Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “Buster Keaton”

Phantom of the Opera

Today’s Trillion $ Movie, Phantom of the Opera, is the signature film of Lon Chaney, “The Man of a Thousand Faces.” Both of his parents were deaf and mute, so Chaney developed uncanny, non-verbal communication skills, rivaling comedians Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin as the silent era’s most expressive pantomime. Making the most of his mastery of makeup, Chaney gravitated toward horror. He personally created the hideous, skeletal look of the Phantom he portrays here. The original came out in 1925, but this trimmed-down 1929 restoration is less clunky, with fewer distracting sideplots.

Owing to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, and scores of remakes and parodies, most everyone knows the story. A physically deformed, emotionally stunted beast dwells in the catacombs below the Parisian Opera House. The arrival of a radiant understudy named Christine (Mary Philbin) brings the Phantom out from the shadows. He dotes obsessively on her, and is determined to make her a star. But he also wants her as a lover — a prospect that repulses her no end, leading to great melodrama and tragedy.

Although newer versions have boasted more gore and special effects, the Chaney classic remains the definitive screen adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Gothic tale. It’s not just his macabre performance that towers above all others, but also the spectacular sets — the eight-ton chandelier, subterranean torture chambers and hidden lairs — that still command our attention.

The feature racked up $2 million at the box office, such a boffo hit that its studio, Universal Pictures, became Hollywood’s horror specialists. Truly, without Phantom of the Opera, we might not have Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man or The Invisible Man. Enjoy, and do return again next Friday for another Trillion $ Movie.




Gangnam Parodies, Round 3

Hats off to the ubermom who created “Buster Gangnam Style” — the best of the movie-themed Gangnam mashups appearing on YouTube. She assembled these clips from more than 20 Buster Keaton pictures. ┬áThe timing throughout is impeccable, but the horse stable, elevator, carousel and romantic interlude scenes are, not just uncanny, they are…priceless.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

“Gangnam Style” gets the old-school video game treatment in Dane Boedigheimer’s “8-bit Gangnam Style.” Boedigheimer is better known as the creator of the Annoying Orange cartoons.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

“Gunman Style,” a parody influenced by Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, although containing more than enough silliness to satisfy fans of Psy.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

The US Naval Academy’s 22nd Company Spirit Spot gets into the act with its own parody.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

And last but not least “Klingon Style.”

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Post Navigation