The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Deformed since birth, a bitter man known only as the Phantom lives in the sewers underneath the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with the obscure chorus singer Christine, and privately tutors her while terrorizing the rest of the opera house and demanding Christine be given lead roles. Things get worse when Christine meets back up with her childhood acquaintance Raoul and the two fall in love
London, Greater London, United Kingdom Iver, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
15 September 2003 - 15 January 2004
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The phantom of the opera (2004): 10 facts about joel schumacher’s film.
Joel Schumacher's adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera has its fans and as such, they need to learn how this movie was made.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most popular musicals of all time, holding the record for the longest running show in Broadway history . It comes as no surprise, then, that movie studios wanted to make a film adaptation of the musical, which would ultimately be released in 2004.
RELATED: 10 Famous Quotes From Broadway Musicals
While the film wasn’t as well-received as the stage show and ended up polarizing fans of the original source material, Joel Schumacher's film still developed a cult following and helped to introduce a new generation to the grandiosity and magnificence of The Phantom of the Opera.
Emmy Rossum Also Played The Christine Doll
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie concerns a doll in the Phantom’s lair that looks like Christine. Originally, the plan was for this to be a hyper realistic doll that looked like Emmy Rossum.
However, due to the fact that the eyes of the doll didn’t look lifelike enough, the production team had Emmy Rossum stand still and play the doll instead, complete with ‘doll-makeup.'
The Phantom Only Has 14 Non-Singing Lines
Musicals, as is their nature, generally have fewer speaking lines than other movies. The reason for for this is, naturally, that the characters are more likely to sing their thoughts and feelings than to merely speak them.
As a result of this, despite being the title character, the Phantom of the Opera only has 14 lines of dialogue in the movie. Every time he appears onscreen, the Phantom sings whatever he's feeling at the moment.
There's A Nod To The Phantom's Original Weapon
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie was Raoul’s warning to the soldiers to keep their hands at the level of their eyes. The reason for this was actually a very subtle Easter Egg for the book upon which the musical and movie are based.
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In the book, the Phantom uses a ‘Punjab Lasso’ (a handheld hangman's noose that could be swung like a lasso) to kill his victims. Keeping one’s hands at the level of one’s eyes helps to stop the Punjab Lasso from getting a tight grip on someone's neck.
Michael Jackson Wanted To Be The Phantom
As with any production, several actors were considered for the role of the main lead. Over the course pre-production, actors including Heath Ledger , Hugh Jackman, Antonio Banderas, Meat Loaf, and John Travolta were all considered for the role of the Phantom.
However, the strangest connection to the role of the Phantom was Michael Jackson . The King of Pop allegedly was a huge fan of the production and wanted to play the Phantom. For a number of reasons, none of these casting ideas went anywhere, and Gerard Butler became the film's star.
Anne Hathaway & Keira Knightley Almost Played Christine
In a similar manner to the casting of the Phantom, several prominent actresses were considered for the role of Christine. The most prominent of which were Keira Knightley and Anne Hathaway .
However, Joel Schumacher was very set on casting Emmy Rossum in the role. Since Hathaway was filming another project in 2004, the role ultimately went to Rossum
Gerard Butler Never Had A Proper Singing Lesson
It’s fairly common for actors to take part in singing lessons if a role requires it. After all, it’s only natural that the actor takes part in lessons so that they can, not only sing better, but also so they can learn to express themselves more convincingly in the musical genre.
RELATED: Phantom Of The Opera: 10 Memes That Would Make Even The Phantom Laugh
However, some may be surprised to learn that Gerard Butler didn't have a real singing lesson for his role as the titular Phantom. As a result, Gerard Butler admitted that he struggled when singing, especially the song 'Music of the Night.' This also led to most of the criticisms, with many citing Butler's singing as the film's weakest link.
The Script Was Written In 1989
The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most popular musicals of all time, with the production holding the record for the longest running Broadway musical of all time. Perhaps to lead off the back of this popularity, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Joel Schumacher actually wrote the screenplay in the South of France way back in 1989 .
While the screenplay for the movie was finished at the tail end of the '80s, the film itself didn't see the light of day until the following century, with the film releasing in 2004.
Ramin Karimloo Was Christine’s Father
Fans of The Phantom of the Opera will recognize Ramin Karimloo as one of the most popular actors to ever take on the role of the Phantom. However, some may be surprised to learn that the actor actually appeared in the movie.
Rather than playing the Phantom, Karimloo was given the role of Christine’s father . This makes Karimloo one of the rare Phantom stars to have played Christine’s father, Raoul, and the Phantom.
The Chandelier Had A Stunt Double
The chandelier is one of the most iconic elements of the The Phantom of the Opera musical. It is the rising of the chandelier that starts the musical and it is through its crashing later on that we learn of the disaster at the opera house. Basically, the chandelier could be considered to be a character all of its own.
The chandelier in the movie was made by Swarovski and weighed over 2.2 tons and cost roughly a million Dollars to make. Due to its massive weight and how impractical and expensive it would be to build another chandelier, it had a stunt double that was used during some of the dangerous and intense scenes.
Emmy Rossum Was Only 17-Years Old When Filming
Emmy Rossum played Christine Daaé, who's relatively younger than her two male co-stars. Despite the fact that her two love interests, the Phantom and Raoul, were both played by actors in their thirties, Emmy Rossum was only 17 .
The age gap between the love interests in terms of the story's time-setting may not be too surprising, but the fact that Rossum wasn't even 18 at the time of filming is incredibly shocking to some viewers.
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The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
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The Phantom of the Opera is a 2004 musical drama film based on Andrew Lloyd Webber 's 1986 musical of the same name , which in turn is based on the 1910 French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux . It was produced and co-written by ALW and directed by Joel Schumacher. It was released on Dec 10, 2004 in the United Kingdom and January 25, 2005 in the United States.
- 3.1 Development
The scene opens in black and white in the year 1919. The dilapidated Paris Opera House holds an auction. Raoul de Chagny , an old wheelchair-bound man, purchases a coveted music box in a shape of a monkey in Persian robes and playing cymbals. During the auction, he sees a familiar face, Madame Giry , whom he met as a young man ("Prologue"). The next piece, lot 666 , is a chandelier in pieces which has been restored and newly wired with electricity. As the auctioneers display the restored chandelier, which illuminates and slowly rises to its old place in the rafters the opening crescendo of music wipes away the years of decay and dust from the opera house as the black and white turns into color, and is transported back in time to 1870 ("Overture").
During a show rehearsal, the opera house is put into the hands of two new owners, Richard Firmin and Gilles André . Madame Giry, the ballet mistress and the mother of Meg Giry , introduces them to Christine Daaé , a young but talented singer who was orphaned at seven, being the only daughter of the Swedish violinist, Gustave Daaé . Raoul is introduced to the cast as the patron. Christine recognizes him from her childhood. ("Hannibal") The lead soprano, Carlotta Giudicelli , performs an aria for the managers but a backdrop falls, almost crushing her. Outraged, Carlotta refuses to continue perform that night and storms off. Meanwhile Madame Giry receives a note from the mysterious "Opera Ghost", the Phantom of the Opera , who lives within the opera house and is believed to be a ghost. The note says he welcomes the new mangers, reminds them of his due salary of 20,000 francs per month, and that instructs that they leave box five empty for his usage for every performance. Firmin and André say they will cancel the show because of Carlotta's absence. Madame Giry insists that Christine can sing it because she's had lessons from a great teacher, whose name is still a mystery to Christine. At first the managers have doubts about her, but Christine proves to be worthy when she sings for them. During Christine's performance, Raoul recognizes her from his childhood ("Think of Me").
After the performance Meg finds Christine in a small room where she lights a candle for her deceased father. She asks Christine how she learned to sing so well. Christine explains that an Angel of Music comes and teaches her. She has never seen him but she thinks her father sent him from heaven. But it is really the Opera Ghost, or Phantom of the Opera, who teaches her. When Christine returns to her dressing room, Madame Giry gives her a single rose with a black ribbon on it from her teacher. Saying that he is pleased with her. ("Angel of Music"). She then reunites with Raoul , her childhood sweetheart and they recall their past together fondly. She tries to tell him about the Angel of music but Raoul invites her to dinner with him. She declines saying that the Angel is very strict; but Raoul doesn't listen and leaves to order a carriage ("Little Lottie").
