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Overall Rating: 5.0/5.0

THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is and was a Brian de Palma film first released to the public in 1974. This film is a satirical outtake of many of the aspects of the time period, and takes a comical spin on everything from The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari to The Phantom of the Opera. More prominent in its storyline is the Phantom of the Opera type twist and tone. Today, the film is a popular cult film.

Graphics and Effects: 5.0

Overview of the Rating

The Phantom aims for his target
Using techniques revolutionary to the time period, The Phantom of the Paradise creates an unparalleled sense of realism. The film also employs the use of what we now know as split-screen visuals, in which the screen is divided in half to give the viewer a sense of dramatic irony. These tactics not only allow for the viewer to see what is really happening, but also give the viewer a newfound sense of immersion. The makeup is also a characteristic trademark of the film. From Swan's (played by Paul Williams) so-called "face-melting appliance" to Winslow Leech's (played by William Finley) prosthetic facial scarring, the viewer gets a true shock that (if they are unprepared) will make you crap your pants. The film also employs stop-start frame sequencing in addition to dramatic lighting and ingenious camera angles. The film's novel-esque also gives a sense of realism and drama.

Sound and Music: 5.0

Sound Effects

A screenshot featuring a scene
near the end of the film.
The sound effects of The Phantom of the Paradise are phenomenal. The overall tone of the film is enhanced by the seemingly minute details which are so attentively cared for by the crew and staff. 

Not to mention that the sound effects dramatically enhance the mood of every scene. For example: the dramatic scene which first shows Swan in his hall of mirrors and hidden doors is filled with equally dramatic silence broken only by the quiet sounds of Paul Williams' footsteps. I would give far more examples, but I wouldn't dare to ruin the ending of this strange (and maybe even slightly philosophical or political) work of film genius!

Music and Scores

The Juicy Fruits, a fictional band in the film,
perform their song 'Goodbye, Eddy, Goodbye'
during the opening scene of the film.
The music to this film, originally available to the public in the form of a vinyl record, is still available to the public as a soundtrack. Indeed, a spin-off musical has been more recently introduced, though I am unsure if it still plays. Unfortunately, the music is NOT available for purchase on iTunes (iTunes does, however, sell the musical rendition). On a brighter note, the reader may easily purchase this through Amazon or any other (probably off-beat) media or tech store! Though the soundtrack does not feature the scores for this film, the songs are available. In total there are ten songs, all of which were written by Paul Williams, which cover the entire film. Only two songs are missing from the copy of the soundtrack available today (more specifically, 'Never Thought I'd Get to Meet the Devil' and 'Faust (2nd Reprise)' are missing). The music is amazing, and each song has its own quality and tone. From the soul-flavored song 'Phantom's Theme' (this song is also known as 'Beauty and the Beast') by Paul Williams, to the nostalgic flair of 'Goodbye, Eddy, Goodbye' (accredited to The Juicy Fruits), and even to the blast of metal known as 'Somebody Super Like You' (or referred to by the name of the scene it was in, 'Beef Construction Song), this film has it all! Below is a listing of all of the songs featured in the film.
  1. Goodbye, Eddy, Goodbye (The Juicy Fruits)
  2. Faust (William Finley)
  3. Upholstery (The Beach Bums)
  4. Special to Me/Phoenix's Audition (Jessica Harper)
  5. Somebody Super Like You/Beef Construction Song (The Undeads)
  6. Life at Last (Ray Kennedy)
  7. Old Souls (Jessica Harper)
  8. Hell of It (Paul Williams)
  9. Faust (Paul Williams)
  10. Phantom's Theme/Beauty and the Beast (Paul Williams)
[Quick note... The Juicy Fruits, The Beach Bums, and The Undeads are all the same band, but they were renamed thrice within the film.]

If you enjoy the film (heck, even if you absolutely abhor the film) and/or its music, I highly suggest picking up your copy of this soundtrack. The copies are relatively cheap, and can be express shipped.

Acting and Realism: 5.0

Paul Williams plays Swan as he wanders
through the hall of mirrors in his fictional
musical mansion known as The Paradise.
The acting in this film is amazing. The breathtaking makeup and costumes add to the realism, as do the emotional outpouring of every crew member. Each member so professionally extracted and acted dutifully upon their character's personality; from Paul Williams' performance of the demonic record producer and antagonist, Swan; to William Finley's love-struck yet ignorant character and protagonist of Winslow Leech; to Jessica Harper's showing as Leech's love interest, Phoenix. Moreover, each song is performed (both in the movie and on the soundtrack) by the appropriate crew members (as in Paul Williams doesn't sing a song done by Winslow).

Not to mention the spectacular settings and props within the film. Wait a second... Some of you might just notice that all of the places in the film seem to be places you live or have been to. That's because they are! Every single one of the settings is an actual place. This, of course, adds even more to the realism of the film. Indeed, even the mythical and musical playboy mansion and concert hall known only as The Paradise in the film is a still operating theater and opera house located in Dallas, Texas. Not to mention that the crowds are composed of real people. For more information on the film, you can visit Swan Archives and/or our special section devoted to the film!

Product Information
The Phantom of the Paradise

Legal and Promotional Information

The Phantom of the Paradise and all related characters, scenes, merchandise, music, logos, catch phrases, et cetera are property of the 20th Century Fox Entertainment company.
Distributed and released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Produced by Edward R. Pressman (Pressman Williams)
Presented by Harbor Productions
Film color by Movielab

General Film Facts

Released to the public on 31 October 1974
Running Time: About 92 minutes
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Budget (USD): $1,300,000
Gross Revenue (USD): $5,300,000

Major Cast and Crew

Directed by Brian de Palma
Written by Brian de Palma
Music by Paul Williams
Cinematography by Larry Pizer
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Winslow Leech portrayed by William Finley
Swan portrayed by Paul Williams
Phoenix portrayed by Jessica Harper
Beef portrayed by Gerrit Graham
Philbin portrayed by George Memmoli
The Juicy Fruits/The Beach Bums/The Undeads portrayed by...
Archie Hahn, Jeffery Comanor, Harold Oblong

Uncredited and Supporting Cast and Crew

Paul Williams as the singing voice of Phantom
Raymond Louis Kennedy as the singing voice of Beef
Rod Serling as the introductory voice
Betty Buckley as the voice of one of Swan's prostitutes (dub)
Mary Margaret Amato as the Death Records receptionist
Locals of Dallas, Texas portrayed the large crowds within The Paradise
Unpaid cast and crew helped make many of the effects and makeup of the film
Sissy Spacek as the Set Dresser

Filming Locations

Dallas, Texas' Majestic Theater as The Paradise
Old Red (Dallas County Courthouse) used for exterior shots of Swanage
Zales Building (3000 Pegasus Park; Dallas, TX) for the exterior of Death Records
Greystone Mansion (Beverly Hills) as the interior of Swanage
Phantasmagoria Club/Allison Wonderland (Dallas) for the opening performance scene

Content Rating

Official MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)
Personal Rating: Between PG and PG-13 based on maturity
"Profane" Language Used: Fag
High shock content (unmasking scenes)
Possibly disturbing scenes (dude getting head crushed in record press)
Sensual content (some pretty skimpy clothing and what I think are prostitutes all over)
Moderate violence
Drug references (Cocaine, tobacco)
Suicide references
Demonic references (deal with the devil)
6/19/2011 01:00:09 pm

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7/14/2012 12:58:26 am

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