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The Movie and The Musical: Early on, it's mentioned that Christine is such a fantastic singer because of the secret lessons she's been getting from her "Angel of Music", who of course turns out to be the Phantom. So someone with an opera-quality voice (Emmy Rossum has some experience with The Met under her belt) was taught by someone with a rock sensibility. How?

  • Christine must have some natural talent anyway, and if The Phantom knows the singing techniques he could probably teach the without actually being able to perform them himself. Also, since Erik is meant to be the greatest tenor in the world, it's not a huge stretch to imagine that he could use opera-quality for teaching and rock sensibility for his own personal music. This Troper can sing, and although she is by no means opera-quality, she is capable of switching between a more classical sound to more rocky depending on the music style and key, and she's a contralto with an average range at best.
  • Emmy Rossum really isn't "opera-quality" either. Her voice is good enough if you need a Liesl for your high school's production of The Sound of Music, but her voice doesn't measure up to even the "legit music theater" standards of most stage Christines, let alone the rigorous demands of opera.
    • This seems to be Your Mileage May Vary, though. The idea behind casting Rossum may have been that she was the right age to play Christine, who is supposed to be a young chorus girl. Unfortunately, opera singers don't develop their full, strongest range until they're about 30 (or around there). They decided to go with the then-very-young Emmy Rossum. I believe she was 17 when cast, and her sound is probably about as good as any 17-year-old could be at singing songs written for Sarah Freakin' Brightman.
    • But that's just the point: Rossum was being presented (both as Christine in the film and in the promotional materials thereof) as a vocal prodigy, when her voice really isn't any better than any moderately talented high school choir member. Even if you want to avoid Dawson Casting, you could go to any really good college performing arts program in the country and find a few 20-year-old music/theater majors who could have done a much better job.
    • Perhaps it's just me, but I never understood all the criticism. I thought Rossum did a wonderful job and was actually better than Brightman.
    • This Troper never saw any evidence that Rossum OR Brightman could act. This is incredibly frustrating, as so many of the West End/Broadway Christines manage to be both incredibly talented vocally and also fantastic actresses.

As a fan of actual opera, it really, really bugs me that Carlotta's singing voice is much better than Christine's (mostly because Minnie Driver used a dub and Rossum didn't).

Then again, it does add a new outlook to the play; Christine isn't actually a better singer, she's just being promoted so the managers won't get killed.

  • YMMV as to what constitutes "better". Does Carlotta's voice show more talent? Yes, but is it more pleasant to listen to? The film's cut to the cleaning staff putting cotton in their ears mirrors what much of the audience felt. Carlotta's voice is talented sure, but it's over the top and unpleasant to listen to. Christine's had a much more simplistic beauty to it that actually allowed her to emote.
    • Carlotta may be over-the-top and bombastic, but she still would have been more impressive onstage than Christine, whose voice has no support behind it and wouldn't have carried beyond the first row or two of the house (remember, this is the 19th century and any means of amplification beyond natural acoustics is non-existent; opera singers stereotypically had big voices because they needed to be big in order to fill the hall). Most stage Christines have expressive, pure voices while still retaining the strength to make them convincing as opera divas; Rossum just doesn't measure up by comparison.
    • I thought that was actually the point. Carlotta IS a better singer, but Christine has a better stage presence, a less harsh voice, and more emotion behind her voice.

It Just Bugs Me, but (at least in the movie) the meaning behind "keep your hand at the level of your eye" was never made clear. Any explanations?

  • It has to do with strangulation being the Phantom's preferred method of killing. If you hold your hand up at around face level, you theoretically have a chance to catch the noose before it can tighten around your neck. (The stage version of the musical makes this a little clearer, but not much--it's more succinctly explained in the novel.)
  • Also, if your hand is at the level of your eyes and someone chucks a lasso or a garotte over your head, they probably can't pull it tight enough quickly enough to kill you - your arm is in the way and the noose won't go tight. It might hurt like hell but you'd have time to at least try and fight back.
    • Thanks, that doesn't bug me anymore.
  • We should also mention that this is actually MUCH clearer in the book, which is what they are referencing here but aren't clarifying very well.
  • It is worth mentioning that there is a gesture associated with soldiers that could be described similarly - the salute. The gesture was originally intended to both show that you did not have a weapon in your hand, and to lift the visor on your armor, leaving you both vulnerable and recognizable. The point of it was to show that you did not mean any harm (or that you were a foolish judge of character and should be stabbed in the face). Of course, almost certainly not what they were going for here, but now you know.