The Phantom silently locks Christine in her room and sings to her about his displeasure that Raoul is trying to court her. Christine apologizes asking him to come to her and he reveals himself by appearing in her mirror. He takes her hand and he leads her away. Raoul pounds at the locked door and hears the Phantom’s voice in the room (“The Mirror/Angel Of Music Reprise”). Christine goes with the Phantom to his lair through the stone labyrinths underneath the opera house ("The Phantom of the Opera"). The Phantom reveals to Christine that he loves her and wants her to stay with him. She is spellbound by his voice and he shows her a mannequin of herself wearing a wedding dress she faints in his arms. He gently carries her to a bed ("The Music of the Night").
Up above, Joseph Buquet, the chief scene shifter tells the ballet girls terrible tales of the mysterious Opera Ghost. Madame Giry warns Buquet to hold his tongue by putting and tightening a noose around his neck ("Magical Lasso"). Later, Christine awakes to find the Phantom composing. Curious, she takes off his mask, and he bursts into a fit of rage, rounding on her furiously. He tearfully explains that he only wants to be like everyone else, and that he hopes she will learn to love him in spite of his face. She returns his mask to him and the two have a moment of understanding before he returns her to the surface (“I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It”).
The next morning Firmin and André have both receive notes from the Opera Ghost telling them how to run "his" opera house. Carlotta also gets one telling her not to perform that night. Then Madame Giry reads out another note from the Ghost. It says that Christine is to perform that night as Countess. If they do not obey, a disaster beyond their imaginations will occur ("Notes?"). Firmin and André ignore the orders of the notes convincing Carlotta is their star and that she will perform as the Countess. They cast Christine as the page boy which is the silent role ("Prima Donna"). During the performance of Il Muto , the Phantom tampers with Carlotta's throat spray (most likely some sort of alcohol drink, probably pink wine) and she starts croaking like a toad ("Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh"). The managers halt the performance saying it will continue soon with Christine performing as Countess. While they keep the audience entertained with the ballet, the Phantom hangs Buquet in front of the audience while still hiding. Christine flees in fear with Raoul following her. She takes Raoul to the roof reveals to him that she has seen the Phantom. ("Why Have You Brought Me Here?"). Raoul tells Christine he loves her and will protect her forever. She says she loves him too and they kiss passionately ("All I Ask Of You") Then both leave the roof. The Phantom, who witnessed everything, becomes heartbroken that Christine loves Raoul and his love for her is unrequited. He hears them both singing, grows furious at Raoul and vows revenge on him. ("All I Ask Of You (Reprise)").
Three months later, a masquerade party ensues in the opera house. Christine is now engaged to Raoul but wears the engagement ring round her neck, wanting it to be a secret. Raoul insists that the engagement doesn't have to be a secret, but Christine fears that The Phantom will find out (“Masquerade”). The event is interrupted by the Phantom who is dressed as the Red Masque of Death . He gives them an Opera which he has written called "Don Juan Triumphant" and instructs everyone in the room of his expectations of how his opera is to be performed, and also reveals himself as Christine's teacher. At the sight of Christine's engagement ring, the Phantom rips it from her neck, declaring she belongs to him and vanishes ("Why So Silent?"). Madame Giry takes Raoul to her room and tells him the Phantom's story. When she was a little girl, she went to a freak circus where they featured a deformed child in a cage. The child was beaten and tortured while everyone watched and laughed. The ringmaster then removed a burlap sack covering the child's face, revealing his deformity. Only she did not laugh, but she pitied him. She was the last to leave and saw the child strangling the ringmaster with a rope. The Guards began pouring in to arrest him. But she helped him escape and found him shelter in the opera house. She tells Raoul how he has hidden from the world ever since ("Madame Giry's Tale/The Fairground").
That night, Christine orders a carriage. The Phantom fears she is running away and secretly takes over the reins. After changing, she tells the driver (the Phantom) to take her to the Cemetery. Raoul follows them on horseback ("Journey To The Cemetery"). Christine arrives and walks through the snow wishing her father was back with her. She sits down by his grave and lays down some roses ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"). The Phantom then tries to win her heart back by singing to her, posing as her father's ghost. She almost goes to him, but Raoul arrives and stops her. A fierce sword fight ensues between the two in the cemetery, while Christine watches in horror. Raoul eventually disarms the Phantom and is about to kill him when Christine pleads for him not to. The Phantom watches angrily as Christine and Raoul ride away and declares war on them ("Wandering Child/The Sword Fight").
Raoul makes a plan to capture The Phantom at that night's performance by having the police force within the theatre, knowing that the Phantom will attend if Christine sings ("We Have All Been Blind"). Christine begs not to sing admitting she is afraid of the Phantom and tells Raoul he will never stop trying to recapture her. Raoul and says that she must perform if they are to catch the Phantom and comforts her ("Twisted Every Way"). That night, the cast performs the Phantom's written opera, with Christine as the leading lady. The Phantom kills Piangi , who is the leading man and takes his place on the stage with Christine ("Don Juan"). In the lyrics of the song, the Phantom sings of his love for Christine. Though knowing Raoul is watching, Christine sings of her own feelings to the Phantom and agrees to go with him. Raoul can do nothing but tearfully watch from the audience as the Phantom lovingly embraces her in his arms ("The Point Of No Return"). She caresses his face but once again removes his mask, revealing his deformity. The audience screams in fear, but Christine shows that she is no longer afraid and shows him pity. He runs off with her (more like drops her into his lair through a trapdoor), after a series of tense, chaotic sequences, including dropping the chandelier and setting the opera house on fire ("Chandelier Crash").
The Phantom brings Christine down into his lair and forces her to wear the wedding dress on the mannequin of herself. While an angry mob, led by Meg, is searching for the Phantom, Madame Giry shows Raoul the way to The Phantom's lair and Raoul goes to rescue Christine. The Phantom once again professes his love to Christine, and gives her the engagement ring he stole from her. Instead Christine tries to console the Phantom about his deformed face, saying she does not fear his ugliness, but his soul is where the ugliness is. Just then, Raoul arrives to rescue Christine, only for the Phantom ties him to a portcullis and threatens Christine with a moral dilemma. If she stays with him and becomes his wife, Raoul goes free. But if she refuses, Raoul dies and she goes free. In a crazy sequence with Christine, the Phantom and Raoul singing different parts in the most dramatic way possible, Raoul begs her to let him die so she can be free. After reflecting on the impossible decision, she kisses the Phantom passionately, telling him that he is not alone in the world. The Phantom is taken aback because he has never experienced real human love before. Ashamed of his murderous actions, he frees them both and tells them leave him and never return. He finds comfort in a musical box with a monkey figurine. Christine approaches him and he tells her that he loves her. She silently gives him back the ring so he has something to remember her by and leaves with Raoul. With tears in his eyes he watches Christine and Raoul row away, before Christine looks back for the final time. After they're gone the Phantom smashes every mirror in his lair and disappears through last mirror behind a curtain into a secret passage ("Medley: Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer").
- Terrin Auh's Fearsome Fresh Eater: Gina and her guys monster friendship her looking at that's a Phantom of the Operator and Rite of Spring, and our is a the a her Dance of the Hours ©A&E or Lightyear Enter Facebook.
The Phantom of the Opera (portrayed by Gerard Butler)
- Gerard Butler - The Phantom
- Emmy Rossum - Christine Daaé
- Patrick Wilson - Raoul de Chagny
- Minnie Driver - Carlotta Giudicelli
- Ciarán Hinds - Richard Firmin
- Simon Callow - Gilles André
- Miranda Richardson - Madame Giry
- Jennifer Ellison - Meg Giry
- Victor McGuire - Ubaldo Piangi
- Kevin McNally - Joseph Buquet
- Murray Melvin - Reyer
- James Fleet - Lefevre
Production [ ]
Development [ ].
Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to The Phantom of the Opera in early 1989, granting Andrew Lloyd Webber total artistic control. Despite interest from A-list directors, Lloyd Webber and Warner Bros. instantly hired Joel Schumacher to direct; Lloyd Webber had been impressed with Schumacher's use of music in The Lost Boys . The duo wrote the screenplay that same year, while Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were cast to reprise their roles from the original stage production. Filming was set to begin at Pinewood Studios in England in July 1990, under a $25 million budget.
