nil
OSCAR WINS:Nil
ANECDOTE: She was a sweet, shy person who took more after her father than her domineering mother. Mary was very, very close to her parents and ceded to their wishes. She fell in love with Paul Kohner, who was an executive at the studio and was also Jewish. Her parents were horrified but met with him, but things did not go well and the parents told her that if she went with Paul, she would be disowned. Their one fear was that he would try to convert her to Judaism even though Paul stated he would not. Unfortunately, Mary gave back the engagement ring and never married. She took care of her parents, rarely venturing out, until the parents passed away. She did come out when there was a memorial for Rudolph Valentino in the 1980's and for the LA Premier of the musical, Phantom of the Opera. When she heard Paul passed away and that workers found her love letters in a drawer close to him, she was devastated. She also kept the love letters he wrote to her.

58 comments:

  1. Don't get me wrong, we still loved seeing the Broadway show but it was movies like you posted today (I think this version) that we saw the Phantom as a sympathetic character and we didn't see that in the musical and were disappointed. (He was more mean). Visiting from
    If I Only Had A Time Machine

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    1. You are so right, this film is the reason why there have been so many remakes and a musical. Lon Chaney gave such a performance and brought sympathy to the character

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  2. Hi, Birgit!

    Unless I am mistaken, your P post and tomorrow's Q post both feature dramatic, big screen unmaskings that reveal grotesque, disfigured faces. When I report in tomorrow I will let you know if my prediction was correct. :)

    I admired the work of both Lon Chaney Sr. and Lon Chaney Jr. The classic mid 20s silent film Phantom of the Opera is another that I watched and studied in my college film course. Chaney was a pioneering master of makeup and endured pain and discomfort to bring his tortured characters to life on the screen. Mary Philbin was a beauty and was blessed with a long life, albeit not always a happy one.

    Thank you very much for making time to visit me at SDMM yesterday and for writing two excellent comments. Your contributions are always appreciated. Thanks for your ongoing friendship and support. Happy Wednesday to you, dear friend BB!

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    1. They unmasked Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver?

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    2. Oh yes! I didn't even realize about the unmasking part but you are right dear Shady. You are right, my darlink, and it even ties in with the TMP. Lon Chaney gave great pathos to this character which is probably because he was raised by deaf parents so pantomime was a big part of his life. Nope tomorrow is not Quicksilver

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  3. I never saw the movie but did see the play in Toronto. When my oldest was in middle school he was at an arts and music school for budding artists (he drew and played several instruments). We took both the 7th and 8th grade classes on the train from Windsor. It was quite the long weekend.

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    1. It is quite a great film even though it's silent

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  4. I've never seen that version of Phantom of the Opera but I love the Broadway shows.

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    1. The whole reason the Phantom is so sympathetic and tragic is due to Chaney's performance.

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  5. Hi Birgit...another one I have missed.....haven't seen the stage show either,remiss of me I shall add it to my list...might have difficulty finding a copy of this....hugs xxxxx

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    1. I'm actually surprised at how many times I have seen a DVD copy for sale so you never know:) I haven't seen the stage show either but I did see the musical film and thought it was good

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  6. Hi Birgit - I've seen the recent version ... but had no idea there was an earlier one - just as talkies were coming into fashion. Fascinating information and as for Mary Philbin - how very sad ... and unfair of her parents - still that was the way ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/p-is-for-pigs.html

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    1. This was the film that started it all and the phantom's sadness and all is due to Lon Chaney's performance. I felt bad for Mary wh, in the end, made her own choices

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  7. Never seen the movie or the musical although I love the music. Sad story about Mary Philbin.

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    1. The music is really quite beautiful. It is a sad story about this lady

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  8. I read the book. A depressingly long time ago.

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    1. This is one case where I found the movie is better than the book

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  9. I haven't seen this version of the movie, but would like to. That's a sad story about Mary Philbin. Too bad she didn't have the backbone to stand up for herself.

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    1. It's a great movie! It is going to be played here in St. Catharines:) I wish as well she would have stood up to her parents

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  10. I've sen a few versions of this one. Ouch to the wire and nose, blah. That is sad her parents were so overbearing.

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    1. Yes, Lon Chaney did tons of things to himself to achieve an effect.

