Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / The Phantom of the Opera

Go To

Since The Phantom of the Opera was written by French author Gaston Leroux between 1909 and 1910, it has been adapted for film and television many times.

The original work

Adaptations with their own pages

Other Phantom-based works with their own pages

Other adaptations include

  • The first was a German production, which has since been lost.
  • Song at Midnight, a 1937 Chinese adaptation which takes a several liberties with the original story, most notably the Phantom's love interest is no longer a singer, while his pupil is a separate male character, and also shoehorns in a very pro-leftist message. The film was popular to warrant a sequel and four remakes, and is considered to be China's first horror film.
  • The Phantom of Hollywood, which turns the character into a disfigured actor who commits murders on the backlot of a bankrupt film studio, hoping to prevent its redevelopment.
  • Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, a 1989 slasher film that relocates the story to, well, The Mall.
  • The Canary Trainer by Nicholas Meyers sees Sherlock Holmes investigating the mystery of the Phantom when he finds himself in Paris during the Great Hiatus.
  • Phantom, a 1990 novel by Susan Kay, is Erik's autobiography in which he describes his life prior to the events of Phantom of the Opera. In it, Erik's obsession with Christine is explained away with the Freudian Excuse that she is a Doppelgänger of Erik's beautiful but rejecting mother.
  • In 2017, the Muppets Meet The Classics book series began with their version of the book, naturally plugging Muppet characters into the original novel.