However, the start date was pushed to November 1990 at both Babelsberg Studios in Munich, Germany and Barrandov Studios in Prague, Czech Republic. Production for The Phantom of the Opera was stalled with Lloyd Webber and Brightman's divorce. "Everything got tied up in settlements", Schumacher reflected. "Then my career took off and I was really busy." As a result, The Phantom of the Opera languished in development limbo for Warner Bros. throughout the 1990s. In February 1997, Schumacher considered returning, but eventually dropped out in favour of Batman Unchained, Runaway Jury and Dreamgirls . The studio was keen to cast John Travolta for the lead role, but also held discussions with Antonio Banderas, who undertook vocal preparation and sang the role of the Phantom in the TV special Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration.
Schumacher and Lloyd Webber restarted development for The Phantom of the Opera in December 2002. It was then announced in January 2003 that Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group had purchased the film rights from Warner Bros. in an attempt to produce The Phantom of the Opera independently. As a result, Lloyd Webber invested $6 million of his own money. The Phantom of the Opera was produced on a $55 million budget. A further $15 million was used for marketing, bringing the final budget to $70 million. Warner Bros. was given a first look deal for distribution; the studio did not sign on until June 2003, when the principal cast was chosen.
- 2 The Phantom
- 3 Raoul de Chagny
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The Phantom of the Opera
2004, Musical/Drama, 2h 21m
What to know
The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger. Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle. Read critic reviews
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The phantom of the opera photos.
From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Patrick Wilson). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.
Genre: Musical, Drama, Romance
Original Language: English
Director: Joel Schumacher
Producer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Writer: Gaston Leroux
Release Date (Theaters): Jan 21, 2005 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Dec 27, 2011
Box Office (Gross USA): $51.2M
Runtime: 2h 21m
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Co: Joel Schumacher Productions
Sound Mix: Surround, Dolby SRD, DTS, SDDS
Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.37:1)
Cast & Crew
Young Madame Giry
Nun , Nurse
Andrew Lloyd Webber
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Critic Reviews for The Phantom of the Opera
Audience reviews for the phantom of the opera.
The Phantom of the Opera is a true masterpiece, it not only fully realizes the vision of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, but it also retains the spirit of the original novel. Newcomer Emmy Rossum gives a stunning performance as Christine, capturing the character's youth and innocence, and Gerard Butler's depicting of the Phantom embodies the character's tortured soul and disillusionment. The sets and costumes are also extraordinary, creating an immersive, fantastical world that's breathtaking. Yet the stylistic tone never overwhelms the story, but instead services to heighten its romanticism, and the themes of social alienation and artificial reality. Translating a musical to cinema is a difficult task, however not only does director Joel Schumacher succeed brilliantly, the visual style of The Phantom of the Opera excesses Webber's stage production.
It took them, like, 78 tries, but they finally got the musical version, which, in all fairness, didn't hit the stage until nearly 80 years after "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra" came out, but that still narrows the number of adaptations down to about 43 since 1986. Man, this novel has been adapted to death, then back again actually in the form of a phantom, then back to death again, but now, we've got ourselves a little twist... and no film adaptations since, so that should probably tell you about how well this film did with critics... even though it was a booming financial success and hit with audiences, though that's probably because the non-critic drama geeks likely didn't know about Joel Schumacher's filmography. Speaking of finally getting the musical version, this is certainly Joel Schumacher's big return to the magical world of musicals, only this time, he's actually dealing with white people problems instead of trying to be "that white guy" who does a black film, which is probably why this film got better reviews other than "Sparkle", which isn't to say that this film's reviews have been all that glowing. Man, I certainly don't agree with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, but I love how it goes on and on about how the film is "histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger", and then they turn right around and basically say, "Oh yeah, but it looks pretty". I reckon the critics can't help but look at cheesiness in a Joel Schumacher film and not think of "Batman & Robin", and considering that Schumacher is nothing short of cheesy, whether it be on a "Batman & Robin" scale or whatever, I guess he'll continue to never catch a break, as sure as Emmy Rossum will clearly have a hard time breaking out as a major star, even with a hit this massive under her belt, and Gerard Butler will never catch a break when it comes to romance films of any kind. Man, that poor son of Scot just isn't doing it for the critics when it comes to romances and, well, that's good, because his romantic comedies deserve it. A film like this, on the other, regardless of what the critics say, is what Butler and Schumacher should be gunning more for. Still, make no mistake, this operatic opus hardly goes unhaunted. Now, we're talking about a Joel Schumacher-directed and written adaptation of a musical adaptation of a romantic drama dealing with an opera here, so it's not like you can't see corny coming, yet that hardly makes the cheesiness any less problematic, for although some fluffiness gets to be snappy, all too often, it's more along the lines of sappy, turning in some cornball set pieces and dialogue that momentarily take you out of the film, though perhaps not as much as much of the forced musicality. The musical aspects that drive this film heavily are indeed competently crafted enough to aid in the final product's being as rewarding as it is, yet the incorporation of the musical goes plagued by a bit of inorganic forcefulness that not only overwhelms certain set pieces with profound prominence of musicality that distances you from reality considerably, as well as over-the-top flashiness to exacerbate the already pretty well-established cheesy aspects, but leaves the plotting that should be built around the music rather than more along the lines of a slave to the musical aspects to come off as more awkwardly manufactured than fluid. The musicality's driving the plot along isn't quite as awkward as I expected, yet awkwardness is there, and common within the musical aspects, and with the musical aspects being so exceedingly prominent in the story structure, you better believe that this film's plotting is often rather problematic. Of course, on the handful of occasions in which plotting isn't driven by musicality, the film's storytelling is still flawed, being not necessarily terribly messy, but rather hurried and under-expository, which isn't to say that Joel Schumacher's directorial missteps end there. Schumacher's directorial efforts are indeed inspired, yet he remains a flawed director handed quite a bit to work with, thus he faults quite often, particularly when it comes to the dramatic aspects, which are generally effective, yet tainted with overblown histroinics that were undoubtedly found and evidently somewhat overlooked in Andrew Lloyd Webber's original play and Gaston Leroux's antecedent novel, yet goes particularly pronounced by the overambition within Schumacher's direction that only drowns out quite a bit of what Schumacher desperately strives to achieve. I'm not at all totally in agreement with the consensus' bold statement that this film fails to capture "both romance and danger", yet there is some spark lost in the midst of Schumacher's overambition, which brings more to light certain aspects of the source material's not translating quite as well as it should have to the silver screen, thus leaving the final product to stand rather short of full potential. Of course, what does make it to the cinematic world organically proves to be a graceful success, maybe not to where the shortcomings are obscured, though certainly to where the final product, as a whole, stands as genuinely rewarding, largely thanks to its, as put best by the consensus, "sheer spectacle". Boasting striking color, near-breathtaking flare and brilliant dynamicity, this film is, if nothing else, a masterpiece of art direction, with John Fenner and Paul Kirby translating Andew Lloyd Webber's spectacular with an abundance of graceful artistry to the thoroughly attractive visuals, complimented by John Mathieson's lushly handsome cinematography. As for the production designs by Anthony Pratt that the art direction compliments, they stand as nothing short of truly tremendous, as well, with Alexandra Byrne's costume designs being cleverly flashy and often memorably definitive of the characters behind the costumes, and Celia Bobak's set decoration being colorfully intricate and engrossingly sweeping in scale, thus truly bringing to life Webber's original vision's spectacle and musicality, which in turn helps greatly in bringing the film to life more than working to the film's detriment, which is saying a fair bit. Clocking in at 143 minutes and going handled by a storyteller who doesn't need substance driven by style to be a flawed storyteller, this film's narrative is told primarily, by a considerable margin, through musical numbers, and while that is certainly a delight to see on the stage, on screen, it often taints storytelling with a kind of awkward style-over-substance that throws off resonance and could very well distance investment, so if you're going to have the guts to make a film of this type, then you better have some powerful musical style, and, well, needless to say, considering the essentially unparalleled success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's original stage vision, this film delivers on upstanding musicality that, I must admit, gets to be a touch flawed, both as a storytelling component and as the holder of the ever so occasional improvable stylistic choice (Seriously, what in Senesino's name is up with that pop rock sound that pops in occasionally?), yet remains thoroughly impressive, with sweeping style and striking substance that both engrosses and entertains as it goes dazzlingly performed, both instrumentally and vocally, which isn't to say that fine singing is the only thing done right by the performers, or at least some of them. Minnie Driver is quite underused as Carlotta Giudicelli, and quite frankly, I'm surprised and a