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  11. That's such a sad story. (Well, not Phantom of the Opera, but we all know that story, right?) It would make a great movie...

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  12. Very sad. She lived a long and lonely life.

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  13. My hubby and I had a Halloween tradition back before the kids and schedules got insane, and we watched at least one Halloween movie classic every week, if not more often during October. Phantom was one of the first. Definitely interesting.

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    1. The scene when he is revealed still is terrifying

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    1. Wow...something to look at especially at Halloween

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  15. Mary Philbin was quite attractive. It's a shame what happened, but that was the times: you didn't marry outside your ethnic group or your religion.

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    1. Very true because it happens even today

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  16. How sad and frustrating about Mary. That was just wrong.

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    1. It was, on her parents part and her own. It would make a great romantic movie

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  17. The Mary story is heartbreaking! More so than the melodramatic plot of the Phantom - which I love, having seen a production in Toronto a couple of times at the Pantages Theater. Have never seen this movie version however!

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    1. Kit it is so sad and so frustrating. Paul did marry someone else and was happy from all accounts but he always had a part of his heart for Mary since he kept her letters very close. Once Mary's parents died she had a few friends, one being Carla Laemmle who took care of Mary once Mary started exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's

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  18. I haven't seen this version of Phantom of the Opera, but I've seen the newest one and the one with Sarah Brightman. Loved both.

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    1. I have the DVD of the silent version but also the musical version which I really enjoyed as well. I haven't seen the musical in the theatre and it was in Toronto forever.

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  19. Such a shame on how anti-Semitic people were (and still are) back then. I have Jewish ancestry (very small) I didn't know I had until I had a DNA test done through ancestry.com

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    1. It truly is disgusting and the sad thing is it is still very much prevalent which is a shame against human beings

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  20. I hope Mary found some happiness. No wonder Lon Chaney's characters looked so grotesque! Shudder.

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    1. I don't know if she did find happiness but I know she had a few good friends and one, Carla Laemmle was with her all the way through. Lon Chaney wore a very heavy contraption on his back that would not make him stand upright when he played the Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and placed these large jagged teeth in his mouth that was so painful that he couldn't wear them for more than 10. Min at a time due to the pain...for another film.

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  21. Of all the incarnations of Phantom of the Opera, I've never seen the Lon Chaney version. Nor did I have any idea what lengths he went to for the role. I'll have to check it out!

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    1. He was a perfectionist. He wrote the info about make up in the Encyclopedia Brittanica back in the 1920's

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  22. Now I have seen this, but on stage, not as a movie, or with Lon Chaney. I saw a documentary on him, though, and they talked about the many ways he got into character, or created the character, as he did in Phantom of the Opera. I remember he was noted as much for his make-up skills, many of which he invented, as he was for his acting ability.

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    1. I would love to see this documentary. He was known for all you mention

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  23. One of the best stories in my opinion. It's powerful. Something you won't forget easily.

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    1. It is a great story and this film is better than the book.

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  24. Birgit,

    I loved watching The Phantom of the Opera when I was a kid but I'm sure it wasn't this one. The Nil's anecdote is so sad! She gave up her chance of love and happiness spending all her days with her parents. Please pass the tissues! 😢

    Thanks for visiting yesterday's Art Sketch "P" Princess & Prince!

    ~Curious as a Cathy

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    1. She did...she wasn't a great actress by any means but she was known to be sweet and kind

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  25. I have several of the older Phantom adaptations on VHS! Sad stuff about Mary Philbin. I didn't realized she'd died relatively recently.

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    1. The one with Claude Rains isn't that great and there is something campy about the one with Herbert Lom. There were quite a few silent film stars that were around u til the 1990's

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  26. Might have to read the book, could be a trifecta here movie, play and book all being good

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    1. I have never seen the musical on stage but I read the book. I actually felt the film is better than the book which is rare

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  27. I've seen it and when I was a young teen I built the Phantom of the Opera model from the Aurora kit. Later I burned it. I was so stupid when I was a kid.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Oh wow! Well, I destroyed many things now that would be worth something if I didn't destroy it

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  28. Mary Philbin so pretty - and Clara Bow was the "It" girl?

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  29. Gee, such a sad story. They never shared a life together. Let that be a lesson to someone today facing similar!

    "Female Scientists Before Our Time"
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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