Why, why, WHY? Why does the movie give an absolute answer to who/what the Phantom is... a backstory?

Why? The play seems to be left open-ended for the viewer to decide of their own accord whether he's real, or supernatural, or a hoax, or any of that. Hell, this troper had reason to believe Christine was the Phantom.

  • The musical gave him the same backstory, it's just omitted from the soundtrack album.
    • Not quite the same. In the stage version Mme. Giry's narrative indicates the Phantom was older than depicted in the movie flashback (she specifically describes him as "a man locked in a cage," not a boy) and that she played no role in his escape, and also alludes to him spending time in Persia in a nice nod to the novel. This tends to make the Phantom come off as more mature and experienced than he does in the movie.
  • The movie didn't give him that backstory. It was in the original novel, as well as several of the many other film adaptations. And while the musical never clearly spells it out for us, it does imply a similar backstory to the one given in the film.

This troper wonders if it's just her, but is she the only one to notice that the Phantom stalks, abducts, frightens, and deceives Christine, not to mention blackmailing her into marrying him on pain of killing Raoul? If that's the case, why do so many people go on about how she should have married the Phantom?

Sounds like it would end very badly to me. This troper feels sorry for the Phantom and his terrible history, but really.

  • Chalk it up to Draco in Leather Pants + Misaimed Fandom. The Phantom hits so many of this troper's Fetish Fuel buttons it isn't even funny, but really, there was no way his relationship with Christine was ever going to end well (in fact, the I Want My Beloved to Be Happy resolution is probably the best either of them could have hoped for). What bugs me is the portion of Fan Dumb who insist that Christine is a cruel, terrible person for leaving the Phantom, despite the fact that he a) gave her many, many reasons to be terrified for herself and everyone she knew and b) was the one who willingly let her leave at the end in the first place.
  • Exactly. This Troper's friend is one of the people who thought Christine should have stayed with the Phantom and considered her a "tease" for not remaining with him. She screamed at Raoul for telling Christine in the graveyard that "that thing is not your father!" because he called the Phantom a "thing". She then ignored the fact that the Phantom was preying on her innocence by lusting after her while masquerading as the one family member she loved and missed and needed for comfort from the stress and terror he was causing her. Meanwhile, Raoul comforts Christine when she's afraid and chases the Phantom down a trap door to keep her safe. Yeah...
  • This is why the book is superior to all adaptations -- it addresses this very issue. Raoul doesn't find it the least bit hard to believe that Christine can love a man she's terrified of (although he doesn't approve, he also doesn't think he stands a chance against that kind of attraction). As Christine continues to visit Erik after he releases her from her first imprisonment, she explains that she grew more and more terrified of him over time because he's been growing more and more unhinged and unpredictable, and she wants Raoul to take her away from him no matter how much she protests. Christine pities Erik and is irresistably attracted to his Compelling Voice but knows she would never be safe with him, and she grows up and chooses the love born of friendship for her Victorious Childhood Friend over the love born of horror and manipulation for some Mailer Daemon. Phangirls are obviously not as mature as Christine.
  • This troper is known for associating with the character of the Phantom, and had his friends speechless when he mentioned that he always thought that Christine should end up with Raoul. My explanation is this: Erik needed Christine to prove to himself that someone could love him. When she kisses him, he proves that she can see him as something other than a monster, at which point he can let her leave.
  • For the exact same reasons that people think Edward is best for Bella. There's a WMG on the Twilight page about this, thought its mostly character comparison, Raoul being the rough equivalent of post-New Moon Jacob and Edward being almsot exactly like the Phantom. It's just a matter of how you perceive the character's actions. Raoul is either "protecting Christine from a dangerous, psychopathic monster" or a "jealous, clingy, selfish jerk". Erik is either "crazy, obsessive, and selfish" or "lonely, desperate, and just wants someone to love him". Its how the actions are seen. Plus, Christine only seems scared of the Phantom when she's with Raoul. If she's alone or with someone else, she's more or less perfectly fine with the Phantom. On stage, she's fine. The problem with Phantom can be perceived as being Raoul's fault, given that it's his idea to screw with the Phantom's order and he's the one who defies him first and the most.
    • In the book, she doesn't start fearing the Phantom until after Raoul shows up because the Voice (as she knows him then) doesn't start acting like a Crazy Jealous Guy until after Raoul shows up. Christine wasn't romantically attracted to the Voice (or her Angel of Music), and she didn't see any reason why she should hide her joy at seeing her adolescent crush in her audience from him. Erik manipulated and psychologically abused her like an Internet stalker does, and her attraction to him, however genuine, strongly resembles what we now know as Stockholm Syndrome; Christine herself proposes Raoul take her away from him No Matter How Much I Beg. The Gothic fandom in general seems to be dominated by people who agree with Freud's conclusion that all women are masochists who are attracted to their abusers -- and, unlike the authors apparently, that this is a good thing -- even in novels where this is clearly not the case even moreso than in Leroux's.
  • This Erik/Christine shipper would like to cheerfully voice her opinion that while the relationship is unhealthy as all out and certainly not something SHE'D want to deal's morbidly fascinating to the extreme. Psychological fun is a good argument in favor of Erik/Christine, as is enjoying the more horrific story elements, and being generally depraved. Some fans like the ship but don't want it to end in marriage, or like the ship but not the idea of a happy ending, or like the marriage oozing with horror and death, etc.