little upset to say that I'm glad, because although Driver has proven herself to be a competent actress, in this film, she slips up, turning in a terrible Spanish accent to make all the worse the overbearing overacting that makes her much more obnoxious than effective as the antagonist, and while no other performance proves to be that faulty, only so many people really standout, due to restraints in material, yet do expect to see quite a few charmers in the secondary or even tertiary cast, and quite a bit of compellingness within the lead cast. Gerard Butler's film-picking tastes have, at least in recent years, proven to be very faulty, and, quite honestly, his overacting self wasn't exactly all the commendable in something like "300", yet I would still consider him a reasonably promising talent who has his moments, with this film being one of his moments, for although he only has so much to work with, Butler captures the misery, mystery and dark depths of the titular and iconic Phantom character with engaging charisma and, towards the end, pretty powerful emotional range, while Patrick Wilson charms as our down-to-earth male protagonist, Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, and the very lovely leading lady Emmy Rossum compels as the both vulnerable and strong spirit as, Christine Daaé, the iconic center of a dark romance and danger. On-screen performances are hit-or-miss, yet generally work and keep this film going, and really, that's what you can say about a certain off-screen performance, for although Joel Schumacher has never really been all that strong of a director, and one who makes more than a few mistakes with his overambitious execution of this promising project, his palpable inspiration will give this film its fair share of moments of genuinely effective resonance, while keeping consistent in something of a smooth pacing that keeps you generally comfortable with the flow of the film, even with the storytelling mishaps. If nothing else, Schumacher delivers on thorough entertainment value, proving the consensus' statement that this film is "boring" to be particularly wrong by keeping everything lively and colorful, with occasions of true depth, and while such a formula has enough missteps to plague the film with shortcomings, it gets the final product by as a rewarding piece. Closing the curtains, it's hard to look back at this film and not recognize quite a bit of cheesiness in certain dialogue pieces, set pieces and histrionics, as well as a bit of awkwardness to forceful moments in the musicality and other distancing areas of storytelling, thus making for a flawed execution of a promising vision, yet one that still stands strong, supported by the stellar art direction by John Fenner and Paul Kirby, - complimented by striking cinematography by John Mathieson - and production designs by Anthony Pratt that compliment Andrew Lloyd Webber's upstanding musical numbers, which liven up a strong story, brought to life by a couple of charismatic performances - particularly those by our compelling leads - and the, albeit overambitious, yet generally engagingly inspired, smoothly-paced and entertaining direction that goes into making Joel Schumacher's adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" an underrated and fairly worthwhile watch. 3/5 - Good
The Phantom of the Opera is one of the few enjoyable Joel Shumacher films, and whatever problems I had with this film, its still a fantastic musical. I have never seen the original Broadway musical so I may not be the best source for a review, but I have listened to these songs before, and I can tell that they did a fine job at making the songs on the big screen. One large problem I had the film was Gerard Butler, who I felt looked to handsome to be believable as the Phantom of the Opera. His singing voice was the only one I didn't enjoy in the film and its hard to explain but he just doesn't have the voice for a singer. They make his character out to be so hideous when really he just looks like he was given a terrible makeup artist, so I really did not find it believable that everyone would consider him some gross beast. Another problem I had is that I should fee a sense of fear from the Phantom, but they don't give us any thrills are questioning, just Gerard Butler running around in a mask. But I did find I loved the music and was really getting into it, and if I ever got to see the musical in its true form on Broadway I would definently do it. The setting and stage is incredible and everything about the films setting is gorcious, so they really made it all feel beautiful. Its trying to be a good musical and it succeeds, but I wasn't impressed by the cast or the character of the Phantom.
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The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)
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The Phantom of the Opera is a 2004 British-American musical drama film based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. It was produced and co-written by Lloyd Webber and directed by Joel Schumacher. It stars Gerard Butler in the title role, Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé, Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli, and Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry
The film was announced in 1989 but production did not start until 2002 due to Lloyd Webber's divorce and Schumacher's busy career. It was shot entirely at Pinewood Studios, with scenery created with miniatures and computer graphics. Rossum, Wilson, and Driver had singing experience, but Butler had none and so had music lessons. The Phantom of the Opera grossed approximately $154 million worldwide, despite receiving mixed to negative reviews, which praised the visuals and acting but criticized the writing and directing.
- 3.1 Development
- 3.2 Casting
- 3.3 Filming
- 4.1 Release and awards
- 4.2 Critical reception
- 7 External Links
In 1919, the Opéra Populaire holds a public auction to clear the theatre's vaults. Raoul, Viscount de Chagny purchases a papier-mâché music box in the shape of a monkey and eyes it sadly as Madame Giry's daughter, Meg Giry, an aged woman dressed in black, watches him. The auctioneer then presents a shattered chandelier as the next item up for bid, explaining that it once played a key role in "the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera". As it flickers to life and slowly ascends to its original place in the rafters, the audience is transported back in time to the year 1870.
Back to this time, while the company rehearses for a performance of the grand opera Hannibal, manager Monsieur Lefèvre announces that he has decided to retire and that the opera has been purchased by Richard Firmin and Gilles André, two men who have no experience with the arts whatsoever. When resident soprano Carlotta Giudicelli begins to sing for the managers, a backdrop collapses and causes everyone to blame the "Opera Ghost", a mysterious figure who is rumored to live in the catacombs beneath the theater. Carlotta refuses to sing and storms offstage, leaving Firmin and André no choice but to cancel the performance. At the last minute, ballet mistress Madame Giry suggests that dancer Christine Daaé take Carlotta's place as she has been "well taught." The managers reluctantly agree and, to their surprise, Christine wins them over.
Later that night, after Christine's triumphant stage debut, she explains to Madame Giry's daughter, Meg, that she is being coached by a mysterious tutor who she refers to as the "Angel of Music"; a tutor who her late father said would teach her to sing. Christine returns to her dressing room to find Raoul, the opera's new patron and her former childhood sweetheart, waiting for her. The two reminisce about their youth as Christine tells Raoul her secret, only for him to laugh at her "fantasy" and invite her to dinner despite her protests. Unbeknownst to everyone, except Madame Giry, the Phantom of the Opera locks Christine in her dressing room and reveals himself to her before hypnotizing her and taking her to his subterranean lair.
The Phantom reveals to her that he loves her and wants her to love him back. He shows Christine a bust of herself, wearing a wedding dress and veil, causing her to faint, and the Phantom places her in a bed. The next morning she awakes to find the Phantom writing music. She approaches him and removes his mask out of curiosity. He bursts into a fit of rage, covering his face with his hand. He at first says she must stay forever because she saw his deformities, revealing that he "dreams of beauty". Pitying him Christine hands him back his mask and the two have a moment of understanding. He then decides to return her to the opera house.
That morning, the two managers lament Christine's disappearance, as well as series of notes they received from the Opera Ghost trying to blackmail them for his payment and ordering them on how to run the opera house. When Carlotta returns, she is furious to find a note sent to her saying if she sang as the countess in Il Muto that night instead of Christine, then disaster "beyond [their] imagination" would occur. Firmin and André ignore the ghost's warnings and give Carlotta the lead role. That night, the Phantom interrupts the performance and criticizes their failure to follow his orders.
Carlotta continues to sing, but her voice croaks and the lead role is given to Christine. While the ballet is being performed, the Phantom encounters the chief stagehand Joseph Buquet and strangles him before hanging him from above, creating chaos. Christine flees to the roof with Raoul. She reveals to him that she has seen the Phantom's face and fears him, but also pities him because of his sadness. Raoul tells Christine he loves her and will protect her forevermore. Christine returns his love, kissing him passionately and they both leave the roof. The Phantom, who witnessed the scene, becomes heartbroken. He then hears them both singing together. Growing furious at Raoul, he vows revenge on them both.
Three months later, a masquerade party ensues in the opera house. At the party, Christine wears her new engagement ring from Raoul. The event is interrupted once again by the Phantom, who is dressed as Red Death. The Phantom brings his own composition, Don Juan Triumphant, and orders the managers to stage the opera. Raoul exits the room and Christine approaches the Phantom. At the sight of the engagement ring, the Phantom rips it from Christine and disappears into a trap on the floor. Raoul tries to follow him but is stopped by Madame Giry, who privately tells him the story of the Phantom's past. When she was a little girl, she went to a freak circus where they featured a deformed child in a cage. The child was beaten while everyone watched and laughed. The ringmaster then removed a burlap sack covering the child's face, revealing his deformity. Only the young Madame Giry pitied him. She was the last to leave and saw the child strangle the ringmaster with a rope. Chased by the police, Madame Giry helped him escape and found shelter for him beneath the opera house, where she has hidden him from the world ever since.
