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Phantom of the Opera, The (1990)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Phantom of the Opera, The (1990) This version stars Charles Dance (The Golden Child, Alien 3) as the Phantom, Teri Polo (Meet the Fockers) as the love interest, and Burt Lancaster (The Island of Dr. Moreau) to lend support. It's an impressive TV mini-series with great production value and a twist to the tale that's very engaging. Rather than being burned in a fire Erik was born deformed, the result of a union between Lancaster and a woman who looked surprisingly like the singer the adult Phantom is now in love with.

For the first two hours, Erik is nothing but a benefactor to the would-be opera star. He becomes more violent only when his love is scorned. The smartest thing done in this movie is to never show the Phantom's hideous visage (which the theatrical Phantom of the Opera, starring Robert Englund and released the same month as this movie aired, did do). In a climactic scene, when the singer begs him to show his face to her, saying she won't be afraid, he unmasks--and she gags and faints. No makeup could do justice to her reaction. Although close to becoming "Phantom of the Soap Opera" at times, this is one of the best Phantom of the Opera movies, not for being the most frightening (that still goes to Lon Chaney), but for being memorable.

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