Aside from the above, there's also how Raoul - whose biggest crimes were 1. not believing the Phantom existed and 2. being a bit boring - gets treated like he'd be the worse choice out of the two of them. Die for Our Ship indeed...

  • The only problem that I had with Raoul, aside from the boring bit, was the fact that he only noticed his supposed childhood friend for who she was, after she became a huge hit due to the Phantom's tutoring and manipulation. He completely bypassed her, even upon noticing her, during the start of the novel/film (I've not seen the stage production yet) Thus, it felt overall cheap that she'd stick with a guy who only noticed her once she got her rise to fame, compared to a man who was desperately in love with her. Granted, the Phantom isn't the best person to have falling in love with you, but the man is partially justified.
    • Arguably the first time Raoul would have had a chance to see Christine would have been when he was first touring the opera house, when she was in the midst of a group of chorus girls and staying out of sight. The reason he noticed Christine on the stage was because that would have been the first time he saw her and would have been able to tell without a doubt it was her. Plus, she hadn't exactly risen to fame by then, since it was her first big performance.
    • Besides, did Raoul ever even know that Christine was at the Opera House before the big performance? (Warning: This Troper's knowledge extends only to the soundtrack and the movie- if it is explained in the stageplay, she apologizes.) If he didn't know that she was there until she got on stage, and then he was like "Whoa- it's this chick that I knew when I was a kid, and she's now really super-special-awesome! I wonder if she remembers me?" Which isn't so bad.
    • In the stage version, the first time we see Raoul (apart from the prologue) is during "Think of Me," so it's reasonable to assume he never had an opportunity to see Christine before that. As for the book, Raoul does notice Christine before the gala and is still clearly attracted to her, but a combination of her apparent indifference (enforced by her "Angel of Music") and his shyness prevent him from connecting with her.
      • Ah. Thank you. 8)
    • Ah, another problematic element not even present in the book, where not only did Raoul fall in love with Christine before the night where she sings like a goddess for the first time, but Christine saw him in the audience at the Opera long before that evening, too, and fell in love with him... which made her mysterious tutor turn vicious and threatening.
    • Also, Raoul is quite pushy and doesn't really seem to consider Christine's feelings a lot of the time. In their first meeting, he completely ignores the fact (which Christine makes repeatedly clear) that she doesn't want to go out to dinner with him. And then later on she is forced to perform in Don Juan, even though she's in tears and begging him not to make her do it. This is something that the ani-Phantom fans tend to ignore.
      • It may be a reaction to the fact that (in The Musical especially) Christine and Raoul never have a proper conversation which isn't either 'I love you' or 'this Phantom dude is scary, isn't he?'. They don't really seem to have much in common and you have to wonder what their marriage would be like. Whereas The Phantom, for all his many, many flaws has known Christine for ages and they both have a passion for music.
        • In the book, Raoul and Christine actually have a lot in common. Leroux even mentions them having the same kind of soul or something like that. They've also known each other for much longer.
        • Plus, I think I read in an interview by Joel Schumaker that Raoul represented a sort of sweet innocent love in his opinion, and the Phantom led to a more passionate type of desire as Christine was growing into a woman. Also, add twenty years worth of phans who ship Christine/Erik (Phantom). The movie was biased to begin with.