Christine takes a carriage to visit her father's grave, but the Phantom secretly takes over the reins. Raoul follows when he realizes she's gone. Christine arrives and laments over her father's death. The Phantom tries to win her back by pretending to be her father's angel, but Raoul arrives and stops him. A sword fight ensues in the cemetery, where Raoul eventually disarms the Phantom and is about to kill him, but Christine pleads for him not to. His rage seemingly augmented, the Phantom watches angrily as Christine and Raoul ride away.
Christine admits she is afraid of the Phantom and tells Raoul he will never stop trying to recapture her. Raoul realizes that they can use the Phantom's opera to capture him, as he will surely attend. Don Juan Triumphant is performed, and the Phantom makes his entrance (having secretly replaced the lead) with Christine. Raoul can do nothing but watch from his box as Christine falls for the Phantom yet again. However, she once again removes his mask, revealing his deformities to the entire audience, who scream in fear. He escapes with her by dropping the chandelier and setting the opera house on fire.
The Phantom brings Christine back down to his lair. Madame Giry shows Raoul where the Phantom lives, and he goes to rescue Christine. The Phantom forces Christine to don the wedding dress and once again professes his love, and orders Christine to marry him. Christine tries to convince the Phantom that she does not fear his ugliness, but rather his anger and willingness to kill to get what he wants. Just then, Raoul enters the lair, and the Phantom ties him to a gate and threatens to kill him if Christine refuses to marry him. Christine reflects over the impossible choice before passionately kissing the Phantom to show him he is not alone in the world. The Phantom is shocked from experiencing real human love for the first time in his life. Ashamed of his murderous actions, he allows Christine and Raoul to leave and orders them to never return. He finds comfort in a little monkey music box. Christine approaches the Phantom, who tells her that he loves her, and she silently gives him the diamond ring from her finger to remember her by. After Christine and Raoul leave, the Phantom smashes every mirror in his underground lair and disappears through a secret passage behind a velvet curtain just before the police arrive. Upon entering, Meg finds only the Phantom's white mask.
Moving back to 1919, the elderly Raoul visits Christine's gravesite and places the music box near her tombstone. He stands in silence for a moment and then turns to leave, but stops upon noticing a red rose with a black ribbon tied around the stem lying on the ground with Christine's engagement ring attached to it; implying that the Phantom still lives and still loves Christine.
- Gerard Butler as The Phantom
- Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé
- Patrick Wilson as Viscount Raoul de Chagny
- Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry
- Margaret Preece as Carlotta's singing voice
- Simon Callow as Gilles André
- Ciarán Hinds as Richard Firmin
- Victor McGuire as Ubaldo Piangi
- Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry
- Murray Melvin as Monsieur Reyer
- Kevin McNally as Joseph Buquet
- James Fleet as Monsieur Lefèvre
- Ramin Karimloo as Gustave Daaé
Production [ ]
Development [ ].
Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to The Phantom of the Opera in early 1989, granting Andrew Lloyd Webber total artistic control. Despite interest from A-list directors, Lloyd Webber and Warner Bros. instantly hired Joel Schumacher to direct; Lloyd Webber had been impressed with Schumacher's use of music in The Lost Boys. The duo wrote the screenplay that same year, while Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were cast to reprise their roles from the original stage production. Filming was set to begin at Pinewood Studios in England in July 1990, under a $25 million budget.
However, the start date was pushed to November 1990 at both Babelsberg Studios in Munich, Germany and Barrandov Studios in Prague, Czech Republic. Production for The Phantom of the Opera was stalled with Lloyd Webber and Brightman's divorce. "Everything got tied up in settlements", Schumacher reflected. "Then my career took off and I was really busy." As a result, The Phantom of the Opera languished in development limbo for Warner Bros. throughout the 1990s. In February 1997, Schumacher considered returning, but eventually dropped out in favour of Batman Unchained, Runaway Jury and Dreamgirls. The studio was keen to cast John Travolta for the lead role, but also held discussions with Antonio Banderas, who undertook vocal preparation and sang the role of the Phantom in the TV special Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration.
Schumacher and Lloyd Webber restarted development for The Phantom of the Opera in December 2002. It was then announced in January 2003 that Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group had purchased the film rights from Warner Bros. in an attempt to produce The Phantom of the Opera independently. As a result, Lloyd Webber invested $6 million of his own money. The Phantom of the Opera was produced on a $55 million budget. A further $15 million was used for marketing, bringing the final budget to $70 million. Warner Bros. was given a first look deal for distribution; the studio did not sign on until June 2003, when the principal cast was chosen.
Casting [ ]
Hugh Jackman was offered the chance to audition for the Phantom, but he faced scheduling conflicts with Van Helsing. "They rang to ask about my availability", Jackman explained in an April 2003 interview, "probably about 20 other actors as well. I wasn't available, unfortunately. So, that was a bummer." "We needed somebody who has a bit of rock and roll sensibility in him", Andrew Lloyd Webber explained. "He's got to be a bit rough, a bit dangerous; not a conventional singer. Christine is attracted to the Phantom because he's the right side of danger." Director Joel Schumacher had been impressed with Gerard Butler's performance in Dracula 2000. Prior to his audition, Butler had no professional singing experience and had only taken four voice lessons before singing "The Music of the Night" for Lloyd Webber.
Katie Holmes, who began working with a vocal coach, was the front-runner for Christine Daaé in March 2003. She was later replaced by Anne Hathaway, a classically trained soprano, in 2004. However, Hathaway dropped out of the role because the production schedule of the film overlapped with The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement , which she was contractually obligated to make. Hathaway was then replaced with Emmy Rossum. The actress modeled the relationship between the Phantom and Christine after Suzanne Farrell and George Balanchine. Patrick Wilson was cast as Raoul based on his previous Broadway theatre career. For the role of Carlotta, Minnie Driver devised an over-the-top, camp performance as the egotistical prima donna. Despite also lacking singing experience, Ciarán Hinds was cast by Schumacher as Richard Firmin; the two had previously worked together on Veronica Guerin. Ramin Karimloo also briefly appears as the portrait of Gustave Daaé, Christine's father. Karimloo later played the Phantom as well as the role of Raoul on London's West End.
Filming [ ]
Principal photography lasted from 15 September 2003 to 15 January 2004. The film was shot entirely using eight sound stages at Pinewood Studios, where, on the Pinewood backlot, the bottom half exterior of the Palais Garnier was constructed. The top half was implemented using a combination of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and a scale model created by Cinesite. The surrounding Paris skyline for "All I Ask of You" was entirely composed of matte paintings. Cinesite also created a miniature falling chandelier, since a life-size model was too big for the actual set.
Production designer Anthony D. G. Pratt was influenced by French architect Charles Garnier, designer of the original Paris opera house, as well as Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent, Gustave Caillebotte, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Schumacher was inspired by Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946), where a hallway is lined with arms holding candelabra. The cemetery was based on the Père Lachaise and Montparnasse. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne utilised a limited black, white, gold and silver colour palette for the Masquerade ball.
Reception [ ]
Release and awards [ ].
The Phantom of the Opera was released in the United States on 22 December 2004. With a limited release of 622 theaters, it opened at tenth place at the weekend box office, grossing $6.5 million across five days. After expanding to 907 screens on 14 January 2005 the film obtained the 9th spot at the box office, which it retained during its 1,511 screens wide release on 21 January 2005. The total domestic gross was $51,225,796. With a further $107 million earned internationally, The Phantom of the Opera reached a worldwide total of $158,225,796. A few foreign markets were particularly successful, such as Japan, where the film's ¥4.20 billion ($35 million) gross stood as the 6th most successful foreign film and 9th overall of the year. The United Kingdom and South Korea both had over $10 million in receipts, with $17.5 million and $11.9 million, respectively.
Anthony Pratt and Celia Bobak were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, as was John Mathieson for Cinematography. However, both categories were awarded to The Aviator. Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Charles Hart were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Learn to Be Lonely") but lost to "Al otro lado del río" from The Motorcycle Diaries. The song was also nominated for the Golden Globe but it lost to Alfie's "Old Habits Die Hard". In the same ceremony, Emmy Rossum was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, losing to Annette Bening in Being Julia. At the Saturn Awards, Rossum won for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, while The Phantom of the Opera was nominated for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film and Alexandra Byrne was nominated for Costume Design.
