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Much of this information is thanks to the folks down at Swan Archives.

Phantom of the Paradise

The title of the film is displayed in the opening credits, superimposed over an image of 'The Juicy Fruits', a nostalgic band in the film.
The opening title during the beginning film credits
Based loosely off of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Faust, and briefly mentioning The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Frankenstein, this film musical was written by Brian de Palma, with music by Paul Williams. Ironically, Paul Williams also plays the Satanic record dealer and main antagonist, Swan (the owner of Death Records, the fictional record producers in the film). Within the film, Swan himself never sings on camera, however, he does appear with his singing voice as the later singing voice of Winslow Leach (the main protagonist and Phantom figure of the film).

The Cast and Crew (Credits)

Swan's contract with Winslow
Paul Williams as Swan/Phantom's singing
William Finley as Phantom/Winslow Leach
Jessica Harper as Phoenix
Gerrit Graham as Beef
Raymond Kennedy as Beef's singing
George Memmoli as Philbin
Archie Hahn, Jeffery Comanor, Colin Cameron, and Harold Oblong as The Juicy Fruits/Beach Bums/The Undeads
Rod Serling as Introductory voice

Directed by Brian de Palma
Produced by Edward R. Pressman
Written by Brian de Palma
Music by Paul Williams
Cinematography by Larry Pizer
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Films
Release date(s) October 31, 1974
Running time 92 minutes (approximate)
Country United States
Budget #1,300,000 (USD)
Gross Revenue $5,300,000
Crowd Natives and residents of Dallas, Texas who responded to a cattle call for those interested in being in the film

The Soundtrack (Songs)

1. Goodbye Eddie, Goodbye The Juicy Fruits
2. Faust William Finley
3. Never Thought I'd Get to Meet the Devil William Finley, not on soundtrack
4. Faust (First Reprise) William Finley and Jessica Harper
5. Upholstery The Beach Bums (A comical remake of Faust)

6. Special to Me (Phoenix's audition song) Jessica Harper
7. Faust (Second Reprise) Paul Williams (his voice is heavily edited, and the song itself is excluded from the soundtracks)
8. Phantom's Theme (Beauty and the Beast) Paul Williams
9. Somebody Super Like You (Beef Construction Song) The Undeads
10. Life At Last Raymond Kennedy
11. Old Souls Jessica Harper
12. Hell of It Paul Williams (played during the end credits over clips from the movie mixed with some outtakes, wherein the portrayed actors of the clips were credited)

Recording Company

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Superimposed logo
In the original script, Paul Williams and Brian de Palma had intended for the fictional music studio of Swan's to be known as Swan Song. However, due to conflicts with the fact that this was an  actual label created by Led Zeppelin, the name was changed to Death Records, and the image was changed to that of a dead crow. However, throughout the film, the Death Records label is seen superimposed over former Swan Song record labels. During a particular scene in The Paradise (pictured below), one can even tell that the Swan Song logo was simply left on the banner pictured (click to enlarge).


The Record Press

A still from the record press scene.
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Despite the danger which would inevitably accompany using a real record press or machine, the producers and Brian de Palma believed that this would be the best thing to do. This added realism and, in all reality, true terror to this scene...

The machine they used is actually an injection-molding machine at Pressman Toys, and was a fully functioning machine at the time of the filming. Naturally, Finley was concerned about his well-being with the machine. However, the crew assured Finley that everything was perfectly safe for use. As such, they also installed a myriad of safety procedures to prevent the machine from harming Finley. In addition to having extra crew members watching for errors, the machine was also fitted with foam pads (bearing the Death Records logo and title) which resembled the casting molds in the press, and chocks were also put in place to prevent the machine from closing completely. Despite all of these precautions, however, the machine proceeded to close, destroying the chocks and continuing to close on Finley's head. Fortunately for Finley, he still wore makeup to produce the effect seen in the final scene, as he was pulled before the press could close completely and seriously injure him (also known as he sustained no injury).

The Electronics Room and The Paradise

The electronics room
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Both The Paradise and the electronics room are actual places, contrary to what one would think. In fact, The Paradise's concert scenes and interior originate from Dallas, Texas' Majestic Theater (which is still standing today, though slightly altered), and the many concert-goers are none other than locals who responded to a cattle call for people interested to be in the film. Actually, they basically just walked in and got a tiny part in the film.

Erstwhile, the iconic scene pictured to the right is the site of the electronic room in which Winslow/Phantom both has his voice restored by Swan and composes his cantata. This then-high-tech, science fiction room was actually a room in The Record Plant recording studio. The walls pictured behind Finley and Williams in these scenes were covered with huge knobs and screens to give a technological impression. In all reality, what is behind these knobs is actually a TONTO (The New Original Timbral Orchestra) synthesizer, which is still in use and existence today! The music produced by this machine was actually what inspired many artists, including Stevie Wonder.

Phantom's Cape

The red velvet cape
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Oddly enough, according to Swan Archives, Finley wore a myriad of capes throughout the film. The first in the film (and the first pictured in the film) was a black cape with silver lining. This cape, however, was despised by Finley, who said that it "was impossible to work in... it reflected all sorts of light... it was just terribly designed and I hated it". This so-despised cape was actually the cape he wore in the rainy scene which pictured Finley on the roof of Swanage.

Despite this deep-set hatred of the cape by Finley, he got his wish when the cape was dirtied. In fact, the crew would discard a cape when it became dirty or damaged. This was done for budgeting reasons, and their justification was that if anyone saw, they'd simply retort with "who cares?". Actually, should one watch the film closely, they will notice three different capes used in the final cut of the film: the first the silver-lined, black cape; the second a red satin cape; and, the third a red velvet cape.

