Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

In Memory Of William Finley (1942-2012), 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Phantom Of The Paradise'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com April 16, 2012 at 11:05AM

Sad news came in over the weekend, as it was announced yesterday that actor William Finley, best known for his work with Brian De Palma, had passed away on Saturdayat the age of 69. The actor was a long-time friend of De Palma, having appeared in his early films "Woton's Wake," "Murder a la Mod" and "The Wedding Party," before turning heads as Emil Breton, the husband of Margot Kidder's character, in the director's breakout picture "Sisters."
11

3. Finley came close to being crushed for real in filming the Phantom's origin.
Winslow is horribly disfigured after being cought in a record press that he's trying to destroy, turning him into the Phantom, but the scene nearly went badly wrong. The scene was shot in a real pressing plant at the Pressman Toys factory (the company founded by producer Edward R. Pressman's father), with foam pads and chocks put in between to stop it from closing. But on one take, the chocks snapped from the pressure, and the press began to close gradually. Fortunately, Finley was pulled out long before he was in real danger.

4. Sissy Spacek worked as the set dresser on the film.
Stick around through the credits and you'll find one rather surprising name among the technical crew, with future Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek named as a set dresser -- particularly odd, considering that she's just starred in her breakout role, in Terrence Malick's "Badlands." The reality of it is quite simple: Malick had met her boyfriend Jack Fisk the previous year when he was working as the art director on "Badlands." Fisk then got the opportunity to make his debut as Production Designer on "Phantom of the Paradise," and Spacek went with him, working with him during the shoot. The pair would marry not long after production wrapped, and a year later, Fisk would suggest to Spacek that she audition for the lead in De Palma's "Carrie," on which he was art director. Spacek would go on to win an Oscar nomination for her indelible performance in that film.

5. It was a box-office disappointment, but huge in Winnipeg.
Hopes were high for "Phantom of the Paradise:" 20th Century Fox bought the negative for $2 million, which was then a record for an independently-produced film. But for the most part, the film received poor reviews, and died at the box office. And yet, there was one place where it became a monster hit: Winnipeg, Canada. Even in the rest of the country, the film didn't play for long, and yet in Winnipeg, it was a monster hit, playing continually in theaters for four-and-a-half-months, with 20,000 copies of the soundtrack being snapped up. To this day, it's unsure why the film performed so well when it opened on December 26th (two months after the full release), although it's believed that the luxury Garrick cinema, and an atypically young audience, of around ten or so, helped it become a cult that continues in the city to this day.

William Finley - "Faust" (from the "Phantom of the Paradise" soundtrack)

This article is related to: On This Day In Movie History, Brian De Palma, Phantom Of The Paradise, William Finley, Edgar Wright


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates