Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

“Phantom of the Paradise” (1974)

IMDb

In the court of King Williams

Talented underground creators. How great it is to be in their worlds! that’s when we get them at the height of their more uncontrolled and pure creativity. unmanipulated, wild. The outcome of what they do when they work within the underground is hardly the best work they produce, but it’s often their more passionate creations, and practically always indicates what they will master when they “grow up”.

Here we have a film that exists in 3 levels (at least 3 that matter to me):

– this is a film within a social and cultural context. The kind of music we hear here (not the multiple parodies, but the music that is intended to be “good”) was a reaction to the 60′, or the next step of the evolution. Within the same underground spirit that created this film, there was a growing tendency to extend and invent forms that would accommodate the fantasies of new musicians. That’s what today we know as progressive rock. This film would pave the way for Tommy, for Live at Pompei, and for The Wall.

– Paul Williams, great mind, great talent. Much of what works here is his vision, from the mood even to some roots of the story. His parodies are great, but his real stuff is good enough. I enjoyed getting to know him better, and it Is funny that he comes to perform the guy who steals his own music.

– de Palma, who was my first interest when coming to this. The fact is i didn’t know so well what to expect, and i ended up appreciating more the other levels than this one of the director. Apparently by this time he had clarified what he wanted to explore, but he was far from mastering any of his enormous visual skills, or this film was such a collective work that he just couldn’t make his personal statement so well. Anyway we have here eventually the first split screen of his career (i’m not absolutely sure of this), something he would take all his careers with incredible results. Other than that, we don’te have his magical camera eye yet.

The story matters only for the fact that we have a battle between creative and money grower, something that all the people involved here might know pretty well back in those days.

Jennifer Harper has a pretty face, and illuminates the set when she sings.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb

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