The Makeup and More

The Phantom (final scene)
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As with all effect-heavy films, The Phantom of the Paradise has its own genius behind the scenes. Actually, the film had many geniuses behind it...

The first was Sonny Burman, brother to Tom Burman. Sonny, however, was the sculptor of Finley's mask. The design was made by Roseanna Norton and Finley. Erstwhile, Tom was the mastermind behind the makeup effects dubbed as Finley's "face-scarring appliance" and Williams' "face-melting appliance". Like many other passionate, uncredited, unpaid workers behind Phantom of the Paradise, both Burmans went without credit at John Chambers' studios, and their work was attributed to John Chambers. (As an interesting side note, Williams' silver wedding mask was made from the mold of his face obtained during his filming of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, in which he apparently... played... an... urm... orangutan...)

Hell of It

Interestingly enough, the song Hell of It is applied not to Winslow, nor is it referencing Swan. Actually, the song was to be played during Beef's funeral scene. However, this scene was cut from the final film.

The "Extras" and Audience

One of many scenes with unpaid extras
Unsurprisingly, being that the film was set in a concert-type setting, many unpaid locals of Dallas, Texas showed up to be unpaid participants in the films. However, due to the production problems and many cuts and film pieces needed to make the film complete, their partying wasn't exactly as continuous as it was made out to be. Actually, the crowds were forced to endure long waits between cuts. To try and appease the increasingly unruly crowds, the crew tried playing music over the Majestic Theater's PA system. In an effort to calm their nerves, Paul Williams even gave a live performance.

However, as with all films, the filming took a substantial amount of time, and slowly the day passed. As such, people began leaving. As they neared the end of the day, the crew members would encourage concert-goers to "migrate" (as they called it) to make it possible for the camera to have people in its view, no matter where it was pointing. To prevent people from realizing that the same folk were repeatedly showing up, the extras were encouraged to swap jackets and hats with one another, as well as some wearing hats provided from the crew.

Another manner in which they achieved the "HOLY CRAP! HUGE CROWD!" effect for the film was through a technique which isn't exactly unheard of, though it is frowned upon by some. This technique would be the casual hiding of crew members in the crowd, making for many disputed shots of supposed credited folk in the film, as well as many cameo appearances. Some of these notable cameo include the disputed appearance of Brian de Palma in a picture of Phoenix performing during the film, a brief moment in which de Palma is seen on the balcony of the wedding scene, as well as the appearance of editor Paul Hirsch, who is seen in the crowd attending The Undead's performance of 'Somebody Super Like You'. Another interesting shot is that of Jessica Harper from her role as one of Beef's backups in 'Life At Last'. However, only a brief moment is in the final cut, as the producers quickly realized that it was impossible for Harper to get out of her costume and into her white performing dress in the brief time it took the crew to extinguish (the) Beef.

Swan Archives also references ties to the short story of The Picture of Dorian Gray. First off, one must examine the plot. Notice that in both books, the character will trade eternal youth for his soul. In Dorian Gray, Dorian wishes to remain youthful and beautiful forever, just like Swan. However, Dorian's wish is granted through a portrait which ages in his place, taking every misdoing of his as a blemish or sign of aging. In Swan's case, however, the aging process of both of the aforementioned characters
Click to enlarge.
is put on hold with the aid of a deal with the devil (Dorian Gray never once mentions any Satanic dealings), and one of Swan's video diary entries. Of course, this means that the film will age in the place of Swan, so long as it is kept safe from any harm. As such, in both works, the character connected to the art dies upon its destruction.
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As with the instance of the allegations of parodying and satirizing, Swan Archives again makes note of the references to the 1920's German horror film, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. Unlike many other references in the film, this is mentioned only briefly during the Somebody Super Like You scene, in which abstract construction of the set behind the band is seen (pictured above). The reference lies within thenature of the set. The fact that the shadows are painted on, and the fact that the set is made to look a bit fantastical and whimsical,
yet has a bit of a dark twist to it, give the impression of the parodying of the film.

The original Cabinet of Doctor Caligari film was released on February 26, 1920 (in Germany) and March 19, 1921 (America), and was in silent, black and white form. The video's use of shadows and the eccentric face paint (as seen in the image, and similar in style to that worn by the band KISS) are both praised for their artistic value. The film itself is known for introducing the plot twist, and defining the horror film genre.
Of course, the movie itself is littered with dozens more speculative references. Though many of these allegations of references and so-called "copyist" scenes, many of these are parodied. According to Swan Archives, however, the film is a major parody of the 70's culture and ideas. Despite this, here are a few more, smaller parodied things within the film...

Phantom of the Opera is an obvious theme. Dude with deformed face falls in love, hides behind a mask, and then proceeds to go on a rampage. Not too hard to figure the plot out now, is it?

Psycho is another reference in the film. This smaller reference comes into play during the Beef shower scene, in which Winslow dramatically slits the curtain open. This scene is meant as a satirical parody of the infamous shower scene from the Hitchcock film.

Faust is more of a theme, though it comes into play when it boils down to Swan's deals with the devil.
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Beauty and the Beast is yet another parody in the film, emphasized by the song Phantom's Theme, which is also known as Beauty and the Beast. The reference is more in the theme, but holds throughout the film. Ugly dude likes pretty girl. Blah blah blah. We get the point, right?

Frankenstein is briefly shown in the Life at Last scene, as well as small references in the Somebody Super Like You scene. Of course, that's not to say it is Frankenstein, because it's as pretty safe bet that Frankenstein didn't sing while covered in glitter...