Tropes recurring in multiple mediums and/or adaptations without their own pages

  • Abominable Auditorium: The Opera House is usually functional but also serves as the Phantom's personal playground; in the musical, it's also depicted in the future as a derelict ruin where the staff are auctioning off old props for whatever pennies they can squeeze from the public.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Gerard Butler's Phantom in the film version is rather less ugly than his stage counterparts, to the point that film critic Richard Roeper quipped "He's the Fashionably-Scarred Stud of the Opera."
    • Peter Jöback who plays the part on West End between March and September of 2012 originally auditioned to play the Phantom on Broadway but was rejected because he was considered too good looking for the part. He was offered the part of Raoul instead, turned it down and was then contacted by Andrew Lloyd Webber who asked him to come play the role in London.
    • In Dario Argento's film version, the Phantom has no facial disfigurement at all.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The book Christine was blonde, but in most stage and film productions she's a brunette.
    • Averted in the Hungarian production—Christine is sometimes blonde over there. The actresses seem to have wigs the same colour as their own hair.
      • This is also now averted in the West End production — Emmi Christensson, an alternate Christine, wears a blonde wig. This also counts for Meg, black-haired in the book, but blonde in the musical, is now sometimes dressed in a dark wig.
    • Also averted in the Finnish production.
  • Adapted Out: The Persian and Raoul's unfortunate older brother... except in the Lon Chaney version in the former's case and the Dario Argento version in the latter's case.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The artwork for the Las Vegas production features the Phantom bending seductively over...a blonde woman in a red dress with copious cleavage who generally looks nothing like the stage incarnation of Christine.
    • The Dario Argento version has a masked Phantom, weeping blood, on the VHS and DVD cover. The Phantom in this film has no facial deformity at all, and therefore doesn't wear a mask.
    • The iconic poster for the Broadway musical shows a white mask that covers the entire upper face, rather than the half-mask used in the production. The full mask was originally part of the costume, but was scrapped at the last minute due to technical difficulties and survives only in the poster.
  • Dramatic Unmask: A staple of most versions and possibly even the Trope Codifier for the modern era.
  • Evil Laugh: In the stage version, the Phantom breaks out in mad laughter first when he ruins Carlotta's performance and later when he crashes the chandelier. In the silent film, Lon Chaney proves you don't even need sound to let loose with an Evil Laugh.
    • In Maskerade, the Phantom (one of them, at least) writes down an Evil Laugh. With five exclamation marks, nonetheless!!!!! This lampshaded by one of the characters. (Opera will do that to a man.)
  • Fatal Flaw: The Phantom's...craziness. Christine's naïveté.
  • Flanderization: The Phantom has always been something of a Tragic Monster and may sometimes even be a sympathetic figure, but the Schumacher film (to the point of Villain Decay) and the stage musical (to a lesser extent than it's often accused of, especially considering the large amount of free reign the actor's given within certain boundaries) tend to exaggerate this aspect while simultaneously making everyone else unlikeable and downplaying the fact that, whatever else Erik may be, he is also a deeply disturbed and homicidal person.
    • This has also happened to Carlotta over the years. Originally she was part of a Technician Versus Performer comparison, with Carlotta having a marvelous instrument but no soul in her singing as opposed to the more passionate (if rather more erratic) Christine. Over the years this has been simplified to Carlotta's voice being awful (or at least past its prime), to the point where the Schumacher movie depicts opera staff stuffing cotton in their ears when she prepares to sing (thus leading to Informed Flaw, as Margaret Preece's voice is one of the better ones in the film). In reality, a few swings in the Lloyd Webber show can cover both Carlotta and Christine, and Carlotta is almost always played by someone who's been classically trained.
    • It's true that, in the book, Christine was rather naive to believe Erik was actually the angel her father had promised her, and occasionally behaved somewhat immaturely - but she was still essentially a sensible and independent young woman who was under enormous pressure from all sides, told Raoul off for stalking her, did her level best to keep him out of trouble and had a strong enough will to put up with Erik without going completely crazy. However, in a lot of adaptations - such as Susan Kay's Phantom and Nicholas Meyer's 'The Canary Trainer' - she's portrayed as an airhead with the mentality of a child, who can barely even take care of herself.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Everywhere you look, but especially on Carlotta and Christine.
  • The Ingenue: Christine is the epitome of this, except in the 1943 film, where she's a well-adjusted, career-minded girl.
    • Carlotta even lampshades Christine's ingenue status in the musical right before "Prima Donna":
    Carlotta: (to Andre and Firmin) Would you not rather have your precious little ingenue?
    Andre and Firmin: Signora, no, the world wants YOU!!!
  • In Name Only:
    • Subverted with the 1989 reimagining starring Robert Englund as the title character. Many often mistake it for this given its nature as a gory horror film — but in many regards, it's much closer to the original novel than the famous musical, maintaining the sadism of Leroux's Erik which many adaptations tend to downplay, and featuring plot elements that are often left out of theatrical adaptations.
    • The Dario Argento version is very much an example of being The Phantom of the Opera in name only, starting with how The Phantom is not deformed and was raised by rats.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Raoul, obviously.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Almost universally, Christine and Meg are portrayed as this trope. Although they're occasionally reversed, Christine is usually the Dark and Meg the Light, but you'll almost never find an adaptation where they're both Light or Dark. (In a related trope, in visual adaptations, there's frequently a Blonde, Brunette, Redhead motif with Meg, Christine, and Carlotta respectively.)
  • Lighter and Softer: If you're talking about the Lloyd Webber version as opposed to Leroux, there's always the TheaterWorks USA adaptation, which was expressly written to out-Light-and-Softness the Lloyd Webber version itself. (And in all honesty, the Lloyd Webber version comes off far, far darker onstage than it does in the film version.) The Theaterworks version does away with the love triangle altogether, makes Erik into Madame Giry's long-lost son who was burned in a fire in the opera house a few years previously, and has Christine coax him in the end into using his gift to open a music school in order to relieve his bitterness at being unable to perform. All of the denizens of the opera happily approve, and it ends with a song about accepting people who may look different from you. I wish I were making this up.
    • In the meantime the Lloyd Webber version, while very dark and gothic, is still lighter than the book: Erik, instead of looking like a living corpse, has a smaller (though still nasty) deformity, and in contrast to the kill count of the book only Buquet and Piangi die in the show. (Then again, Erik does possibly try to cause the chandelier to fall on Christine, so there you go.) The deformity is less an attempt to lighten the Phantom's look than the fact Lon Chaney-level deformities took too long to apply for a live show and severely limited the actor's ability to sing.
    • The 1962 version is so light and soft that the Phantom doesn't even kill anybody! Instead, a homicidal little person who's friends with the Phantom does all the killing, so the Phantom's hands are technically clean throughout the whole movie. Also, the Phantom has no romantic interest in Christine, just wants to hear his music performed, and performs a Heroic Sacrifice in the end.
  • Love Triangle: In the 1943 version, oddly enough, it's not Raoul and Erik competing over Christine, but Raoul and a baritone Christine often stars opposite onstage. (The Phantom figure is Christine's father in this case, who wants her back after leaving her in her childhood.) In the end, Christine chooses her career over both of them.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The various actors who have played Erik and Raoul. (But not Lon Chaney!)
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Occurs in a couple of the movies, with the '89 version being the most blatant.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: And how!
  • Pretty in Mink: Carlotta wears a fur or two in about every other adaptation.
  • Progressively Prettier: The various movie adaptations provide the image for this trope. Lon Chaney has a freakishly deformed skull-head. Claude Rains has one side of his face badly scarred. Gerard Butler looks like he fell asleep in a tanning booth with the right side of his face up.
  • Race Lift: Robert Guillame was cast as the Phantom during the first national tour. Until recently, he was the only African-American actor to play the role—after 26 years, Norm Lewis was the first African-American to play the part on Broadway in 2014. In June 2016, Filipino actress Ali Ewodlt took on the role of Christine, become the first Asian actress to do so, while Jordan Donica became the first African-American to play Raoul. Additionally, Derrick Davis was the second African-American Phantom and Quentin Oliver Lee the third (and the third and fourth overall, respectively) to play the role in the US touring company.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Most presentations of Christine, due to common Adaptation Dye-Job. Emmy Rossum in the 2004 version especially.
  • Satanic Archetype: The Angel of Music is another name for The Devil. The Phantom is Milton-esque figure who lives underground in a freezing lake (a la Dante) coming up to enchant and abduct beautiful innocent maidens. He is an Expy for Lucifer.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: "His life is now the prize that you must earn. So, do you end your days with me, or do you send him to his grave?" Raoul throws this back in the Phantom's face with "Why make her lie to you to save me?"
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The sets and special effects of the musical (most infamously the chandelier) were groundbreaking for their time and still impress today. They may be flashy and overwrought, but they're done spectacularly well.
    • The Opera House set built for the 1925 film was an extraordinarily elaborate set for its day. Although the sound stage was finally demolished by Universal in 2014, the set was put in storage and reportedly still exists today, and was used for, believe it or not, The Muppets (2011).
  • Setting Update: Over the years, plays and films have been written that reset the story in other venues. Probably the best-known of these is Brian De Palma's 1974 film Phantom of the Paradise, which is set in the rock music industry and pastiches several horror/fantasy stories in addition to Phantom.
  • Theatre Phantom: Erik is the Trope Maker.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mob that chases after Erik at the end of the 1925 film, the musical, and in the 2004 version.
  • Torture Cellar: Book and movies only.
  • Tragic Monster: The Phantom is the epitome of the trope when he isn't being played up as a Draco In Leather Pants.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • Found in the musical and several film versions. It dates back to the 1943 film.
    • In the novel the mask is once mentioned to be black, and never mentioned again. The mask used during the masquerade ball was naturally red.

Alternative Title(s): The Phantom Of The Opera, Phantom Of The Opera