The soundtrack of the film was released in two separate CD formats on 23 November 2004 as a two-disc deluxe edition which includes dialogue from the film and a single-disc highlights edition.
The film had its initial North America video release on DVD and VHS on 3 May 2005, following its first digital release on HD-DVD on 18 April 2006 and a Blu-ray edition on 31 October 2006.
Critical reception [ ]
The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 32% rotten with an average score of 5/10. "The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical histrionic, boring and lacking in both romance and danger", the consensus read. "Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle". By comparison, Metacritic calculated an average score of 40/100 from its 39 reviews collected.
Despite having been impressed with the cast, Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote that "Teen romance and operetta-style singing replace the horror elements familiar to film-goers, and director Joel Schumacher obscures any remnants of classy stage spectacle with the same disco overkill he brought to Batman Forever." Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com believed that Phantom of the Opera "takes everything that's wrong with Broadway and puts it on the big screen in a gaudy splat."
In a mixed review for Newsweek, David Ansen praised Rossum's performance, but criticized the filmmakers for their focus on visual design rather than presenting a cohesive storyline. "Its kitschy romanticism bored me on Broadway and it bores me here—I may not be the most reliable witness. Still, I can easily imagine a more dashing, charismatic Phantom than Butler's. Rest assured, however, Lloyd Webber's neo-Puccinian songs are reprised and reprised and reprised until you're guaranteed to go out humming." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly believed Schumacher did not add enough dimension in adapting The Phantom of the Opera. "Schumacher, the man who added nipples to Batman's suit, has staged Phantom chastely, as if his job were to adhere the audience to every note".
Roger Ebert reasoned that "part of the pleasure of movie-going is pure spectacle—of just sitting there and looking at great stuff and knowing it looks terrific. There wasn't much Schumacher could have done with the story or the music he was handed, but in the areas over which he held sway, he has triumphed." In contrasting between the popularity of the Broadway musical, Michael Dequina of Film Threat magazine explained that "it conjures up this unexplainable spell that leaves audiences sad, sentimental, swooning, smiling—in some way transported and moved. Now, in Schumacher's film, that spell lives on."
See also [ ]
- The Phantom of the Opera (2004 soundtrack)
- This film was released by Universal Pictures only in Brazil and by Odyssey Entertainment in the international territories.
External Links [ ]
- 1 Elmyra Duff
- 2 Missy Cooper
- 3 Tooned Out
Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, 'phantom' merits a look, but don't bother listening.
Now streaming on:
The question at this point is whether " The Phantom of the Opera " is even intended to be frightening. It has become such a product of modern popular art that its original inspiration, "the loathsome gargoyle who lives in hell but dreams of heaven," has come dangerously close to becoming an institution, like Dracula, who was also scary a long, long time ago.
Lon Chaney's Phantom in the 1925 silent had a hideously damaged face, his mouth a lipless rictus, his eyes off-center in gouged-out sockets. When Christine tore off his mask, she was horrified, and so was the audience. In the Lloyd Webber version, now filmed by Joel Schumacher , the mask is more like a fashion accessory, and the Phantom's "good" profile is so chiseled and handsome that the effect is not an object of horror but a kinky babe magnet.
There was something unwholesome and pathetic about the 1925 Phantom, who scuttled like a rat in the undercellars of the Paris Opera and nourished a hopeless love for Christine. The modern Phantom is more like a perverse Batman with a really neat cave. The character of Raoul, Christine's nominal lover, has always been a fatuous twerp, but at least in the 1925 version, Christine is attracted to the Phantom only until she removes his mask. In this version, any red-blooded woman would choose the Phantom over Raoul, even knowing what she knows now.
But what I am essentially disliking is not the film, but the underlying material. I do not think Lloyd Webber wrote a very good musical. The story is thin beer for the time it takes to tell it, and the music is maddeningly repetitious. When the chandelier comes crashing down, it's not a shock, it's a historical reenactment. You do remember the tunes as you leave the theater, but you don't walk out humming them, you wonder if you'll be able to get them out of your mind. Every time I see Lloyd Webber's " Phantom ," the bit about the "darkness of the music of the night" bounces between my ears, as if, like Howard Hughes, I am condemned to repeat the words until I go mad. (I have the same difficulty with "Waltzing Matilda.") Lyrics like:
Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world/Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before/Let your soul take you where you long to be/Only then can you belong to me.
Wouldn't get past Simon Cowell, let alone Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Yet Schumacher has bravely taken aboard this dreck and made of it a movie I am pleased to have seen. To have seen, that is, as opposed to have heard. I concede that Emmy Rossum , who is only 18 and sings her own songs and carries the show, is a phenomenal talent, and I wish her all the best -- starting with better material. What an Eliza Dolittle she might make. But the songs are dirges or show-lounge retreads; the dialogue laboriously makes its archaic points, and meanwhile, the movie looks simply sensational. Schumacher knows more about making a movie than the material deserves, and he simply goes off on his own, bringing greatness to his department and leaving the material to fend for itself.
I recently attended a rehearsal of the Lyric Opera's new production of " A Wedding ," and talked with its co-writer and director, Robert Altman . "I don't know $#!+ about the music," he told me. "I don't even know if they're singing on key. That's not my job. I focus on how it moves, how it looks, and how it plays." One wonders if Schumacher felt the same way -- not that it would be polite to ask him.
He has a sure sense for the macabre, going back to his 1987 teenage vampire movie " The Lost Boys " and certainly including his " Flatliners " (1990), about the medical students who induce technical death. His " Batman Forever " was the best of the Batman movies, not least because of its sets. Here, working with production designer Anthony Pratt (" Excalibur "), art director John Fenner (" Raiders of the Lost Ark "), set decorator Celia Bobak (Branagh's " Henry V " and "Hamlet") and costume designer Alexandra Byrne (" Elizabeth "), he creates a film so visually resonant you want to float in it.
I love the look of the film. I admire the cellars and dungeons and the Styx-like sewer with its funereal gondola, and the sensational masked ball, and I was impressed by the rooftop scenes, with Paris as a backdrop in the snow. The scarlet of the Phantom's cape acts like a bloodstain against the monochrome cityscape and Christine's pale skin, and she rises to an occasion her rival lovers have not earned. She responds to more genuine tragedy than the film provides for her. She has feelings her character must generate from within, and she is so emotionally tortured and romantically torn that both Raoul and the Phantom should ask themselves if there is another man.
I know there are fans of the Phantom. For a decade in London, you couldn't go past Her Majesty's Theater without seeing them with their backpacks, camped out, waiting all night in hopes of a standby ticket. People have seen it 10, 20, 100 times -- have never done anything else in their lives but see it. They will embrace the movie, and I congratulate them, because they have waited too long to be disappointed. Some still feel Michael Crawford should have been given the role he made famous onstage; certainly Gerald Butler's work doesn't argue against their belief. But Butler is younger and more conventionally handsome than Crawford, in a GQ kind of way; Lloyd Webber's play has long since forgotten the Phantom is supposed to be ugly and aging and, given the conditions in those cellars, probably congested, arthritic and neurasthenic.
This has been, I realize, a nutty review. I am recommending a movie that I do not seem to like very much. But part of the pleasure of moviegoing is pure spectacle -- of just sitting there and looking at great stuff and knowing it looks terrific. There wasn't much Schumacher could have done with the story or the music he was handed, but in the areas over which he held sway, he has triumphed. This is such a fabulous production that by recasting two of the three leads and adding some better songs it could have been, well, great.
Ebert's Great Movie review of "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925) is online at rogerebert.com. His serial "Behind the Phantom's Mask" (1993), a murder mystery involving an alcoholic understudy to the Phantom, is nowhere near selling out at Amazon.com.
Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.
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The Phantom of the Opera directed by Rupert Julian (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera directed by Joel Schumacher (2004) original musical written by Andrew Lloyd Weber in 1986
I didn’t know until recently that Phantom was a book! I knew there were older movies, but the only adaptation I was familiar with was the musical. I was surprised as I read, how dark the book is and how disturbed the Phantom was.