      • In response to the idea of Raoul being "pushy:" In the book, the scene where he asks her to dinner doesn't happen and she is the one who begs him to let her perform one last time. As for the musical, well, I'm not sure about the dinner scene, but he does say, regarding her performing in Don Juan, "You don't have to... They can't make you." Their conversation on the subject is more along the lines of him reassuring her that she's made the right decision after she's decided. She's already admitted that she knows she can't refuse. She needs the comfort and support, not him reminding her she can back out when she knows she can't.
      • The asking for dinner scene seems to be one of the depending on the actors things. In the version I saw, Christine's protests basically amounted to "You don't understand, my teacher's very strict!" and Raoul came off as thinking she's just nervous about skipping one night.
  • Raoul is, in the book, kinda immature. Overall, he's a nice guy, but he acts jealously, he's impulsive, and his attempts to be protective tend to come out on the controlling side. He's also incredibly ineffectual, going into hysterics at any point where he might have actually been useful to anyone. If you ignore the fact that Erik is a complete asshole and murderer (child's play for fandoms in general), then it's easy to see why the tragic, tortured genius is more appealing to some people. The movie both makes the Phantom less of a monster (physically and morally) and Raoul a bit more heroic.

== The Phantom of Manhattan == I mean, Erik surviving, moving to America, playing the stock market, owning a kiddie park, and being the father of Christine's kid? And let's not forget the ending in which Christine's death inexplicably creates a happy ending for all involved, except Raoul, who goes on to die of old age, alone and obsessed with his dead love. There's so much Fridge Logic and Wallbanging here it isn't even funny.

Does no one else see the significant incest going on in there?

From the time she was seven or so, Christine is working under the impression that the mysterious voice she hears is her father. Never mind that her dad said he would send an angel, not be the angel himself, but that's what she thought. Despite all evidence to the contrary, she continues to believe the Phantom is her father - and let me point out that the first time she ever met him in person, he sang "Music of the Night." You know, the song usually danced in a provocative way with the immortal lyrics "Touch me/Trust me/Savor each sensation"? Does no one see the Elektra Complex? Oh, and the Phantom, what, in his sixties? Let's add pedophilia to the list.

  • This troper's interpretation is that the Phantom tried to come off as "the Angel of Music" at first, but he realised Christine lost faith in the "Angel" from all the terrible things he had done, he pulled out the guns and appeared at the graveyard convincing her he was her father in a last attempt to win back her affection, and maybe might have succeeded if it weren't for Raoul?
  • Blame Joel Schumacher and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber for the pedophilia part -- in the original novel the Phantom only teaches Christine over the course of three months, not several years. Given Raoul's age and the fact that she has recently completed her studies at the Conservatoire, Christine should canonically be about nineteen or twenty.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am almost positive the book has Christine being 14 and the Phantom being 40 something. Also, yes I've always thought there was some Elektra Complex stuff going on. The Phantom played that up by being at her father's grave...
      • Neither character's age is given in the novel, but going by the historical events in Erik's backstory he's probably somewhere in the 50's-60s range. Christine, being a childhood playmate of Raoul, would logically be close to his own age, which is twenty.
      • No, the book never states Christine's age, but as the troper two posts above me said, Christine completed her studies at the conservatory, which should put her at around twenty. Scholar Leonard Wolf supports that approximation of Christine's age, as well as the 50-60 age range of Erik. Leroux was a journalist, and he liked to start from fact, and then embellish it. The shaw in Erik's backstory corresponds to a ruler who would have been in power long before the events of the book. it ever explained, in any adaption, how Erik is supposed to be able perform near-magical feats like summoning a noose or making Carlotta mute?

