- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Magicimage Filmbooks (October 13, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1882127331
- ISBN-13: 978-1882127337
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1,353 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,028,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Phantom of the Opera (Hollywood Archives Series) (v. 1) Paperback – October 13, 1996
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From the Back Cover
What actual events inspired the story? What inspired Chaney's makeup? What was in the hour of footage cut from the film's release that was considered too horrible for audiences in 1925? The answers can be found inside!
"Each page is filled with documented information that will change a few history books. You almost get the feeling that you are part of the 'Golden' years of Hollywood." - Ray Bradbury Endorsed by Chaney Enterprises
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sixty-nine years ago, Lon Chaney walked out of his dressing room near the newly constructed Stage #28, on the Universal lot. But when he arrived on the screen, he had vanished to be replaced by Erik, the Opera Ghost. Most films in the silent days were made in about six to eight weeks. I imagine that I heard my parents talking about the film. I recognized the name Lon Chaney for he had changed my life forever when I saw him in The Hunchback of Notre Dame that same year.
To a child of three or four, time has a completely different meaning. There are three times; Breakfast time, Lunchtime and Dinner time. So I did not notice that it was a full year before the finished picture came to town around Christmas of 1925. The Opera Ghost had crept into town, shocked the ornaments off all our Christmas trees, and then disappeared. No one ever saw him again for years and years. While he was away, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, King Kong and an assortment of screen monsters were caught in the silvery spider web of projected light, reflected from a screen and imbedded in the dusty trunk marked "Imagination" somewhere in our brains.
Then suddenly the Phantom returned! Revival houses flashed the title in flickering bulbs. Electronic pulses were shot onto a tube at 30 times a second and little tiny digital numbers on rainbow reflective disks brought him back to haunt us. But wait! The same organ? The same cape? Same lovely Mary Philbin? But! The rat infested catacombs had no rats? The mirrored torture chamber had no lions? The beautiful ballet girls and the Soldiers entrance and the Faust Opera - the evil Satan, Faust and Marguerite were in two -tone Technicolor. Now they are black and white?
But wait here's something familiar. Norman Kerry and Mary Philbin are going to the rooftop of the Opera House to hide during the masked ball. This is a great scene. Now watch. . .hold on a minute. Something horrible must have happened to the two lovers as they ran up the steps. Norman had gained a few pounds and grew some grey hair. Mary must have stopped at the beauty parlor - her hair is shorter and styled differently. Does anyone know what is going on here?
After you finish this book, you will know exactly what had happened.
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In both the musical and the novel, I think most people's sympathies will be with the Phantom, rather than with Christine and Raoul. The Phantom is a fascinating, three-dimensional character who is one of the greatest antiheroes ever created. Christine and Raoul are not the most interesting of the novel's characters, but by the end of the novel, Christine matures, and comes to a realization of how terrible the Phantom's life has been. Towards the end of the novel and musical, she shows him an emotional, overwhelming act of compassion that climaxes the story. Raoul never gained my sympathy in either the novel or the musical, but he is much worse in the novel. He is a flat character who is shallow, foppish, and childish, completely lacking in compassion or understanding for the Phantom. He, unlike Christine, is a static character who never seems to mature and change for the good.
The Literary Classics Collection edition for the Kindle is excellently formatted, with a linked table of contents, along with biographical information about Gaston Leroux. The footnotes are also linked, and are sometimes very helpful in reading the story. This edition also includes many extra materials, such as a section about plays and movies inspired by the novel and questions about the material.
While the musical will always be my favorite of the two, the novel is excellent and a classic of dark Gothic horror and romance. This is a story I'm sure I will read many times.