[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Phantom of the Opera (2004)

The Broadway musical version

[Strip of film rule]
by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

The Phantom of the Opera – (2004) “A universe is a mask fitted on the face of the unknown [real] Universe,” commented cosmologist Edward Harrison. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magnificent musical brought to the screen with splendiferous sets and costumes by Joel Schumacher opens with a black-and-white scene of an auction in Paris 1919 that bursts into a spectacle of music and color at a rehearsal of Chalumeau’s Hannibal in the Opera Populaire of 1870.

The tragic, tidal story (a merger of Faust with Beauty and the Beast) of a jealous genius, who wears a mask to hide his deformed face, dashed into madness when he is denied and betrayed by the love of a 16-year-old soprano, the only daughter of a famous deceased Swedish violinist, whom the phantom has inspired with song (an unseen voice, a secret and strange angel of music she has mistaken for her father’s spirit) incongruously flowing above a comic undercurrent, an antimasque of clowns (the opera house’s new managers Messrs Andre and Firmin and their prima donna Carlotta). At midpoint when the stage custodian falls to the stage during a performance of the comedy Il Muto with a noose around his neck, the humor ends and horror takes over, concluding with the phantom’s own opera composition Don Juan.

Unfortunately too often the acting fails to reach the heights of the songs (oh, the music is gloriously gorgeous!), though the first scene in the phantom’s dungeon is very affecting. I was disappointed that Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum) left the phantom (Gerard Butler, who performed better than the other leads, looking like a young John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever in a mask) for Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (Patrick Wilson). We watched it twice on consecutive nights (a rarity for us) and will get a CD of the soundtrack, a DVD of the movie, and look for an opportunity to attend a live performance. A rock-musical version of The Phantom of the Opera is Phantom of the Paradise (1974), featuring the music and screen appearance of Paul Williams – “I’d sell my soul for one love who would sing my song.”

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2007 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule miade of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)