  • The original novel does the best job of explaining his tricks; the movies do so to varying degree and the stage version of the musical prefers to maintain an air of mystery. The short answer is that it's a combination of ventriloquism, slight-of-hand/stage illusion, access to the background workings of the Opera (originally Erik had helped construct the building, meaning he could put in his own secret passages, trap doors etc. off hours), and sheer Magnificent Bastardry.

A number of things from the latest film version bug me:

  • Why does Erik have a secret passage behind the mirror in Carlotta's dressing room?
    • It's supposed to be the leading soprano's dressing room. Carlotta just happens to always be the leading soprano, so made the dressing room her's.
  • According to this film's version of Erik's backstory, he's been living in the opera house since he was, oh, let's say about eleven or twelve, and has known nothing else of life, and before that he presumably spent most of his childhood locked in a cage. This begs the question of how exactly he learns how to competently sword fight, drive a carriage, become an architect and composer and all the other impressive stuff he does. And even if he learned from watching people sword fight on stage and handle horses in the stables, it still doesn't explain how he was able to drive Christine to the specific cemetery where her father's grave is without getting lost.
    • The Madame says it outright: He's a genius. He can probably work out the mechanics of it on his own from the visuals he gets. He's had at the very least twenty years to do this, given how old Meg and the Madame appear to be. Also, whose to say he doesn't sneak out at night? He loves Christine, no doubt he'd figure out where her father's grave was.
  • I'm really glad they included a reference to the actual book and all, but...why is the room of mirrors situated right under the main staircase in the foyer?
    • Convenience, I'd assume. it'd be much easier to get someone in there with reason than, say, backstage. If they aren't supposed to be there, it'd be hard to get them back there to kill them. It's just convenient there.
  • Why didn't the people building the sets of Don Juan notice that they were building a trap door right over where a great big hole in the stage was going to be, and get just a little suspicious?
    • The owners of the theater are trying to trap the Phantom into thinking he's winning this particular meeting... so, they probably got the warning and ignored it intentionally.
    • It's actually fairly common for stages to have trapdoors. Even Shakespearian theaters had trapdoors. It's likely that the trap door was already there and the Phantom just utilized it.
  • This is the biggie, containing four complaints and verging into wall banger territory. The setting is thus: when Raoul falls into the water trap, he activates a grille that starts moving downwards, obviously intended to trap him underwater and drown.
    • 1, Raoul fell vertically from the top of the chamber into the water, and the grille also moves down vertically, so to actully get to the water Raoul would have had to fall through the grille.
    • 2, The grille moves downwards relatively slowly, giving Raoul plenty of time to not only dive under the water and fiddle for about ten seconds with a rusty wheel, but also swim back up to the surface to check how far away the grille is. Instead of, you know, swimming over to the exit from the word go. Admittedly Raoul HAD just fallen several feet into what was probably ice cold water and was pretty flustered, so we can let this one slide a little.
    • 3, There's enough of a gap between the grille and the ladder that Raoul could have squeezed his way up and out.
    • 4, Okay. Let's be perfectly serious here. Leaving aside how Raoul could possibly know if turning that wheel would do him any good, what kind of deadly and ingenious trap has an OFF SWITCH not only situated inside the aforementioned trap, but within easy reach? ----
    • Okay, in order:
      • He has passages everywhere. It helps him keep up the "I'm a ghost" illusion of his.
      • The phantom would have a lot of down time in those years, so he could've learned it from books, and studied the layout of the cemetery. Perhaps there's only one cemetery in town?
      • See point one. It's the most obvious trapdoor, so it'd be good to have something to throw off those who follow.
      • Perhaps the phantom added that element of the set himself, when everyone else where off the job for a moment.
      • 1: The grille started off higher than Raoul. 2: Well, if you set a death trap on the way to your lair, wouldn't you want a fail safe for yourself? 3: I don't think so... 4: See point two: it's a failsafe for the phantom. The grille dropping onto Raoul would've had to drop from the ceiling of the passageway. No big deal there...
        • About part 1... That still doesn't seem to satisfy the question of how Raoul somehow manages to fall "through" the grille. He clearly falls straight down into the water... So either the grille has a person-sized hole in it to let the victim fall through (which also provides an easy escape for said victim) or it's Hollywood Science.
      • Making Carlotta mute: he fiddled with her throat-spray a bit so that it would put the mockers on her vocal chords.

