Combustible Celluloid
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With: Julian Sands, Asia Argento, Andrea Di Stefano, Nadia Rinaldi, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, István Bubik, Lucia Guzzardi, Aldo Massasso, Zoltan Barabas, Gianni Franco, David D'Ingeo, Kitty Kéri, John Pedeferri, Leonardo Treviglio, Massimo Sarchielli
Written by: Dario Argento, Gérard Brach, Giorgina Caspari, based on a novel by Gaston Leroux
Directed by: Dario Argento
MPAA Rating: R for violence/gore and sexuality
Running Time: 100
Date: 11/20/1998

The Phantom of the Opera (1998)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Unlike Gaston

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Dario Argento's The Phantom of the Opera is considered one of his weakest films, and for good reason. It's a weird film, adapted from Gaston Leroux novel, but with a non-disfigured Phantom, some gratuitous gore, and some other odd touches that are just head-scratching. Raised by rats in the bowels of the opera house, the Phantom (Julian Sands) somehow has a hidden treasure and can communicate via telepathy. He falls in love with singer Christine Daaé (Dario's daughter Asia Argento), and tries to eliminate the show's star, the grotesque Carlotta (Nadia Rinaldi), so that Christine can shine. The falling chandelier is here, but so is a jaw-dropping rat-catching machine, and a scene in which the Phantom seems to be kissing a bunch of rats. On the plus side, Ennio Morricone provided the music. Kino Lorber released the film on Blu-ray in 2022, with a commentary track by film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson, who try their very best to find value in the film. Other extras include interviews with Dario Argento, set designer Massimo Antonello Geleng, and producer Guiseppe Colombo. At least it's more interesting than the 2004 film.

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