Friday, May 21, 2010

The Phantom of the Opera & The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Let's put aside the movies for a sec and talk about books.

Have you ever noticed how similar Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera and Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame are? Both were written by French dudes, both center around a man so ugly he's often referred to as "a monster." Both "monsters" are in love with a lovely young useless maiden, who is talented in the performing arts department. Both maiden's are in love with simpletons: the philandering Pheobus, and the simple and dull Raoul.

However, Notre Dame has a sense of despair and misery. While Leroux writes as if he's never been sad a day in his life. Where's the beautiful agony that fills most operas? Where is
Erik's pain? (What kind of lame name is Erik?) Where's the edgy angst? Where's the gut wrenching misery?
Oh, it's in Hunchback.

Oh, again! It's also in Michael Crawford! That's right! I said it! There's more feeling in one song from that play (namely, Music of the Night,) than there is in all of Leroux's novel!

I really, really, really hate to say it, but I like the play better. (The play, not that gosh-awful, kill-me-now movie!)

2 comments:

  1. I like your comparison to opera. Had Leroux ever seen an opera!? Uh hello? Drama it up a little. The musical should have been, Phantom of the Musical Theater. And the idiots that made the movie...? Hadn't they seen movies before? Dull.
    I love Disney's use of dramatic music in Hunchback. (Ignore for a moment A Guy Like You.) The choral stuff rivals Mozart's Requiem, I dare say. I would love to perform the sacred choral movements in this movie.

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  2. Hahha! I know, right? They're beautiful. The music in this film, (aside from A Guy Like You, of course,) is hauntingly beautiful.

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