By special request today’s Sunday Matinee is in honour of the 40th anniversary of Brain De Palma’s 1974 cult favourite Phantom of the Paradise. The movie was a released on Halloween in 1974 to bad reviews and poor box office results. It bombed everywhere except of all places, Winnipeg where it played non-continuously for a couple years.
The story is a mix of Phantom of the Opera, Faust and The Picture of Dorian Gray but set in a more modern (well 1970’s) setting. William Finley stars as Winslow, an up and coming musician/composer. Paul Williams is Swan an evil record producer who is opening a concert hall called Paradise. Swan wants Winslow’s music for Paradise and steals it. When Winslow tries to get his music back Swan has him beat up and falsely sent to prison on drug charges.
Winslow discovers that his music is being used for a band produced by Swan so he breaks out of prison. He makes his way to the studio where he tries to destroy a record press that’s making the albums. He gets into a fight with a guard and he gets face and voice destroyed in the record press. He dons a mask and cape and becomes the Phantom.
Paul Williams wrote all the songs for the film as well as played the bad guy. The film has gained a large following over the years, it’s not just limited to people from Winnipeg. The movie was also a hit in Paris, France and the members of Daft Punk saw it there and became huge fans of the film. They even collaborated with Paul Williams on one of their albums. Shout Factory just released a 2 disc blu ray set in honour of it’s 40th anniversary and a few sites have discussed the film’s appeal. The was also a special showing in the summer that had most of the cast there to discuss the making of the film.