This book is also written as if from the perspective of an investigator or journalist who is trying to uncover the truth of what happened at the Paris Opera years prior. While there really was a tragedy of the chandelier falling leading to some people dying, as well as rumors of a ghost, plus the underground of the opera house being full of tunnels and having a river. So, it is sort of based in some truth, but the story of Christine and the details of the Phantoms past and all that is made up.
This is a quick read and was originally published as a serial. It therefore has a lot of chapters that end in cliffhangers. It is also written in a simple, direct way. I usually assume that older books will take a bit to become accustomed to the older writing style, but this one was an easy read.
I grew up listening to the soundtrack from the Broadway play and saw this movie shortly after it was released. I have always loved the music, and this is a great movie adaptation! Gerard Butler doesn’t have the most amazing voice, but he certainly isn’t the disaster of Russel Crowe in Les Mis . Emmy Rossum is superb as Christine and she was only 17 during filming! I was also shocked to realize Cirian Heinz plays one of the new opera owners! He looks so different! He his younger, plus just his hair and everything is so different.
Minnie Driver plays Carlotta, who has a bigger role in the movie I would say, then she did in the book. She is the only one who doesn’t do her own singing. Watching it this time around, I noticed how much humor is in this movie and it seems Driver in particular was having a good time with this.
This is an amazing production though, the sets, the wardrobe, the singing. My only complaint would be the flash-forwards throughout the movie. Whenever they happen, it just ruins the flow! I’m fine having it start with the present day, and end with the present day, but those parts in the middle I did not like at all.
The Phantom’s history
We will start right with the Phantom. For starters, in the book his name is Erik! I could not believe that lol, it is just such a normal name. In the book we learn that he was born disfigured and his mother was disgusted with him and made him a mask to wear. She also never let him kiss her and she never kissed him.
At some point he started traveling around and spent time in parts of the middle east, such as Persia. He helps sultans build trap doors, torture chambers, and other such things. When he is done, he has to run away because they now want to kill him seeing as how he knows their secret passages and such.
We hear about one sultana he seems to have been into and it seems like he would kill people using his “Punjab lasso” for entertainment for her. Maybe I misunderstood that part of the book, but that’s what it seems like.
He then goes to Paris and helps with the construction of the opera house and puts in all those trap doors and passageways and decides that is where he will live. I assume he was wearing some kind of disguise through all of this to hide his disfiguration.
In the musical, we learn his mother didn’t love him due to his face, and at some point, was the “circus freak”, this was also in the book by the way.
In the movie, he kills the guy who is in charge of the circus, and a young Madame Giry sees and helps him run away and has him live below the opera where she is training.
Before moving on to Christine, I want to share some quotes from the book that show the kind of person Erik is, “His horrible, unparalleled and repulsive ugliness put him without the pale of humanity; and it often seemed to me that, for this reason, he no longer believed that he had any duty toward the human race.”
Another quotes says how he is, “.. in certain respects, a regular child, vain and self-conceited, and there is nothing he loves so much, after astonishing people, as to prove all the really miraculous ingenuity of his mind.”
The Phantom and Christine
In the book, Erik seems to be beyond positive influence. Of course, he does release Christine in the end, but still, he has a backwards way of thinking and is not sane. The book really shows how much he tormented Christine, tricked her, manipulated her, and forced her to do what he wanted. At one point near the end, he leaves her alone in his chambers and while alone she tries to commit suicide by banging her head against the wall repeatedly! When he comes back, he ties her up to prevent her from harming herself further.
She also can’t show her affection for Raoul because of how controlling and jealous he is. This is kind of shown in the movie with them having a “secret” engagement, but in the book, it was even more so.
We learn in the book that Christine was visited by his voice, and later told Madame Giry about it (her adoptive mother) and wondered if it was the Angel of Music her father said would one day visit her. Giry advised Christine to ask the voice, so next time he spoke to her she asked if he was the Angel of Music to which he said he was.
In the book, when Christine is telling Raoul about everything, he thinks to himself, “He now realized the possible state of mind of a girl brought up between a superstitious fiddler and a visionary old lady and he shuddered when he thought of the consequences of it all.”
In the book Erik gives Christine a ring when having her with him for a week or two. He tells her she must wear the ring as a symbol of her loyalty to him. Raoul asks her about it but she avoids answering for a while. She suggests she and Raoul pay pretend to be engaged for the next little while and tells him that the Phantom is busy working on his opera piece and when he works on it he become obsessed and does nothing else, so they are therefore safe to roam the opera house together. Though she tries to stay on the higher floors, hoping that will reduce the risk of the Phantom seeing her with Raoul. Of course, as scene in both movies, when they go to the opera rooftop and she tells him all about the Phantom, the Phantom is there too and overhears it all.
The movie does have the line the Phantom says about Raoul, “He was bound to love you when he heard you sing” which watching now comes off very manipulative. As if the Phantom is the only one who can truly love her because he wanted to be with her before she became well known for her singing. As if Raoul doesn’t truly love her, but just likes her for her voice and fame.
Also, in the book when Christine takes off the Phantom’s mask while in his lair, he goes kind of crazy, which the movie shows. But in the book, he grabs her and forces her to look at his face, then takes her hand and uses her fingernails to scratch his own face.
Christine and Raoul
In the book, Raoul is also very possessive of Christine and very jealous. He also doesn’t seem very concerned for her, rather is only worried about himself. He hears her in her dressing room saying, “Poor Erik” and thinks, “At first, he thought he must be mistaken. To begin with, he was persuaded that, if any one was to be pitied, it was he, Raoul. It would have been quite natural if she had said, “Poor Raoul,” after what had happened between them. But, shaking her head, she repeated: “Poor Erik!””
When Christine tries telling him she can’t be with him, rather than seeing the signs that she is being manipulated and controlled by a murderous man, he instead gets incredibly mean and says horrible things to her, to which she replies, ““You will beg my pardon, one day, for all those ugly words, Raoul, and when you do I shall forgive you!” He shook his head. “No, no, you have driven me mad! When I think that I had only one object in life: to give my name to an opera wench!””
Raoul is also useless in the rescue of Christine in the book and it is thanks to the Persian that she is saved in the end. But I will get to the details of that later.
In the musical, Raoul doesn’t take Christine seriously at first, but in time sees the threat the Phantom is and they have the duel at the graveyard. There is a graveyard scene in the book, but I don’t recall it leading to a fight between Erik and Raoul.
In the movie, Raoul organized a way to catch the Phantom during the play and throughout the movie he is much more heroic and likable than he was in the book. We also learn in the movie that she and Raoul had been childhood sweethearts, whereas in the book they had known each other, but I don’t know if they were sweethearts.
Also, in the book when he first approaches her and says something about knowing her, she laughs at him. This is after she has fainted, and there are others in the dressing room at the moment. Raoul is embarrassed and hurt. He later confronts her and she tells him she did it for his own good, because she couldn’t risk the Phantom seeing her be friendly with another man.
In the movie, when first reuniting, they talk alone and Christine is very happy to see him. In both, after they interact, she is taken away by the Phantom which Raoul overhears.
In the movie, there is also six months of relief from the Phantom during which time Raoul and Christine get engaged. At the masquerade Christine is wary of showing off the engagement and tells him they should keep it a secret.
In the book, she speaks to Raoul at the masquerade and tries to do it slyly, because the Phantom doesn’t want her speaking to him. Erik is there at the party, dressed as the Red Death, but he doesn’t make any grand announcement, rather is just kind of there.
In the musical, the Phantom is there and tells them he has written the play Don Juan Triumphant and they must perform it. In the book we know the music he is writing is called Don Juan Triumphant but he never has the opera perform it.
In the musical, they are performing Don Juan Triumphant when Christine takes off his mask, and then in the shock of the whole scene, the Phantom pulls a cord which opens a trap door and they fall down below.
Soon after this, Raoul is approached by Madame Giry and she takes him part of the way down before telling him she can’t risk going any further. He goes through some traps, but ultimately ends up with the Phantom and Christine. The Phantom tells her she must marry him, otherwise he will kill Raoul. Christine is disgusted and horrified by him and tells him it isn’t his face that bothers her, rather “it’s in your soul where the true distortion lies.” She then kisses the Phantom and he is brought to tears. In a moment of sanity, he tells her and Raoul to get out of there. They run off, but then Christine returns and gives him the ring he had taken, then goes back to Raoul. In modern day, we see an old Raoul at Christine’s fresh grave and there is also a rose with a black ribbon which is the Phantom’s signature token, showing he is still alive.