How badly disfigured is the Phantom supposed to be?

In the latest version of the play, he looks not bad at all aside from a slight miscoloration and scars on the left side of his face that could easily be chalked up to a freak accident involving sharp implements of death. Instead the movie acts like it's Body Horror, having him be in a freak show in his youth and everyone's all "TO ARMS, GENTS! TO ARMS!!" at the climax. WTF?

  • You see, that's why the movie (and LND, for another) suck so hard. This troper prefers the mental image of Leroux's Godawful skull-faced guy, but the more common stage makeup is pretty gruesome.
  • In the movie version of the musical, Miranda Richardson gives Madame Giri a French accent, while everyone else uses an English or American. Her choice is baffling to me because it takes place in France, and most of the characters are Parisian natives which makes her accent unneccesary.
  • The book describes Erik as pale and corpse-like with no nose or lips ("what passes for my mouth," he says), so I can only imagine he looks like Voldemort. In any case, he was born disfigured, not scarred in some accident or attack involving acid (what genius mistook the Joker's Backstory for Erik's?), and should look genuinely deformed, hideous, and horrifying, not tragically-romantically-scarred a la Prince Zuko.
  • He's frequently described as skeletal in the early chapters, so the opera workers joke that he should have a "death's head" (i.e. a skull) to go with it. Later on, Christine unmasks Erik, and low and behold, that's exactly what his whole head looks like. When she touches his hand, she says that it felt chilly and dead, and later on, Erik proclaims that he is "made of death from head to toe." He also sleeps in a coffin, and at the party dresses as Poe's Red Death. The image Leroux is trying to evoke is that of a walking corpse, like a zombie. It's isn't just Erik's face that's supposed to be disfigured; Leroux dealt with ugly characters in other books. Erik is supposed to really appear to be a monster.
  • It's worth noting that the stage makeup was initially the result of Pragmatic Adaptation; it was the best way they could find to convey the Phantom's hideousness (even to the people in the balcony cheap seats) without compromising the performer's articulation or vocal timbre (Michael Crawford once said in an interview that something closer to the Chaney makeup had been tested, but it resulted in him sounding like Marlon Brando in The Godfather). As noted above, the result (kind of a cross between Two-Face and post-Mustafar Anakin Skywalker) is still appropriately gruesome--it wasn't until the film started pushing the Hotter and Sexier envelope that Adaptational Attractiveness really set in.

