Film Review: Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera by Joel Schumacher

by DerdriuMarriner

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera by Joel Schumacher perfects the match of actors with characters and dialogues, crew with costumes and props, and lyrics with music.

Phantom furnishes period architecture, dress, lifestyles, props, venues

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera assumes Cinderella-like dimensions. Its storyline brings to viewers a beautiful and talented music-lover’s happy successes to the detriment of a talented and tormented beast. It comes from France’s nineteenth-century folklore and twentieth-century literature, as:
• anecdotes concerning a ballet student’s skeleton in Paris Opéra’s 1841 production of Carl Maria von Weber’s (November 18/19, 1786 – June 5, 1826) Der Freischütz (The Marksman), the Bazar de la Charité’s fire on May 4, 1897, and Garnier’s underground labyrinths; and
• a Gothic novel published by Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (May 6, 1868 – April 15, 1927) in Le Gaulois of September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910 and Pierre Lafitte et Cie in April 1910.




On May 20, 1896, one of the counterweights of the over 6-ton bronze and crystal grand chandelier in Opéra Garnier’s auditorium broke loose and, falling through the ceiling, killed an attendee and later inspired a scene in Gaston Leroux’s 1910 gothic novel

Opéra Garnier: auditorium with grand chandelier
Opéra Garnier: auditorium with grand chandelier

Phantom gives viewers modern dialogues and emotional arcs


The musical, romantic drama describes the happy and tragic consequences in the converging personal and professional lives of:

  • Gilles André (Simon Callow);
  • Christine (Emmy Rossum);
  • Erick (Gerard Butler);
  • Richard Firmin (Ciarán Hinds);
  • Madame Giry (Miranda Richardson);
  • Meg Giry (Jennifer Ellison);
  • Carlotta Giudicelli (Minnie Driver); and
  • Raoul, vicomte de Chagny (Patrick Wilson).

Christine, Swedish violinist Pierre Daaé’s only child, emerges as Opéra Populaire’s diva through:

  • Gilles and Richard buying Lefevre’s theater in 1870; and
  • Giry encouraging sixteen-year-old Christine’s replacing Carlotta after backdrops fall during rehearsals of Chalumeau’s Hannibal and Joseph Buquet (Kevin McNally) is hanged during performances of Albrizzio’s Il Muto (The Mute).

She finds love with:

  • Erick, masked Angel of Music; and
  • Raoul, the scrap-metal industrialist-owners’ patron. 


compelling symbol of The Phantom of the Opera: white mask

the phantom's mask
the phantom's mask

Phantom has PG-13-rated half-mooning, scary visage, three strangulations


Christine gets second thoughts over Erick as Pierre’s heaven-sent music teacher after:

  • encountering his representation of her as his bride;
  • finding his right face disfigured;
  • having Raoul’s engagement ring ripped from her neck by Erick masquerading as Red Death;
  • interceding in Erick’s and Raoul’s duel near Pierre’s tomb;
  • knowing of Erick’s killing Ubaldo Piangi (Victor McGuire) to sing in Don Juan Triumphant; and
  • lashing Raoul to a gate as a scaffold.

Raoul has doubts of surviving drowning and hanging until Christine kisses Erick twice. Erick is experienced in:

  • abandonment from horrifying his mother;
  • crime from killing his ringmaster; and
  • friendship from Madame’s arranging box #5 reservations and 20,000-euro monthly salaries for ideating Populaire’s music and instructing Christine. 


Phantom of the Opera Trailer

Uploaded to YouTube on February 22, 2007 by vorathiel ~ URL:

Phantom is about compassion, friendship, love, loyalty, thankfulness


Erick judges marrying Raoul Christine’s due. He keeps Christine’s ring until her death. He leaves a black ribbon-tied, ring-held rose at Christine’s (1854 – 1917) gravestone, where Raoul deposits 30-franc Populaire auction purchase #665 -- Erick’s cymbal-playing, Persian-clothed monkey music box -- in 1919.

So Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera offers viewers 143 culturally enriching, educationally entertaining minutes, thanks to:

  • Alexandra Byrne, costume designer;
  • Peter Darling, choreographer;
  • Charles Hart, lyricist;
  • Simon Lee, conductor, music supervisor;
  • Gaston Leroux, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra novelist;
  • John Mathieson, cinematographer;
  • Nathan McGuinness, visual effects supervisor;
  • Anthony Pratt, production designer;
  • Terry Rawlings, editor;
  • Eli Richbourg, co-producer;
  • Joel Schumacher, co-screenwriter, director;
  • Richard Stilgoe, co-lyricist; and
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, music composer, producer, screenwriter.


The Phantom of the Opera ~ Amazon Instant Video: Rent or Buy with 1-Click®

Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals

The Phantom of the Opera (widescreen edition) ~ available via Amazon

Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


"They sat like that for a moment of silence":

one of color illustrations painted by Jean Alexandre Michel André Castaigne (January 7, 1861 – 1929) for first edition of Gaston Leroux's gothic novel, Le Fantôme de l'Opéra
rooftop tell-all conversation between Christine and Vicomte de Chagny, witnessed by Erick
rooftop tell-all conversation between Christine and Vicomte de Chagny, witnessed by Erick

Sources Consulted


Leroux, Gaston. 2012. The Phantom of the Opera. Smk Books. 


Director Joel Schumacher (born August 29, 1939) credits hallway scene of human arms with candalabra as inspired by La Belle et la Bête, 1946 film by Jean Cocteau (July 5, 1889 – October 11, 1963).

still of Belle in corridor lit by human arms with candalabra
still of Belle in corridor lit by human arms with candalabra
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Phantom of the Opera: Giclée print ~ available via AllPosters

illustration of grand chandelier scene, a turning point for Christine's career, by John "Jack" Ernest Keay (May 10, 1907 - 1999)
The Phantom of the Opera
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My purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine, at her favorite Eastern White Pine:

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 01/03/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/01/2015

happynutritionist, Such a happy serendipity for this wonderful musical to be viewed close in time by two Wizzleyites: you and me! The music and the story are compelling and poignant and explain this musical's appeal.

happynutritionist on 03/31/2015

I was just starting to watch this...again...the other night. Love the music!

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