Arnaldo – Alfredo Barbieri
Amalia – Amelia Vargas
Toto – Tono Andreu
Lucho – Gogó Andreu
Bettina – Inés Fernández
Director – Enrique Carreras
Producers – Nicolás, Luis and Enrique Carreras
Storyline – Alfredo Ruanova
Scriptwriters – René Marcial, Manuel Rey and Alfredo Ruanova
Music – Víctor Schlighter
Director of Photography – Alfredo Traverso
Set Designer – Óscar Lagomarsino
Makeup – Ramona C. de Frances
Characterisation/prosthetics – Miguel Ángel Casal
Comedy-horror film produced by Cinematográfica General Belgrano, known for budget and commercial musical comedies, and founded by the director and his brothers.
The second and only surviving film adaptation of Leroux’s Phantom in Argentina is the 1955 comedia de terror [horror comedy] El fantasma de la opereta. As the title of the film suggests, the narrative toys with conventions of popular theatre and musical comedies, suggestive of the major transformation the filmic medium was undergoing during this period. The central storyline, which pays homage to the figure of the Phantom of the Opera, while departing from the plot of Leroux’s original, is bookended in structure by a prelude and a coda. Following the opening credits, which locate the action in downtown Buenos Aires, a young couple, Armando and Amalia, prepare for a good night’s sleep before auditioning for a new show at the renowned Teatro Colón. Armando’s dream constitutes the largest part of the film and thus the Phantom comes to him through the realm of fantasy. What’s more, the Phantom is but one of a repertoire of ghoulish figures notorious from literature: the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein. In this Phantom, there is no Christine or Carlota in their conventional roles. Rather, the female characters Amalia and Bettina provide humourous counterpoint to the amorous overtures of the other male cast members in their theatre troupe, and in the case of Amalia—played by the well-known Cuban-born Queen of Mambo Amelita Vargas—supply dancing performances in a range of styles.