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Series / The Phantom of the Opera (1990)
aka: The Phantom Of The Opera

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The Phantom of the Opera is a 1990 NBC two-part drama television miniseries directed by Tony Richardson, produced by Saban Entertainment and stars Charles Dance in the title role, as well as Teri Polo as Christine. It is adapted from Arthur Kopit's book for his then-unproduced stage musical Phantom, which is based loosely on Gaston Leroux's novel.

Tropes Included:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Several flashbacks are dedicated to Christine and Philippe having been childhood sweethearts, along with depicting the love story between Eric's parents.
  • Adaptational Heroism: This work features a kinder, gentler and more sympathetic Phantom than his counterpart in the novel. His mother Belladova also, as in this version, she adored him and thought his disfigured face was "perfection".
  • Adapted Out: Averted in the case of Philippe (absent from the show), as this time it's he who Christine falls in love with. But played straight with the absence of nearly every other character known from the novel, except for Madame Giry—and her appearance has been reduced to one line.
  • Alpha Bitch: Carlotta, as usual. Also, the flock of chorus girls who bully Christine.
  • Amicable Exes: Philippe's bevy of former mistresses are quite happy to see him when he arrives at the Opera House, indicating this.
  • Anger Montage: Erik destroying his lair after Christine faints at the sight of his face.
  • Asshole Victim: Carlotta can be seen as this regarding all the nasty pranks Erik pulls on her, considering how horrible she is to nearly everyone.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Christine's, which Erik is enthralled by the moment he hears her, and practically gushes to her about when he introduces himself and offers to be her tutor—"Mademoiselle. . .you have an astonishing voice."
  • Big "NO!": Erik lets out several of these, culminating in a huge one when he's enraged by Christine's humiliation on her debut night (Carlotta tampered with a drink she gave her, causing her to lose her voice.)
  • Big "WHY?!": Erik after Christine faints at the sight of his face.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Eric dies, but not without making peace with his father and Christine, knowing that she loves him despite his disfigurement.
  • Blatant Lies: Christine tells Erik she was with Carlotta rather than with Philippe, knowing that the truth (which he already knows) will upset him. She feels so guilty about lying to the man responsible for her success that she almost immediately breaks down and confesses the truth.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently: When Eric approaches Christine, he gushes over the beauty of her voice and effusively praises her, then apologizes as he hesitantly tells her the one flaw—"forgive me, but it is obviously untrained", this leading into his offer to be her tutor.
  • Canon Foreigner: Gerard, Jean-Claude the doorman, Choleti, Belladova (Erik's mother, certainly this Lighter and Softer version).
  • The Casanova: Philippe. The chorus girls not only correctly guess the lines he used when flirting with Christine, they all have lockets with his picture, indicating that they were all his mistress at some point. Later, Erik reveals that he dislikes him because, "He comes to the opera for the beauty of faces, not the beauty of music.", and is despondent at losing Christine to someone he feels is unworthy of her.
    "He doesn't love music, so how could he possibly love her?"
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Christine and Philippe.
  • Composite Character: Philippe is merged with Raoul's character in this adaptation and is basically Raoul with Philippe's name.
  • Crippling the Competition: Jealous and incensed that Christine has been given the role of Marguerite in Faust, Carlotta gives her a drink supposedly meant to relax her, but instead causes her to lose her voice.
  • Death by Despair: Erik becomes very ill after Christine leaves him.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Christine pleads with Erik to let her see his face, insisting that she can handle it. It turns out to be so horrifying (though the audience never sees it) that she faints. Later, at the end of the film, as he's dying, she removes the mask herself, so that she can kiss him goodbye, showing that she loves him no matter what she looks like.
  • Driven to Suicide: Belladova tries to kill herself when Gerard tells her that he's already married, meaning that she's about to be an unwed mother in a society that frowns on that.
    • Erik himself. When he realizes that he's lost Christine and is about to be captured, he all but begs Gerard to shoot him. Between this and his subsequent fall from the roof, he dies soon afterwards.
