Day 16: The Phantom of the Opera exists in two parts, one part horror/love story and the other broadway musical. Originally published in 1909 Gaston Leroux, the novel tells the story of Christine, a young opera singer, and her beloved Raoul. The Phantom kidnaps Christine, hoping that she will love him. He is unmasked, revealing a corpse-like figure. After some time, he lets Christine go, as long as she promising to be loyal to him. The Phantom discovers Christine is still in love with Raoul and attends a masquerade ball as the Red Death, only to run away with Christine again. The ending, which I won’t spoil, follows.
The 1925 Silent Film starring Lon Chaney is considered the most faithful adaption to the book and the unmasking scene is one of the most famous scenes in horror movie history. The film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1998 as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
The Broadway version in 1986 tells a very similar tale, a few changes here and there. The Phantom is not nearly as horrific, with some disfigurement to one side of his face. It is a story of a love that cannot be reciprocated. The Phantom is a stalker, kidnapper, murderer and yet we feel sorry for him. Personally I really enjoy the music, and find it a great addition to the original story.
Did you know: Lon Chaney devised his own make-up which was kept secret right up until the film’s premiere.