To my amazement, this musical was repackaged for film as a stunning piece that I watched over and over again. I've seen the actual musical in New York, with chandelier swinging right overhead, and never thought anyone could put this to screen effectively especially after experiencing it so up close and personal. The disfigured musical genius who's only way of communicating his wishes is through fearful and mysterious "happenings" at the Opera House is excused somewhat in most of our minds after we see the scenes of horrific abuse as a child. Where he is kept in a cage and harassed by onlookers and portrayed as the "devils child" and so forth. But his behavior runs unchecked as he manipulates his protege Christine into the key roles at the Opera House. Christine only knows him to be a mysterious "muse" that teaches her to sing in the middle of the night. Phantom's obsession unfortunately becomes violent as Christine falls in love with Raoul. Finally, Christine breaks away from the emotional grip that Phantom has created with her and as the ending suggest, she lives out her life with Raoul. This is a must see movie for those who like the classics.
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Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.