In the book Madame Giry isn’t the Phantom’s ally the way she is in the movie. She keeps his box open and delivers money to his box, however she has no personal connection with him and the only reason she does his bidding at times is because he has promised to advance her daughter in her career.
In the book it is a man who is simply referred to as the Persian who knows Erik from his days with the sultan. He takes Raoul down below-constantly telling him to keep his hand at the level of his eye to avoid the lasso which is the Phantom’s trademark. In the book, Raoul tries to get Christine to run away with him after she tells him about Erik when they are on the rooftop. She says she needs to let him hear her sing one last time and then she will go. Of course, during her final performance the lights go out and when they turn back on, Christine is gone because the Phantom has taken her down below.
Anyway, Raoul and the Persian end up falling into the Phantom’s torture chamber, which is a room with a fake tree and a noose hanging from the branch, with mirrors all around causing it to feel like you are in a forest. The Persian tries to find the latch but can’t. They hear Christine on the other side, and once she is alone, they call out to her, however she can’t open the chamber.
When the Phantom returns (from investigating Raoul’s brother who had made his way down below to find Raoul. The brother dies, but I think it was more “accidental” in the book) he discovers the men are in the chamber and turns up the heat, then he and Christine leave.
Basically, right away, Raoul loses it and can’t stand the heat or the confusion of the mirrors.
While he is a mess, the Persian keeps trying to find some latch or screw, which he does ultimately find. The chamber opens from below and drops them into a room with a bunch of gunpowder. They see it is 11pm the next night, so they were in the chamber for almost 24 hours!
They hear Christine and the Phantom return and he tells her to pick which knob she wants to turn-the scorpion knob which will mean she will marry him, or the grasshopper knob which will mean the end of everyone.
He leaves and she talks to Raoul and the Persian through the wall. They decide she should turn the scorpion and when she does the room with the gunpowder fills with water. Which is good, because it means the opera house won’t be blown up. However, the water doesn’t stop and they nearly drown.
When the Persian comes to, the Phantom tells him that it is thanks to Christine that he decided to save him and Raoul. He takes the Persian away, and shortly later, the Phantom arrives at the Persian’s home. He tells him that he was going to take Christine away with him but she allowed him to kiss her forehead and she kissed his forehead. He is so touched by this, having never kissed a living person (implying that he has kissed corpses) and he has never had a person kiss him before. He decides to let her and Raoul go and they run away to another part of the country.
He tells the Persian he is going to die of a broken heart, and when he is dead, to put a notice in the paper and to have the ring he had given Christine placed with him. Which is what happens.
It has been so long since seeing a silent film and I love how they really demand your full attention due to the fact there is so sound (aside from the music). I have seen a number of silent movies in the past, but they were almost all comedies-Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. I was impressed with how truly scary this movie was! Lon Chaney famously did his own makeup and it is superb, just so creepy. The mask he wears is also creepy because of how human like he made it look. I also read that Chaney was raised by deaf mutes and therefore was successful as a silent star because he was used to having to be very expressive with his face and hands.
This adaptation stays very true to the original story for the most part. They speed things alone of course, because it is under 90 minutes long.
I will begin with the end. In the movie, we have Raoul and the guy helping him-in the book it is the Persian, in the movie it is a guy who is an undercover cop who has been investigating the Phantom-anyway the stuff with them is very similar with the torture chamber, the scorpion and grasshopper, with the room being filled with water and Christine convincing Erik to save them. He then runs off with Christine in a carriage and is being chased by a mob. Christine ends up getting out of the carriage and is saved by Raoul. The Phantom is then overtaken by the mob and he is beat to death and his body is thrown in the river, the end! I was surprised by the brutality of this ending. Erik doesn’t die of a broken heart but is rather bludgeoned by the townspeople!
The silent movie doesn’t have the famous scene from book and the musical where he causes Carlotta to croak when singing, but this makes sense considering it is a silent film. Carlotta’s mother is in this movie which seems random…why not have Carlotta in those scenes rather than have her mother there speaking on her behalf…?
The book actually begins with them finding the body of Joseph Buquet, whereas the ’25 movie he is found close to to the end. Then in the musical, his killed in the middle!
In both movies, Joseph enjoys creeping people out with his stories of the Phantom and in the ’25 movie, he is holding a fake prop head that looks very realistic! Gave the whole scene a creepy vibe for sure.
Raoul is kind of in the middle in this movie. He isn’t the self-centered wimp he was in the book, but not the hero of the 2004 movie. Honestly his character is pretty bland here. I wasn’t really feeling the romance between he and Christine in any of the versions to be honest. Though I suppose I would say the 2004 movie made it the most believable.
There is a scene in the book where Raoul is followed home by the Phantom and Raoul shoots him. It’s all speculative though, Raoul’s brother thinks it was a cat whos eyes he saw, but Raoul feels certain it was the Phantom. This isn’t in either movie.
The masquerade scene in the ’25 movie plays out basically the same as in the book as well.
Oh, and in the book and in the ’25 movie, we see Raoul’s brother. In the book he is against his romance with Christine and in book and movie he ends up dying when he goes below the opera house to try and find Raoul. This is a great scene in the ’25 movie because the Phantom is pretty creepy as he gets his reed and walks into the water to tip over the boat the brother is in.
The brother isn’t in the 2004 version.
Book vs movies
This is tough, because I like the actual story in the book and ’25 movie with how the Phantom is deeply disturbed. In the musical, he is clearly messed up, but you just aren’t as bothered by him as you are in the book and ’25 movie. And it isn’t just that his face isn’t nearly as creepy, his personality isn’t nearly as creepy and messed up. When I was in my teens and even early adulthood, I thought she should have gone with the Phantom! I’m older and wiser now, and even with the musical, I can spot an abusive relationship when I see one lol. In the book and older movie, it is clear how crazy the Phantom is. Plus, I know it isn’t fair, but because of how creepy his face really is in the movie, it makes you not root for him the way you may find yourself rooting for the Phantom in the 2004 movie.
I absolutely love the music though! Like I said, it is one the soundtracks I grew up listening to and loving, and overall, I think the singing is excellent in the movie. So, this is a tough one to choose which I like more. If it wasn’t for the music, I for sure wouldn’t like the 2004 movie as much, but how can you talk about the 2004 movie and not think of the music?? I mean, do I have to choose?? This is too hard! I love them all for what they are. The silent movie leaves something to be desired with the way they sped things up, but I mean, Lon Chaney’s Phantom is as iconic a monster as Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as the monster in Frankenstein! I might cheat and say I love all three for different reasons and would recommend you check out each one!
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The Phantom of the Opera
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How long has The Phantom of the Opera been on Broadway?
- Ashley Vega
- Published : 21:57 ET, Oct 13 2023
- Updated : 21:57 ET, Oct 13 2023
ANDREW Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera has been one of Broadway's most successful shows.
With many adaptations of the original show, musical theatre fans want to know just how long The Phantom of the Opera has been around.
The Phantom of the Opera first debuted in London on West End on October 9, 1986.
However, the show eventually made its way to Broadway due to its success debuting on January 9, 1988.
The playwright and music were both composed by Broadway producer, Andrew Lloyd Webber .
In 2004, the show received a film adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher.
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Since its debut, the show has remained running until the COVID-19 pandemic.
When theatre resumed, both the West End and Broadway show returned.
However, due to inflation , the show had its final Broadway performance on April 16, 2023.
As of October 2023, The Phantom of the Opera is still running in West End and the play has become the longest-running show.
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Who has played the phantom on broadway.
Since The Phantom of the Opera debuted on Broadway, a number of actors took the role of The Phantom.
These actors include:
- Michael Crawford
- Timothy Nolen
- Cris Groenendaal
- Steve Barton
- Mark Jacoby
- Marcus Lovett
- Davis Gaines
- Hugh Panaro
- Howard McGillin
- Peter Jöback
- James Barbour
- Laird Mackintosh
- Ben Crawford
What is the musical based on?
The Phantom of the Opera is based on the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux of the same name.
The story is based on a masked man, also known as the Phantom who lurks around the Paris Opera House.
While in the shadows of the opera house, the Phantom hears and falls in love with a singer named Christine.
However, Christine is in love with her childhood friend Raoul and it drives the Phantom mad.
The Phantom then kidnaps Christine and keeps her locked away in his lair. While Raoul attempts to get Christine back from the Phantom.
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