Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Phantom's Lady Returns

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Phantom's Lady Returns

Article excerpt

Millions of tourists from all over the world flock to Southern California every year in the hope of seeing something of the "Old Hollywood." It's an understatement to say that they see only vestiges of it. Those exciting days when an afternoon of strolling Hollywood Boulevard would garner an eager youngster a halffilled autograph book while fascinated parents watched, are long gone.

Still, there are some carefully nurtured survivals of Old Hollywood available to the public - the Chinese Theatre, the Universal and Burbank studio tours, the Lasky barn, sightseeing bus trips, etc. There are still many studios and popular location sites that can be found with the aid of some research and a map. It's not unusual for visitors to chance upon a film company doing location work on the city streets.

And, once in a great while, something happens that breathes new life into one's thinking about early movie days.

Recently, three film historians -a New Yorker and two Hollywood writers - were privileged to enjoy such an experience. It happened because the New Yorker, in the course of doing research for a book about the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera, had located the only surviving principal of the picture, Mary Philbin. When he came west to interview her his local colleagues went along.

The actress, who retired from the screen in 1931, lives in Hollywood in the same home she occupied with her late parents when, while still in her teens, she became a reigning star at Universal. …

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