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Trivia / The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

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  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #83.
  • Creator Backlash: Lon Chaney was quite vocal about his hatred of the Focus Group Ending
  • Enforced Method Acting: For the 1925 version, Lon Chaney never told Mary Philbin just how awful he would look for the unmasking scene. Her frightened reaction to it is completely authentic. The more well-known 1929 version is normal acting and is a bit more hammy as well.
  • Focus Group Ending: The filmmakers initially intended to preserve the original ending of the novel, and filmed scenes in which the Phantom dies of a broken heart at his organ after Christine leaves his lair. Because of the preview audience's poor reaction, the studio decided to change the ending to a more exciting one. Edward Sedgwick was hired to provide a climactic chase scene, with an ending in which the Phantom, after having saved Ledoux and Raoul, kidnaps Christine in Raoul's carriage. He is hunted down and cornered by an angry mob, who beat him to death and throw him into the Seine.
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  • Hostility on the Set: According to director of photography Charles Van Enger, Lon Chaney and the rest of the cast and crew had strained relations with director Rupert Julian. Eventually the star and director stopped talking, so Van Enger served as a go-between. He would report Julian's directions to Chaney, who responded "Tell him to go to hell." As Van Enger remembered, "Lon did whatever he wanted."
  • Missing Episode: A complete cut of the 1925 version was believed to have been lost to time for decades, until the British Film Institute discovered a copy in 2011 and released it on DVD two years later.
    • The first script was a close adaptation of Leroux and included scenes from the novel that never appeared in the released film, such as the Phantom summoning Christine to her father's graveyard in Brittany, where he poses as the Angel of Music and plays "The Resurrection of Lazarus" on his violin at midnight. The scene was filmed by Rupert Julian but excised after he left the project.

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