Phantom of the Paradise

Directed by Brian De Palma

Special 45th Anniversary Screening Hosted by Paul Williams and Edward R. Pressman! // Hosted by Actor and Composer Paul Williams and Producer Edward R. Pressman



Brian De Palma


Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, William Finley, George Memmoli, Gerrit Graham, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Peter Elbling, Janus Blythe


Larry Pizer


Paul Williams


Criterion Pictures

USA 1974 92 mins OV English
Genre ComedyScience-FictionDramaFantasy

“You practically get a kinetic charge from the breakneck wit [De Palma] put into PHANTOM… one can feel the tremendous kick the director got out of making it"
Pauline Kael, NEW YORKER

“Bright, loud, brash, fast and funny… a vicious little satire of the music business”
Jim Knipfel, DEN OF GEEK

Singer/songwriter Winslow Leach (William Finley) believes he’s headed for big things when music mega-producer Swan (Paul Williams) takes a liking to his compositions. Instead, Swan steals his work and has Leach thrown in jail; when Leach escapes and infiltrates Swan’s headquarters, his face is mangled in a record press. As Swan prepares to open his new club, the Paradise, Leach — now the masked and caped Phantom — signs a contract in blood to rewrite his musical adaptation of Faust for beautiful singer Phoenix (Jessica Harper), with whom he has become smitten. But there’s more betrayal in store, and murder as well, all set to a rock ’n’ roll song score.

For his second genre venture after 1973’s SISTERS, Brian De Palma conjured a one-of-a-kind film that, 45 years later, has lost none of its power to rock you. Riffing on both PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and Faust, splitting the screen at key moments and showcasing eye-popping setpieces and ear-seducing tunes (written by Williams, who was Oscar-nominated for his efforts), De Palma pulls you into a phantastical world where music is worth killing and dying for. Scary and funny and romantic and tragic, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is also a playground for a remarkable cast giving their all. Finley plays his dark arc to perfection, Williams oozes casual diabolism, Harper shows off real chops and great pipes in the first of a triptych (followed by SUSPIRIA and SHOCK TREATMENT) that secured her a place in the cult pantheon… and then there’s Gerrit Graham as the unforgettable Beef. Whether it’s your first time seeing Phantom or your fiftieth, accept this invitation to the other side! – Michael Gingold