i just found this amazing youtube mash-up today – it is the original japanese cast of the pantom of the opera singinging ‘stranger than you dreamt it’ alongside the 1925 lon chaney phantom film
i don’t know if if i’ve ever bored you with how much i hate joel scumacher’s phatom of the opera but i’m going to. finding that clip has just brought all my seething resentment about it bubbling to the fore again.
let me put my cards on the table here: i like musicals. there, i said it. and yes, i like the phantom.
it was always going to be a bit dicey translating it to film. alan parker did a really good job of evita but by nature of it’s ‘theatricality’ (ok, implicit borderline ridiculousness) phantom was always going to be a little more tricky.
so they gave the job to joel ‘i nearly killed batman’ schumacher.
everything about the film is terrible. too many static shots of people standing signing at each other. too much gerad butler swishing his cape around like a cow tail. too much of jennifer ellison murdering every line she has. just too much, really.
i’ve since found out that mr s originally wanted antonio banderas for the phantom which would just about explain why gerad butler is playing it as antonio banderas as zoro. almost.
there are a lot of awful things about the film which, to be fair, are also awful about the stage version but somehow they read so much worse on screen. the orchastration is pretty outdated to say the least (drum machine and keyboard aplenty) but how hard would it really be to sort these out a bit for the film? the original novel by gaston leroux is gothic in the traditional sense (closer in tone to the novels of jekyl & hyde or frankenstein) and there was a wonderful opertunity to team up the musical score with something just a little more believable and darker. instead it’s like someone described ‘goth’ down the phone to their mother and told them to direct it. whilst playing flamenco music.
ironically, the one thing in the film that i was most worried about before hand was the only thing i really enjoyed in it: minnie driver as carlotta. i have always pictured carlotta as more of a hag-diva, a miriam margoyles type. but give the girl her dues – she did a good job of brightening up an otherwise loathsome experience.
oh, that and getting to see simon callow sing – i could watch that man read the back of a tin of peas and be happy.
but the leads – oh god. neither of their voices are anywhere near rich enough for the roles. the girl who plays christine (she is so dull i can’t even remember her name and refuse to google out of spite) is just a wet little lassie who could be a million other wet little lassies. her voice is clear enough, but so boring. the benchmark will allways be sarah brightman and and michael crawford. sarah brightman has an incredible vocal range and allthough she is most known for being able to hit those incredible high notes at the end of the title song it’s often when she sings in the lower register that she really makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. she often reminds me of an operatic kate bush in that sense.
and michael crawford had just the perfect voice for the part: dark, emotional, syrupy. he can be quite creepy in places but also childlike and delicate.
this video clip sums up everything i hated about the film
when she appeared around the corner on the horse i actually burst out laughing in the cinema.
no need for the horse. none.