Phantom Histories: The 2004 Film

The 2004 Phantom of the Opera film has a fairly large fanbase, and I think that mostly reflects the fact that Gerard Butler is a sexy man. My opinion is…less enthusiastic.

This film is a result of director Joel Schumacher teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Schumacher’s career was still recovering from the debacle that was Batman and Robin, and Webber had lost whatever magic he once had. The result is a lot of pretty sets but a story that has very little substance.

Notably, this film is an adaptation of the Broadway musical, not the original novel. Even so, I deem it to be markedly inferior, dropping the ball as a love story and making just enough changes to render the plot of the musical nonsensical.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 2004 Film”

Phantom Histories: The 1989 Film

I have conflicting feelings about the 1989 Phantom of the Opera movie. On the one hand, if you divorce the movie from its source material, it’s not a terrible film. On the other hand, I really don’t think the Phantom should ever, ever be a slasher film.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1989 Film”

Phantom Histories: The 1986 Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera is either a lot of flash with little substance or one of the best musicals of all time, depending on your personal tastes. It undoubtedly has incredible sets and costumes paired with beautiful music. Whether that is enough to overcome the way it glosses over many of the meatier parts of Gaston Leroux’s novel is a matter of some debate. One thing is sure, however: it brings the love story from that novel back to scenter stage.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1986 Musical”

Phantom Histories: The 1962 Film

The 1962 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera is everything the 1943 film was but more so. It has strong acting (with the Phantom played by Herbert Lom), plays up the disfigurement of the title character, and has the unfortunate tendency to overemphasize the Phantom as a charming and sympathetic character. It matches what the 1943 film did well (save for the extra spoke in the love triangle), but keeps from being the ideal adaptation by repeating the previous film’s flaw of making the Phantom too much of a good guy.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1962 Film”

Phantom Histories: The 1943 Film

What do Claude Rains, Lon Chaney, and Michael Crawford all have in common? They each starred as the titular antagonist in adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera which, while excellent on their own, missed key pieces of the puzzle that keep me from considering them to be on the same level as the original novel.

The 1943 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera goes one step further in that, while solid on its own, I believe that it actually did some long-term damage to the franchise that carried over into subsequent adaptations. Yet, at the same time, it gave the story some interesting twists that you can’t find anywhere else.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1943 Film”
Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera

Phantom Histories: The 1925 Silent Film

For most people, the 1925 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera is the first time Gaston Leroux’s novel reached the big screen. While a Russian film based on the novel did come out in 1916, it is now a historical footnote as no copies of that movie survived to the modern era. Thus, for our discussion of The Phantom of the Opera and its many adaptations, we have to skip over the first one and go right to the 1925 silent film starring Lon Chaney.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1925 Silent Film”