Time To Settle A Beef – With Beef!
If you know who Beef is, then you will be thrilled to hear about a terrific new special edition of Beef’s movie! It is, as the movie trailer proclaims:
“A Cinematic Odyssey Through The Rock Universe!”
Yes, welcome to the brilliance that is:
Phantom Of The Paradise!
This is one of my 5 favorite films EVER. It is Director Brian DePalma’s musical masterpiece, a re-telling of “Phantom Of The Opera”, set in the world of rock’n’roll. And it is SO great…it is also one of the most neglected classics of the 70’s – until now…
Here is the trailer:
“Our love is an old love baby, it’s older than all our years….”
The music in “Phantom Of The Paradise” is terrific – a great mix of musical styles that both lampoon – and honor – the musical styles of the 70’s. When my wife Alex and I got married, our first dance was to a song from this film, called “Old Souls.” Here is this beautiful ballad, sung by Actress Jessica Harper, with a montage from the film as well….
Brilliant Music From Oscar-Winner Paul Williams!
That gorgeous ballad was written by the brilliant songwriter Paul Williams, who is a celebrated singer/songwriter – Williams took home the Oscar just a few years later for his song “Evergreen”, from “A Star Is Born” – Barbara Streisand’s re-telling of the classic Hollywood tale!
Paul Williams not only wrote the entire “Phantom” motion picture soundtrack, but he stars in “Phantom” as well!
More on Williams in a moment, but first, a quick recap of the brilliant “Phantom Of The Paradise”!
Paul Williams stars as the mysterious Record producer “Swan” – who steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leach. The disgraced and disfigured Leach plans revenge on Swan and his rock palace, The Paradise, and becomes “The Phantom”.
William Finley stars as Winslow Leach, a talented yet naive songwriter who falls in love with young singer Phoenix, played by Jessica Harper. After being betrayed by “Swan”, “The Phantom” begins to terrorize the Paradise. But there is a deal to be struck: Swan promises to make Phoenix a star if “The Phantom” writes all her music…
Winslow quickly learns there is more to Swan than meets the eye – the moment he has to sign his “lifetime” contact:
Swan: [holding a contract] It’s all here. Read it carefully, then sign at the bottom in blood. Messy, I know, but it’s the only way to bind. Tradition.
Swan: Ink isn’t worth anything to me, Winslow.
The film is a hilarious sendup of the 70’s music scene, as well as a bit of a horror film, and a poignant love story also. The musical soundtrack is full of great pop culture references, and the movie is brilliantly directed by Brian DePalma, whose next film was another of his many masterpieces, “Carrie”.
The movie is a terrific musical and a wicked send-up of the music industry. In one scene, Winslow breaks into a record pressing plant to get his music back…to near fatal results…
Great IMDB Trivia!
According to the website IMDB, the record press that disfigures “The Phantom” was a real pressing plant (it was an injection-molding press at an Ideal Toy Co. plant). Actor William Finley was worried about whether the machine would be safe, and the crew assured that it was. The press was fitted with foam pads, and there were chocks put in the center to stop it from closing completely. Unfortunately, the machine was crushed the chocks and kept closing! It was Finley’s speed and timing that saved him from being hurt, as he got his head out just in time. And his scream in the scene was real!
All Hail The Majesty Of “BEEF”!
Garrit Graham is hilarious in the film as “Beef”, the singer that Swan secretly plans to feature in the opening of The Paradise. “Beef” quickly realizes something is wrong, and wants out – especially when The Phantom visits him in his dressing room in a spot on, classic parody of Hitchcock’s shower scene from “Psycho.”
This is one of the film’s many classic highlights, made all the more enjoyable by the over-the-top performance by Graham:
Beef: “There really is a phantom. He was just in my shower. He threatened my life. He said his music was for Phoenix. Only she can sing it. Anyone else who tries, dies.”
Needless to say, but Beef was right!
The film is full of great songs that parody everyone from The Beach Boys to David Bowie and Kiss – but strangely, “Phantom Of The Paradise” was a box office bomb when it was released – but thanks to home video, it has become re-discovered as one of DePalma’s masterpieces…really worth buying, because as the tour manager says bitterly to someone waiting in line for the show:
“THIS CREEP GETS NO COMPS!”
Another classic line from the film – and now you can get the movie and so much more! The official US release of an expanded collector’s edition of “Phantom Of The Paradise” is here!
Guillermo del Toro’s Paul Williams Interview!
Yes, “Pacific Rim” Director Guillermo del Toro is a huge fan of the film, and he is just one of the amazing new features on the Scream Factory blu-ray!
Look at this!
DISC ONE (BLU-RAY):
• NEW Audio Commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong aka Peter Eibling)
• NEW Audio Commentary with Production Designer Jack Fisk – Sissy Spacek’s husband!
• NEW Interview with director Brian DePalma (36 minutes)
• NEW Interview with Paul Williams talking about the music of PHANTOM (30 minutes)
• NEW Interview with Make-up Effects wizard Tom Burman discussing the Phantom Helmet
DISC TWO (DVD):
• Paradise Regained – documentary on the making of the film featuring director Brian DePalma, Producer Edward R. Pressman, William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and more… (50 minutes)
• Interview with Paul Williams moderated by Guillermo Del Toro (72 minutes) – that’s right, over an hour in discussion between the two!
• Interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton (10 minutes)
• NEW Interview with producer Edward R. Pressman (15 minutes)
• NEW Interview with drummer Gary Mallaber (15 minutes)
• NEW Alvin’s Art and Technique – a look at the neon poster (15 minutes)
• NEW Phantom of the Paradise Biography by Gerrit Graham – 1974 Publicity Sheet written by and read by Graham (8 minutes)
• Alternate Takes (40 minutes)
• Swan Song Outtake Footage (10 minutes)
• Radio Spots
• TV Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery
What an amazing collection – I cannot wait to dive into this! I mean, you don’t want to make Swan angry…
Paul Williams Still Alive!
And click here to read all about an amazing documentary all about Paul Williams:
A fantastic story about a truly gifted Artist….
William Finley RIP!
And if you want to read more about the star of “Phantom”, character Actor William Finley, here is an appreciation of his life:
And congrats to Arrow films for a great new release!
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