Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Phantom of the Opera (1983)


I have found lately, that you find some of the strangest and sometimes best things when you're bored and on Youtube looking for something to watch. As you may have known, that is how I found La Cenerentola, North and South, and a bunch of other random things. So I got bored on a night that I can't remember..... It was either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (way back when), because I got to stay up. Anyways, I just decided that I was in a Phantom mood, so I think I looked up "Phantom of the Opera full movie". No, before you ask, I wasn't looking for the 2004 version because it SUCKS. (Sorry, Alexa!) But I just started pushing random ones to see if they were going to be interesting. You could usually tell, like, five minutes into it if it was going to be worth your watching.

This is the 1983 version, set not in Paris, France, but in Budapest, Hungary. It is very (very, very, very) loosely based on Gaston Leroux's novel. There's no songs from the musical that we all love and know, but that was actually okay. It starts out with Sándor Korvin (Maximilian Schell), the conductor of the Budapest Opera House preparing his lovely wife, Elena (Jane Seymour), for the lead role in the show 'Faust'. Her voice is beautiful, but not when she's obviously nervous. Anyways, the show goes on, but not before an audience member begins to boo her off the stage. A critic named Oscar Krauss gives Elena a terrible review. Krauss wrote it intentionally to ruin Elena because she blew off Baron Hunyadi's advances towards her (like, she's a married woman. Leave her alone....) so Hunyadi wanted to ruin her for it. Unfortunately, Elena had little confidence in her great voice and ultimately drowned herself because of the terrible review, leaving Korvin devastated, angry, and hungry for revenge. He goes to Krauss and orders him to reveal what wrong he has done, but then they get into a fight. Korvin kills Krauss but he is badly burned by a bottle of acid that fell from the shelf. The rat catcher named Lajos rescues him and takes him to his home(?) under the Budapest Opera House. Korvin is burned beyond recognition and soon takes on the role of the Phantom of the Opera and begins to torment the opera house. It is five years later when Michael Hartnell (the Raoul character played by Michael York), the new director of the production of Faust is holding auditions for the lead role of Marguerite when Maria Gianelli (the Christine character played by Jane Seymour) auditions. Not only is Hartnell impressed, but so is Korvin. Gianelli bears a large resemblance to Elena (Both are played by Seymour) and her voice matches as well. Gianelli gets the part of Maguerite and soon Korvin approaches her and offers to teach her at a private home. She takes lessons from him, but falls in love with Hartnell. Korvin soon becomes obsessed with Gianelli and pretty much does what the Phantom does to get her ahead. In he end, Korvin kidnaps Gianelli and plans to use Elena's well-preserved corpse to pass as Gianelli's body (which is later found in the sewers). Hartnell rescues Elena and the show goes on. Korvin is so upset by the end, that he cuts down the chandelier, but not before seeing Gianelli sitting directly under it. He and the chandelier plummet, but not before Gianelli escapes alive. In the final scenes, we see Korvin's mask under the chandelier.


This version of "The Phantom of the Opera" was sort of good, though a bit questionable. Korvin was a great "Phantom" and he had a reason to be angry. But honestly, it was just really creepy that he preserved his wife's corpse to remember her, only to throw her in the sewers and replace her with Maria. Like, that is Class A level creepy. Maria drove me nuts. Honestly. Like, she tries to be all "I'm independent" but honestly, she just isn't. Hartnell..... Well, I liked his voice. That's about it. This version features Christine as less modest than the classic Christine we know and love. For example, there is a scene where Hartnell undoes the side of her dress and in the next scene they're undressed in bed together. I didn't care for that all all. Like, "Cool, we get it; you love each other. That's all we need to know." It also shows Hartnell going to some kind of old sauna or something when Korvin comes and begins to choke him (I don't know if he was wearing anything or not) The only violent scenes would be when the fire starts and Korvin is burned and when we see Lajos leaning on the organ with a sort of dagger in his back. (obviously dead) I think that's about it for everything.

So while this was an okay version, it definitely wasn't the best. I think I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10 for a rating of being worth the watch.

Have you ever seen this version before? Share your comments on it!

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