Gregory Peck's earliest movie memory is of being so scared by The Phantom of the Opera at age 9 that his grandmother allowed him to sleep in the bed with her that night.
Lon Chaney devised his own make-up.
Lon Chaney put egg membrane on his eyeballs to give them a cloudy look.
Lon Chaney was claimed, by a few sources, to have taken over direction of several of the scenes he was in, allegedly including the famous unmasking scene.
Rupert Julian fought constantly with the cast and crew. Julian and Lon Chaney were not on speaking terms for most of the production, and had to communicate through intermediaries. Norman Kerry actually charged at Julian while riding a horse, knocking Julian to the ground in front of a group of onlookers.
Edward Sedgwick directed a few scenes after director Rupert Julian walked off the set after heated arguments with cast and crew.
Ben Carré was called in to design the sets, and although he had worked at the Paris Opera House, he had already been living in California for some time doing sets.
A Jewel Production. Unlike most of its peers, Universal never owned a theater chain (ultimately, a wise decision given the 1949 Supreme Court anti-trust decision that would threaten the livelihood of many of its competitors). As a result, in 1916, Carl Laemmle devised a 3-tiered branding system to market its features to independent theater owners: Red Feather (low-budget programmers), Bluebird (mainstream releases) and Jewel (costly prestige productions). The studio would abandon branding altogether by the end of 1929.
During the climactic chase through the streets of Paris, the Cathedral from _The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923/I)_ (q.v.) can be clearly seen.
Filmed in Stage 28 at Universal Studios, Hollywood.
For the 1929 sound version, Universal purchased a pipe organ from the Robert Morton Organ Company in Van Nuys, CA. It was installed on Stage 10, which was first used for filming and quickly converted for scoring music as well as doing Foley sound effects work. The organ was used for scenes where Erik plays the organ in his basement lair. It was used in several Universal feature film scores including Bride of Frankenstein and Ghost Story, as well as episodes of various TV series produced by the studio. It was sold sometime in the late 1990s.
Included among the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Jay Schneider.
Inside sound stage 28, part of the opera house set continues to stand to the side where it was filmed some eight decades ago making it the oldest standing interior film set in the world. Though it remains impressive, time has taken its toll and it is very rarely used. Urban legends claim the set remains because when workers have attempted to take it down in the past there have been fatal accidents, said to be caused by the ghost of Lon Chaney Sr.
On October 31, 2008, this film was screened at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with live musical accompaniment by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Ads contained a tag line that was a clever twist on that for Alien: "In silent films, no one can hear you scream".
Several sequences were shot in various color processes for the top general release prints. Technicolor was used for scenes from FAUST and the Bal Masque scene, Prizmacolor sequences were shot for the "Soldier's Night" introduction, and Handschiegel (a process that uses stamps to hand-color prints) for the Phantom's notes and red cape on the rooftop. Only the Technicolor Bal Masque sequence is known to survive (an IB print from the 1929 re-release).
The film was re-released in sound in 1929 using Vitaphone/Western Electric sound disks. Approximately 40% of the film was re-shot in synchronous sound and the rest had a music/soundtrack added or was dubbed over. The Kino edition is a silent version of the 1929 cut (as are, with few exceptions, most others), which was a common practice at the time for theaters that did not have sound systems installed. For the sound edition Lon Chaney was not available, and contractually Universal was not allowed to have vocal synchronization of the Phantom. However, the studio had third-person lines written and dubbed over shots of the Phantom's shadow. The actor who spoke these lines is uncredited, but it is probably Universal regular Phillips Smalley.
The only part of the set sill standing is the Opera House, though the only parts left completely untouched are the boxes and stage sides.
The Phantom's makeup was designed to resemble a skull. Lon Chaney attached a strip of fish skin (a thin, translucent material) to his nostrils with spirit gum, pulled it back until he got the tilt he wanted, then attached the other end of the fish skin under his bald cap. For some shots, a wire-and-rubber device was used, and according to cameraman Charles Van Enger it cut into Chaney's nose and caused a good deal of bleeding. Cheeks were built up using a combination of cotton and collodion. Ears were glued back and the rest was greasepaint shaded in the proper areas of the face. The sight was said to have caused some patrons at the premiere to faint.
The print restored by Kino is a 1929 re-release version that was re-edited, eliminating some scenes and inserting new material shot after the 1925 version was finished. These included a sound sequence with opera star Mary Fabian singing in the role of Carlotta. In the re-edited version, Virginia Pearson, who played Carlotta in the silent 1925 version, is credited and referred to as "Carlotta's Mother" instead.