The Phantom of the Opera (1998 film)

The Phantom of the Opera (1998 film)

The Phantom of the Opera
File:The Phantom of the Opera (1998 film) poster.jpg
Italian theatrical poster
Directed by Dario Argento
Produced by Claudio Argento
Giuseppe Colombo
Aron Sipos
Written by Giorgina Caspari (English adaptation)
Screenplay by Dario Argento
Gérard Brach
Based on Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux
Starring Julian Sands
Asia Argento
Andrea Di Stefano
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Ronnie Taylor
Editing by Anna Napoli
Studio Cine 2000
Focus Films
Medusa Produzione
Distributed by A-Pix Entertainment
Medusa Distribuzione
Release date(s) 20 November 1998
Running time 99 min.
106 min. (director's cut)
Country Italy
Language Italian
Budget $10,000,000 (estimated)

The Phantom of the Opera (Italian: Il fantasma dell'opera) is a 1998 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, adapted from the novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. However, there are many differences between the book and the film (the biggest being that the Phantom is not disfigured).


In Paris 1877, rats save an abandoned baby named Erik in a basket and raise him in the underground of the Opéra de Paris. This child becomes Erik, The Phantom of the Opera, a misanthrope who kills anyone who ventures into his underground chambers, just as rats are killed whenever they venture above ground. Erik, The Phantom (Julian Sands), who is not disfigured and hence does not wear a mask, falls in love with Christine Daaé (Asia Argento), an opera singer just beginning her career. He speaks to her using telepathy, and the two begin a romantic relationship. Unlike in other versions, however, he does not teach her to sing.

Meanwhile, the aristocratic Baron Raoul De Chagny (Andrea Di Stefano) has fallen in love with Christine, though at first Christine offers him only a platonic relationship. Later, she ruminates that she may be in love with both men. After sex, Erik, the Phantom forces Christine to stay in his subterranean chambers as he goes to secure the role of Juliet for her by bringing down the chandelier. Christine grows angry with him and his controlling ways. She tells him she hates him, and when he returns, she refuses the role he has secured for her. He becomes angry and forcibly has intercourse with her. Afterward, while he is playing with his rats, she escapes.

She flees into the arms of Raoul, and they ascend to the roof, where the Phantom hears them confessing their love for each other. The next night, as Christine sings, Erik, the Phantom swoops down and steals her away into his chambers. Raoul et al. give chase, and Raoul shoots Erik, the Phantom. Mortally wounded, Erik, the Phantom's main concern becomes Christine's safety, as he fears that the police will kill her now that they know she's his mistress. Erik, The Phantom shows Christine and Raoul a waterway out of the underground tunnels, and then fights off the police as Raoul rows a hysterical Christine to safety.


Critical reception

Critical response to the film was negative. Variety called it "a gothic kitschfest that leaves no excess unexplored", writing "none of your sanitized Andrew Lloyd Webber treatment here, but plenty of bodice-ripping, lush romanticism, gore and gross antics with rats, all of which should tickle the director's stalwart devotees. But the script's clumsy plotting, its often unintentionally hilarious dialogue and some howlingly bad acting make the already widely sold pic likely to function best as a campy video entry for irreverent genre fans."[1] Slant Magazine called it "a hapless failure that could pass for a second-rate B movie that went straight-to-video. After the unfulfilled promises of Trauma and The Stendhal Syndrome, The Phantom of the Opera seemingly signaled the demise of a great auteur."[2]

The film currently has an approval rating of 13% on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on eight reviews.[3]


The score was composed by Ennio Morricone and featured the "Air des clochettes" from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes and the overture from Charles Gounod's Faust.

See also


External links

  • Internet Movie Database