Christine Daaé, a talented young singer, after being discovered by the known playboy Comte Philippe de Chagny, is sent to the Paris Opera House by her new patron to be classically trained. ...
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Christine Daaé, a talented young singer, after being discovered by the known playboy Comte Philippe de Chagny, is sent to the Paris Opera House by her new patron to be classically trained. Unfortunately, her point of contact, the manager, Gérard Carrière, has just been fired. The new managers -- Cholet and his wife, Carlotta -- put Christine to work in the costuming department instead. After a short time there, Christine is overheard singing in the dead of night by the fabled Phantom of the Opera that lurks far below the theatre. The Phantom soon introduces himself as Maestro and decides to take Christine under his wing, training her voice himself. However, all of their plans upend when Comte de Chagny returns to Paris.
The miniseries was only aired on television twice. It was initially broadcast as a four-hour, two-part miniseries on NBC for two nights on March 18 to March 19, 1990. It was subsequently shown in the mid-1990s on A&E. See more »
When Carlotta sings, her words don't match her lips. See more »
This version of "The Phantom of the Opera" (which was obviously written for the stage and carries that atmosphere throughout the movie) seems to have been made for those who savor a lush, epic feel- the music, framed around the operatic bits which are central to the story, is gliding and hypnotic (the "Angels Pure" finale may well have been badly dubbed, but I was too entranced to notice) and the sets are appropriately opulant and surrealistic (my favorites being, of course, the catacombs, as well as the scene at the Bistro). And it's rare that I see a movie that has succeeds so well in making almost every single actor, usually under candlelight or a faint bluish glow, look as ethereally beautiful as their surroundings. These two factors alone make the movie worth watching and, when it's all said and done, was probably what was most strongly impressed on me at the end of the four hours. It's very deliberately paced, forcing the viewer to drink in all of the movie slowly and, I think, reshaping the traditional way this story has been told--this movie is character-driven, not action driven, a way of storytelling that appeals to me. When the action finally does happen, we get a clear understanding of why.
The characters, though, weren't necessarily the most believable bunch I've ever seen, a fact that owes some to the writing, which gives them poetic but improbable dialogue, and the woe-is-me soliloquies, particularly on the part of Erik, start to wear. But of course, I can't complain too much--"Phantom" is played as either as a horror story or a melodrama, (or both), and thanks to the (overdone?) effort to make the viewer sympathise with the tragic antihero Phantom, it's not much of a horror story. The acting, too, is a little over-the-top...though a lot of that is probably intentional (and fun to watch!). I wished Christine was a stronger, less wishy-washy character (of course she really isn't shown as anything but, no matter which version, including the Lloyd-Webber "Phantom") and I wished that Phillipe was more of a presence, more of a deserving rival to the gloomy phantomized Erik. I also thought that the fact that Christine not simply sounded like, but also LOOKED like Erik's mother (prompting him to fall in love with her, the old Oedipean twist), shot down one of the main themes of the movie, voiced in Erik's complaint that Phillipe came to the opera for the wrong reason: the love of faces rather than the love of music. Much better if they would have used a different actress in the flashback scenes with Gerard (Burt Lancaster) and Belladora (?), the mother. Still, there are scenes which seem to shrug off the need for realistic dialogue or flawless acting in the beauty of their execution. Some of my favorite parts, the flashbacks, are more-or-less mimed, and to me, the movie is most effective either when the characters are singing or when scene is taking place without much dialogue. The movie is fantasy-oriented, after all, not gritty realism, and after a while you DO grow attached to the characters. All-in-all, the movie is best enjoyed in a dark room and a thick blanket, with a mentality open to fantasy and escapism and cynicism pushed off to the side.
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