PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
1990, Warner Bros., 120 min, USA/Japan/UK, Dir: Barbet Schroeder

Jeremy Irons won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actor for his wonderfully sly performance as aristocrat Claus von Bülow, accused of attempted murder of his rich wife, Sunny (Glenn Close). Costarring Ron Silver as Alan Dershowitz.


CONAN THE DESTROYER
1984, Universal, 103 min, USA, Dir: Richard Fleischer

A kinder, gentler Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leads Akiro (Mako) and Zula (Grace Jones) on a quest to save a princess. Also stars Wilt Chamberlain (!) and Tracey Walter. Written by Marvel Comics titans Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, stunningly photographed by the incomparable Jack Cardiff and saturated with a more go-for-broke, gonzo appeal than its slightly more serious predecessor.


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