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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 1 August 2002
I first saw this movie in the 70s as a double bill with "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", which was the film I actually went to see. I'd never heard of "Phantom" before, but enjoyed it far more than "TRHPS". The movie is best described as a black comedy/theatrical rock/horror/fantasy, you'll see what I mean. Based loosely around the "Phantom Of The Opera" story and the legend of "Faust", but in a modern (70's) rock setting. Directed by the now legendary Brian De Palma, he brings excellent performances from Paul Williams (deminutive American singer/songwriter, best known in the UK for the "Bugsy Malone" score) as the villan, Gerrit Graham as the brilliantly camp character "Beef", and William Finley as the "Phantom" (how anyone can convey such emotion with just one eye showing still amazes me). De Palma also uses his split screen technique to good effect. Looks very dated, but apparently a cult classic now (I thought it was just me). This is a movie you'll love or hate. Definately different. Hope this was helpful to you.
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on 14 March 2014
*****THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE ARROW BLU-RAY******************

Picked this up directly from Arrows site in order to get it early. I've been a big fan of this film for many years. Phantom is a psychedelic rock opera that fuses Phantom of the Opera, Faust and the picture of Dorian Grey together with an excellent soundtrack from Paul Williams, who also appears as the villainous record Executive Swann.

Swann steals naive songwriter Winslow Leach's work and has him framed and sent to prison. After escaping he becomes horribly disfigured 'phantom' who haunts Swann's club the Paradise, sabotaging giggs and trying to further the career of the girl he loves, Phoenix (Jessica Harper) The whole film uses its dark faustian storyline to take major swipes at the money men who take artists work and corrupt it in order to make money. While the films plot seems to mainly be aimed at the music industry it could easily apply to film. Swann not only steals Leach's work and identity but in one memorable scene even steals his voice. The music is excellent and the whole film holds up well to this day. Certainly in my opinion it even gives Tommy a run for its money!

Arrows Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent. It's loaded with bonus features from a previous French release. It's important to note here that the French documentary has clips from the film that look too bright and lacking in detail suggesting that Arrow may have even gone back to the source material and improved things somewhat. So if you already have that French release it might be worth considering ditching it for this. It also has a new bonus feature as well, a conversation between Guillermo Del Toro and Paul Williams that is also very interesting to watch and new to this Arrow release.

Overall then I would say this is well worth checking out. The film is certainly very different to a lot of DePalma's other films but really delivers the goods. You certainly won't see anything like it.
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on 26 April 2016
Phantom is one of those cult classics that lots of people know about, but far fewer have actually sat down and watched. It's a splendidly bonkers piece of cinema that features many of de Palma's signature moves (more than one of which was shamelessly cribbed from Alfred Hitchcock and yes, there's a shower scene, although it's considerably funnier than Hitch's). Despite the film setting out exactly the tone it's going for right from the start (with an uncredited voiceover by The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling), Twentieth Century Fox had absolutely no idea what to do with the end result, and it failed to find an audience on its initial showing. Yet here we are, more than 40 years later, with a release that really tries to do the film justice.

The performances by the main cast are all memorable - Jessica Harper puts her heart and soul into her performance; Gerrit Graham's gloriously over-the-top stint as frontman "Beef" foreshadows Tim Curry's performance as Frank N Furter by a whole year, and William Finley as Winslow manages to convey more emotion in close-ups of his left eye than other actors manage with their entire body. Despite being a songwriter rather than an experienced actor, Paul Williams manages to stand up to Finlay's performance as the demonic impresario who steals Winslow's songs - a nice touch, given that it was Williams who actually wrote them all in the first place. There are cinematic nods aplenty and aficionados can count the number of times that the producers failed to spot and cover up the "Swan Songs" logo that had to be removed after Led Zeppelin's lawyers got in touch; movie geeks will spot a familiar name listed in the credits as set dresser. Extras include a documentary with interviews with the main cast and comments by director de Palma. Rather disconcertingly for an English release, all the captions that appear on the documentary are in French. This isn't explained at all and I only discovered the reason for this from reading other reviews here!

The disc would easily have got five stars, but it loses one star because the four-channel surround soundtrack has some really unpleasant phasing effects during certain sections of the film. They are quite distracting.
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on 28 January 2006
If you have slipped upon this out of curiousity make sure you click and buy it now. Featuring tremendous direction, great performances and superb songs this is the movie Rocky Horror wishes it was. Great fun
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on 1 December 2004
Great film, great soundtrack (be wary of the CD though, see my review on that) A brilliant satire on the Rock industry mixed with a touch of Phantom of the Opera and possibly just a nod to The Rocky Horror Show. Well worth buying for "Beefs" antics alone.
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on 30 November 2015
YEP THIS IS A GOOD MOVIE AND COMPARED TO THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW THIS WINS !
THERE IS A GREAT PART WHEN THE PHANTOM ' BEFORE HE BECOMES THE PHANTOM HAS HIS HEAD SHOVED IN A RECORD PRESS AND A VINLY LP MELTED TO HIS FACE !
AND A GREAT SHOWER / PLUNGER SCENE .
BUT THE BEST PART IS WHEN ' BEEFY ' THE SINGER OF THE ROCK BAND WHO LOOKS LIKE HE COULD OF BEEN THE FATHER OF ANDY BELL (ERASURE) GETS ELECTRICUTED !
THE SONGS ARE GOOD AND IT HAS SOME REALLY FUNNY PARTS . LOVE THE KURUPT SHORTARSE RECORD PRODUCER WHO LIKE TO GET HIS CLIANTS TO SIGN A RECORD CONTRACT IN BLOOD BEFORE HE RIPS THEM OFF !
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on 18 February 2016
A very seventies pseudo-horror comment on the music business . Great music and songs by Paul Williams who also stars as Swan , and a cute performance from Jessica Harper as Phoenix . An underated movie which has aged well .
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on 10 June 2015
The film is something special but I'm presuming you've seen it and want to know about the extras. Well, they are good but there is another release which has a cast commentary and this doesn't have it. Never the less, it's a cheap price and the other extras are very interesting.
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on 5 May 2014
Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise is really unlike anything you have ever seen. Think Phantom of the Opera but with a rock funk 70s fusion and you're getting close. But not close enough. The Phantom is played by the late great William Finley whose music career aspirations get sold down the river by the seemingly evil Simon Cowellesque Swan played brilliantly by Paul Williams. Swan is obeyed and loved by EVERYONE, but is a real weasel and with those glowing locks of hair, his small height and that cheeky smile that a million dollars could not buy, Williams fits the part perfectly. He needs the Phantom's music, but he also needs rid of him.

The beautiful Jessica Harper who is perfect here plays Phantom's would be lover, but turns to the darkside quick enough- what does the Phantom have to live for? Well he could stick around and watch B movie hero Gerrit Graham bang out a few pumping tracks of his own.

Completely over the top, razzamatazz, but the film never loses its grip and its sense of being a very great film. Not for everyone, but for the rest of us, Phantom of the Paradise deserves our attention.
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on 9 January 2015
This is the best of Arrow's excellent Brian De Palma Blu-ray releases so far. This gloriously inventive and colourful musical has never looked and sounded better. Paul Williams' genius songs, Jessica Harper's beauty (and great singing voice!), Gerrit Graham's hilarious Beef...all shine as never before. Why De Palma never attempted another musical is beyond me, his flamboyant visual style is perfectly suited to the medium. All this and you get a bucketload of extras and lengthy full-colour booklet. Thank you Arrow!
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