Plot Holes in the novel

  1. After Raoul's and Philippe's argument in Chapter 14 on the morning Christine and Raoul plan to elope, the narrator says that Philippe was the one who shared the details of this argument with the examining magistrate. When would Philippe have had the time to do that? He was killed that same evening, long before any authorities above Mifroid were brought into the case; after Christine's abduction, he went immediately searching for his brother, not to give any testimony to any magistrate, before ending up dead on the shore of the lake. Is this a mistranslation? It would seem to make more sense if a servant overheard the argument and gave the details later, just like one of them apparently leaked the story of Raoul's elopement to the paper that morning.
  2. The timeline of the Persian's account makes no sense: He goes to the lake to confront Erik about the Falling Chandelier of Doom and vows never to go near the lake again due to the danger of Erik's "siren trick." Some time after this, he sees Erik with the unconscious Christine and the stolen César in the Communards Passage, gets knocked unconscious, and wakes up deciding to risk the dangers of the lake to find out what happened to Christine... but this incident happened the same night that Erik dropped the chandelier, according to Christine's earlier account to Raoul. Christine went to her dressing room and was taken through the mirror to begin her two-week long disappearance almost immediately after the chandelier fell, giving the Persian no time to confront Erik about the chandelier and spot Erik with his new captive later that same evening. Furthermore, the Persian waits for 24 hours before Erik comes out and tells him that he will see Christine go to the masquerade ball tomorrow night and then return of her own free will... but that ball took place two weeks after he kidnapped her, not two days!
    • Well, the Persian is an old man on his deathbed when Leroux gets his side of the story; it's entirely possible that the chronology of events was a bit muddled in his head. Whether or not this makes the Persian an Unreliable Narrator is another debate entirely.

In The Musical, this Troper never understood why Christine thought it would a be good idea to unmask The Phantom on stage in front of hundreds of spectators after singing a passionate/sexy love song with him.

Some actresses play that Christine is genuinely in love with The Phantom. In this case, why would she do this when she knew the humiliation it would cause him? For the ones who don't, wouldn't it make more sense to alert the soldiers/Raoul to the presence of The Phantom by just yelling out rather than doing something which she knows will cause his Unstoppable Rage?

  • As with a lot of the motivations in the musical, this one depends on the actors, but explanations I've seen or heard theorized include:
    1. The Phantom was using his Compelling Voice to persuade Christine to marry him, and she unmasks him as a way of breaking the spell.
    2. Same as above, but Christine only thinks the Phantom is manipulating her when it's really More Than Mind Control.
    3. The two characters lean in to kiss but one or both chickens out and pulls away, resulting in an accidental unmasking.

Did Christine ever consider just asking Erik why he wore the mask?

  • In fact she does bring it up in the novel (actually, she pretty much tells him to take the thing off if he has any pretensions of behaving honorably towards her), but he refuses to discuss it. So although the unmasking is still an impulsive gesture (as it is in many adaptations), it's made pretty clear that Erik has no intentions of being forthcoming on the subject.
  • If he would answer that question with no resistance, it wouldn't be such an important secret that he has to wear the mask in the first place. When someone doesn't want you to see their face, that implies you're not to know why, and someone as Genre Savvy in magical folklore as Christine would probably assume this.

Does Christine actually think that her 'Angel of Music' is her father?

The musical seems pretty unclear on this point. Christine says her father said she'd be protected by an Angel of Music rather than actually being the Angel himself, but then Meg asks do you believe the spirit of your father is coaching you?. Later in the graveyard, Christine says (sings) Angel OR father, friend OR Phantom" so she seems to know the difference, but then The Phantom says "too long you've wandered in winter, far from my fathering gaze" so presumably he thinks she thinks he's her dad. Then Raoul comes in and says, "This man, this THING is not your father." Has ALW said whether Christine actually thinks he's the spirit of her father at first, or is it meant to be up to the audience to decide?

  • In the ALW musical, the "Angel or father friend or phantom" line implies that Christine honestly doesn't seem to know what to think once he appears in the graveyard, but she tells either Meg or Raoul earlier (I can't remember which) that "I have been visited by the Angel of Music," not by her father's spirit. Some movies unquestionably make her think the Phantom is her father. In the original novel, it is perfectly clear that Christine never thinks the Voice is her father but assumes that "the Voice" is the Angel of Music sent by her father (although his mentor relationship with her definitely has some fatherly vibes to it). She doesn't even equate the Voice with the rumored Phantom until after her first kidnapping, where she's at first distraught to find that both the Angel of Music and the Phantom are just a crazy guy in a mask. Christine also only describes her invisible mentor to Raoul and Mama Valerius as "the Angel of Music" -- not her father.
  • Also, it was only in the movie the line was "my fathering gaze." In the music, the line was "my far reaching gaze."
  • There's something of a clarification to be made here, which is made clearer in the book. The phantom tells Christine to go to the graveyard where he will prove that he is the angel her father has sent to her by effectively summoning the spirit of her father, signified by playing the Ressurection of Lazarus on the violin buried in the coffin with him. Therefore Raoul's comment is that the spirit playing the violin is not her father, but is instead the phantom attempting to play a trick on her. (Incidentally, the book places this at the beginning, before the Chandelier incident.) Christine's reply

