Phantom of the Opera is one of those musicals/films that people probably take in MULTIPLE times before they even know it’s a book, and definitely before they read the book. Unless you study French literature, then maybe you read the book…but I know I didn’t until high school, and I’d already seen the musical and the movie several times, but if you like the core of the story, you might just end up enjoying the book MORE than the movie.
A mysterious Phantom haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House where he has fallen passionately in love with the beautiful singer Christine Daaé. When the Phantom is finally unmasked, will Christine see beyond his hideous disfigurement? Christine’s plight, the fate of Erik, and the redemptive power of love stand at the heart of this remarkable novel. The twists and turns of Leroux’s thrilling story have captivated readers since its very first appearance in 1910. It is a terrific story that combines mystery, crime, adventure, detection, and tortured love. This sparkling new translation–by the prize-winning editor and translator David Coward–is as full-blooded and sensational as the original. Coward’s introduction tells the fascinating story of the novel’s genesis, considers Leroux’s life and career, describes the serialized fiction genre of which he was the last great exponent, and makes a case for the book as a work of considerable literary craft. Coward’s thorough notes further illuminate the narrative and an appendix on the construction of the Paris Opera helps set the novel in its architectural context.
If you like French literature, don’t have a ton of time on your hand, and are into Phantom, you’ll like this book! It’s a more nuanced version of the story, there’s stuff that isn’t in the film, and I swear, it’s not that long.
Now, onto the 2004 film:
Come on…we all know and love this film, even if we don’t want to admit it. Something about it just draws us in, and raise your hand if it took you years to realize that was Gerard Butler behind the mask. Also….Emmy Rossum was SO YOUNG in this movie…like “had to sign a waiver” young. It’s got Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Minnie Driver as Carlotta, and it’s directed by Joel Schumacher, who also directed Batman & Robin and the 1990 Flatliners.
Don’t expect an Oscar from this movie, just put it on, sing along, and enjoy your day, okay?