Romance, Adventure, heartache, comedy, betrayal…thats the story of The Phantom Of The Opera.
May 6, 1868 Author Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux was born in Paris, France. 68 years later He published in the French news paper Le Gaulois “Le Fantome De L’Opera” or as we know it, The Phantom Of The Opera. This single book out of all that Mr. Leroux wrote, became one of the most famous classic French novels, spuring countless reincarnations through the years including the original 1925 Rupert Julian silent film staring Lon Chaney to the little known 1989 slasher film version staring Nightmare On Elm Street’s Robert Englund.
Webber took a perfectly fine, well told story and bent it over his desk and a completly destroyed it, stamped HIS approval on it and released it on Broadway, making billions off it over the last 22 years and ill informed and uncultured people who never read the book in their life being none the wiser! Webbers horrific version of The Phantom Of The Opera left so much out that he ended up developing huge gaping plot holes everywhere you turn!
First and foremost…where did the Phantom come from? the movie would have you believe he was found as a child side show in the circus…an element of the book yes…but only a small element of his life. The Phantom is actually not from Paris…in fact Leroux indicates that no one knows where hes from originally…only that at one time he lived in India and ended up in Paris and was one of the masons, in fact one of the chief contractors, that worked on the building of the Paris Opera House. Remember this point for later as it is important!
Madam Giry in the stageplay and movie is elevated in character to be a major caretaker of the dance girls…sorry Webber…wrong again! Giry is actually a pretty mysterious old woman who tended to box 5 of the opera house, but little in the book is said of her besides her treatment of Giry by the new managers of the Opera House.
Speaking of the managers…their names are not Andre and Firmen, its Moncharmin and Richard. another change, though minor, still irritatingly inaccurate. And they are in the book much more enraged at first by the Opera Ghost’s audacity in making his demands…then later bend to his will.
Christine Daae is represented as an easily scared confusable and weak woman in the book. I guess this is somewhat accurate in Webber’s version so I can’t really complain about that too much, though there really was no conversation between Meg and Christine about the Angel of Music for in the book she was forbidden by the Phantom from talking about him in the first place.
Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, the “hero” of Webber’s version…is no hero…pig headed, brash, and in a word an idiot in the book, is elevated as being this brave person who conspires with the Opera House managers and police to entrap the Opera Ghost which is a gross misrepresentation! He has no idea where to go to help Christine when she disappeared during the performance of Don Juan Triumphant….which by the way is an unfinished opera in the book sitting in the opera ghosts bedroom…the Opera that was being preformed the night of Christine’s disappearance was the Opera known as Faust. Another gross misrepresentation of the book!
but wait..there is more!
There were major characters left out of the stage play that played a major role in the book! Once again the non-existence of these characters create huge plot holes in Webbers version.
Remember the fact that at last thought the Phantom was possibly from Persia? There is a character in the book simply known as “The Persian”. This man was a Persian police detective that helped the phantom, whose name is Eric by the way, escape a death sentace handed down by the Persian sultan because he was afraid that Eric would give away the tricks of the palace he lived in. Plus Eric had also committed some murders in the meantime. The existence of Eric at all by this point is The Persians fault! Pretty important point to leave out, dont you think? In fact it was The Persian that lead Raoul to the depths of the opera house to rescue Christine from Erik, not Madam Giry sending him down there! So important is this character that 7 chapters are devoted to him either guiding Raoul to Eric, or recounting his own experience with him! That’s a pretty substantial plot point to leave out of the story!
In all, the book Phantom Of The Opera is a well written French Novel, a masterpiece. In fact its considered one of the cardinal books that shapes modern detective mysteries today. If you want a good read and the “real” story of the Opera Ghost and the mystery that surrounded the events, and dont want major plot holes and poor storytelling, pick up this book! if you dont want to own it, get it from you local library. You will not be disappointed!
please note that i contrast it to Webber’s Phantom because its the most famous and widely known telling of the story.
The Phantom of the Opera gets an A+