Monday, August 07, 2006

Phantom of the Opera

I first heard the music from "Phantom of the Opera" on, of all places, the Jerry Lewis labor day telethon. They showed a video clip of "Music Of the Night." The beautiful song stuck with me, and I eventually got ahold of Michael Crawford's "Andrew Lloyd Webber" album, another real treat. But I never actually got to see the play, and I didn't get to see the Phantom movie when it was in the theaters. But I enjoyed the music that I had heard, and so one evening recently I decided to rent the movie.

Let's see. . .I think I cried about three times. Something like that. And it's been a long time since a movie has brought me to tears.

The story is about a young woman named Christine who becomes a popular singer at the Paris opera house. She even has her old boyfriend, Raoul, come to visit her and share his feelings of love for her. Sounds like a charmed life, right? But all is not well. You see, lurking beneath the opera house is part of the reason that Christine is such a great singer. She has been taking lessons from an "Angel of Music" -- an angel that was promised by her father before he died. Could this "Phantom of the Opera" be a true messenger from beyond?

Some of the most moving moments in the film come in places you wouldn't expect. At one point, Christine pays a visit to a cemetery. The song "Wishing you were somehow here again" shows us the heart of Christine and demonstrates her struggle to let go of the past. So we get a peek into the hearts of both Christine and the Phantom (and even a bit into Raoul's heart - his love for Christine is true. At the climax, he urges Christine not to "throw her life away" for his sake!)

At the end (I'm trying hard not to give anything away, folks, but it's not easy), the Phantom is brought to see the error of his ways, but the way this is brought about is completely unexpected. It has to do, I think, with the sharing of one's heart with someone else. It was a way of showing the Phantom, "You are not alone."

This film is awesome. An all-around great movie. Incredibly moving and beautifully filmed and acted and sung. I'm now a fan and have been keeping my eye out for Phantom-related information. I bought the soundtrack album and a cassette of the Broadway version (also awesome!). The movie was all I had hoped it would be - a beautiful, tragic story set to some beautiful music. Sadly, it seems a lot of "Phantom" fans don't like it for various reasons (It's not Michael Crawford, I hate her dress, etc.). Friends, let's not throw away something that's good just because it isn't perfect.

I've been humming the music to myself for days. I'd love to be in this show, but the problem is I want to play too many people. I want to be the Phantom, Christine, Raoul, Carlotta, those two opera owners, the cast of "Masquerade," etc. Hey, maybe I could do a "one-man" Phantom concert! Hmmm. . .

Here are some comments from two old friends of mine:

ERNIE: Hey Bert, what does he EAT? How does the Phantom eat?
BERT: I don't know. Maybe he catches fish in his little moat down there.
ERNIE: Oh, there are no fish in that water, Bert.
BERT: How do you know?
ERNIE: Well, he lives under the city, right?
BERT: UGH! The Phantom of the toilet!

Anyway, if you're looking for a great musical, I'd definitely recommend this one. Just watch out for that chandelier. . .


Here's the official movie site:

Yes, it really is still playing! Here's the web site of the play:

You can commune with other Phantom fans here: