The Phantom of the Opera (1983)
Article 5960 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Robert Markowitz
Featuring Maximilian Schell, Jane Seymour, Michael York
What it is: Another classic remake
After he becomes disfigured while taking vengeance on the people who humiliated his wife and drove her to suicide, a conductor withdraws to the underground of the city and terrorizes the opera house.
Sometimes while watching remakes of this sort, I find myself wondering what exactly the motivation of the makers was in reviving the story for another production. I can understand it if they have a bold new vision for the story or if earlier versions had fumbled in their attempts, but I don’t see either of those motivations playing much of a role in this one. There’s some novelty value in shooting in on location in Hungary, I suppose, and there are a couple of moderately interesting and offbeat characters added to the mix, and there are some mildly arty touches to the proceedings, but these just don’t make up for the fact that this version is glum and necessary. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I like the versions of this story that save the phantom’s backstory for later in the movie; telling it in straight chronological order takes a lot of the mystery out of the proceedings. There’s one good plot twist near the very end of the movie, but that’s really not enough to compensate for the dreariness of this take on the tale.