Phantom of The Paradise/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Phantom of The Paradise
  • The character Philbin, who is the chief henchman of the villain Swan, borrows his last name from Mary Philbin, star of The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
  • The "Death Records" secretary's card index includes files on Alice Cooper, David Geffen, Bette Midler, Peter Fonda, Dick Clark and 'Kris Kristofferson'.
  • On Phoenix's mirror after the concert in which she becomes a star is a magazine ad with the headline "I'm a Harper's Freak". Phoenix was played by 'Harper, Jessica'.
  • At the airport when Beef is introduced, the "Death Records" logo on the podium was superimposed over the original logo for "Swan Song" records to avoid conflict with Led Zeppelin's record label, which had sued. Although the film's producers were certain they would win due to the fact that the phrase was common long before, they decided to make the change in order to get the film finished quickly rather than go through a prolonged court fight.
  • The Death Records logo is optically printed over the originally planned "Swan Song" label at several points in the film
  • Cameo: [Rod Serling] introductory voiceover.
  • Phantom was a box office flop the year it came out. The only place in North America where the film had lasting power was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where it stayed on the screens for months.
  • Sissy Spacek is credited as "set dresser" for this film. As she was already an established actor when this film was made, one can assume that she took the job to assist her boyfriend, Jack Fisk, who was the film's production designer.
  • William Finley came up with the bird motif of the Phantom costume, a collaboration with costume designer Rosanna Norton.
  • According to William Finley, the record press in which his Winslow character was disfigured was a real pressing plant (it was an injection-molding press at an Ideal Toy Co. plant). He was worried about whether the machine would be safe, and the crew assured that it was. The press was fitted with foam pads (which resemble the casting molds in the press), and there were chocks put in the center to stop it from closing completely. Unfortunately, the machine was powerful enough to crush the chocks that it gradually kept closing. It was Finley's speed and timing that saved him from truly being hurt, as he got his head out just in time. Incidentally, his scream in the scene was real.
  • Gerrit Graham has talked about the infamous "musical chairs" casting, where William Finley almost wound up with no part to play. The studio considered casting Paul Williams as Winslow, Graham as Swan and Peter Boyle as Beef. Williams turned down the role of Winslow not only because he didn't feel physically fit or menacing for the role, but he didn't want to use the role of Winslow as a message against the recording industry. Somehow, Boyle was unavailable, Graham took the Beef role, and Finley ultimately took the Winslow role. In fact, director Brian De Palma actually wrote the part with his colleague Finley in mind. William Finley said in a recent interview that Jon Voight was at one time considered for the role of Swan.
  • The character of Winslow Leach (the Phantom) was named after director Brian De Palma's mentor, Wilford Leach.
  • The single-edit, "time bomb in the car trunk" sequence is an homage to Orson Welles' famous opening for Touch of Evil (1958).
  • Gerrit Graham's singing voice was dubbed by Ray Kennedy.
  • When Swan (Paul Williams) is adjusting Winslow's voice, the singer is not William Finley but Paul Williams. This makes it a little in-joke when Swan announces that the voice is "perfect".
  • The "electronic room" in which Winslow composes his cantata (and where Swan restores his voice) is in fact the real-life recording studio, The Record Plant. Also, the walls covered with knobs are in reality a huge, custom-built Moog electronic synthesizer. Dubbed TONTO, this instrument was featured on several albums by the pioneering electronica duo T.O.N.T.O.'s Expanding Head Band, and it still exists to this day.
  • During Beef's introductory scene at the airport, on of the gathered reporters is named "Mr Pizer". This is probably a reference to the film's director of photography, Larry Pizer.
  • In addition to Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera" and Goethe's (et al) "Faust", the film also references Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" for a total of at least five citations of classical horror stories.
  • Gerrit Graham was so sick the day that the "Life at Last" scene was filmed that he could hardly walk.
  • Director Brian De Palma originally considered the popular group Sha-Na-Na for the roles of the Juicy Fruits, but the group was not only very big at the time, but he found them too difficult to work with.
  • Jessica Harper beat out Linda Ronstadt for the part of Phoenix.
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