Why did the Phantom need 20.000 francs per month? He has no interaction with people, at least it seems so. Even when he uses the money to buy food in a cloak or something, wouldn´t it be easier when he would get the food from the opera directly?

  • Personally, I saw this as him making a demand as a sort of insurance, asserting to the owners of the theater that he is who is in charge and that all of his demands, frivolous or not, must be met. He's screwing with them psychologically and physically, so why not financially as well? He's merely playing up his perceived Magnificent Bastardry only moreso by doing this.
  • Or, the short answer, because he can.
  • Long Term Motive: In the book, he doesn't actually like living underground and wants to live in a normal house and walk down the street like a normal person; in other words, he wants a normal lifestyle that would, logically, require money. Money would be the key to making his life as normal as possible given his appearance. As David Xanatos said, "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell."

Short Term Motive: He builds Christine a Gilded Cage and runs into the Persian while going shopping for her. Elaborate Underground Base-dweller or not, he apparently has an expensive lifestyle.

When the Phantom is making Christine choose between marrying him or killing Raoul, why doesn't she realise that she can marry the Phantom, kill him/leave him and go off and elope with Raoul? Of course, I give her the benefit of the doubt of her panicking and not thinking about that, but if thinking about it, even in a panic, it wouldn't take long for one to consider that option.

  • 2 reasons, one, what if she actually loves the phantom, and 2, what if he would kill Raoul anyways?
    • It doesn't even have to be love! Killing someone is hard enough period, and no matter what version Christine always feels at least compassion for him.
  • The Phantom is obviously insane. I don't know if it's a very good idea to marry a man who is totally crazy, physically stronger than you, a Manipulative Bastard, in possession of secret passageways everywhere, and perfectly willing to strangle people with a lasso for no reason at all, and then try to leave him.
  • Also, in the book Christine is in her current predicament because Erik found out she was planning on running away with Raoul. She probably figured it wasn't worth the risk of pissing him off a second time (especially since, as previously noted, her chances of successfully out-maneuvering Erik weren't all that good to begin with).
  • Not to mention that the suggested idea isn't that obvious when you're panicking, especially not for a young woman in the late 19th century who's been mostly trained in dancing and singing, not "How to outmanoeuvre and kill a chessmaster without getting caught".

Why not just tie him up?

(Movie complaint--can't speak to the book or the stage version) In the graveyard, Raoul and Erik swordfight, and Raoul beats him. Instead of leaving him there so he could come back and take his revenge, why didn't they tie him up or otherwise restrain him, toss him in that wagon Christine came in, and take him to the authorities?

  • Raoul flew into the graveyard dressed like this... What would he use to tie the Phantom up?
    • His belt? The reins of his horse? Send Christine to find something (there's probably a church or groundskeeper's shed nearby) or someone to help?

"The world showed no compassion to me!" ... Or did it?

This is a minor complaint about the movie that I just realized. The Phantom claims that he received no compassion in his life because of his horrible disfiguration. However, the movie seems to display otherwise: the young Madame Giry certainly showed sympathy and compassion to the captive Erik, even to the point that she helped him escape the traveling fair. Am I just being extremely nit-picky about the lyrics, or could Madame Giry have taught him enough compassion to have avoided this whole threatening exchange?

    • Madame Giry probably did show him compassion, but after at least ten years of being shown nothing but hatred and disgust including from his own mother), as well as not being able to go out in public for fear of the exact same thing happening again, one person showing compassion really isn't enough. Erik is speaking about the world as a whole, as opposed to one specific individual.
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