  • The Faceless: We never see Erik's face, despite the two times the mask comes off.
  • Family Eye Resemblance: How Erik knows Gerard is his father.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Erik supposedly thinks Gerard is "some kind of an uncle", as Gerard puts it, but as it turns out, Erik knows Gerard is his father, as they have the same eyes.
  • Faint in Shock: Christine faints at the sight of Erik's unmasked face, much to his devastation (she'd promised to love him enough to overlook what he looked like, but to no avail).
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted, as Belladova tries to induce a miscarriage—when she's thisclose to her delivery date. It sends her into premature labor (and it's implied that this is what caused his disfigurement.)
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Erik's terminally ill state is conveyed to the viewer by his repeated coughing fits, though he's never shown bringing up blood.
  • Informed Attractiveness: The beauty of Christine's voice, which Erik goes on ad nauseam about.
  • Informed Flaw: Carlotta's awful voice.
  • Interclass Romance: Child Christine was a servant in child Philippe's house, as was her father. Their budding friendship enraged his grandmother so much that she sent Christine and her father away.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Erik could have easily sent Philippe off the roof to his death, but saves him because of Christine's entreaties—the Death Glare he gives Philippe afterwards makes it clear that this is the only reason he did it.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Philippe is implied to be quite the womanizer—a group of six chorus girls not only correctly guess the lines he used when flirting with Christine, they show her that they all have lockets with his picture, indicating that they were all his mistress at some point—but he is clearly head-over-heels in love with Christine. It's implied that Philippe adopted his flirtatious ways as a way of covering and/or coping with his seemingly hopeless devotion to his family's former servant girl:
    Philippe: "I have loved her my whole life, Gerard, my whole life! She is my life. The Count de Chagny you knew doesn't exist anymore; he never did!"
  • Let's Duet: Christine and the Phantom during her lessons, but most impressively when she is onstage as Marguerite in Faust. The dying Phantom drags himself up to his box in the theatre, and the duet they share is so passionate the celluloid is lucky to survive.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: It seems that part of the reason Erik loves Christine so much is because she looks and sounds just like his mother Belladova, who unlike most versions of this story, adored him and thought his face was perfect.
  • Lighter and Softer: To most versions. Certainly as far as Erik's characterization goes.
  • Love at First Note: A variation as Erik is clearly enthralled by Christine's voice the minute he hears it, but he falls in love with her over the course of their singing lessons.
  • Love Triangle: An interesting version in that Christine has no problem admitting that she does love Erik, just not in the same manner that she does Philippe, but Philippe isn't too thrilled about this either.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Gerard finally admits this to Erik, who tells him that he already knew: "My eyes. . .they're not her eyes, they're yours."
  • Manly Tears: Erik wails in agony after Christine faints at the sight of his face.
  • Meaningful Echo: The first time Christine sees Erik's face, she faints. The second time, she removes the mask herself and kisses him without hesitation, showing that she loves him no matter what.
  • Mirror Scare: Carlotta is sitting at her vanity applying makeup when Erik purposefully strides into the room as casually as if he belongs there (very significant considering how stealthy he's been previously). She freezes in terror as he promptly empties a suitcase full of rats all over her.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: You can count on one hand the number of people who even try to sound like they're from Paris.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never see Erik's face but it's apparently horrifying enough to make Christine faint the first time she does.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: What Phillipe takes Christine on after her performance at the bistro.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: How Gerard holds the dying Erik.
  • The Power of Love: The realization that Christine does love him is enough for Erik to revive from his mysterious illness to sing a magnificent duet with her.
  • Pretty Boy: Philippe. His hair's almost as long as Christine's!
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Erik claims that his eyes "are the only part of my face I can look at in a mirror without wanting to break the glass".
  • Scenery Porn: The miniseries actually got to film most of its scenes in the Opera Garnier itself, and takes every opportunity to show off the beauty of the building.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Christine and Philippe go for a romantic stroll in the woods. They stop to embrace as the scene fades out. When it fades back in, they're now walking out of the woods, both looking rather disheveled.
  • Show Within a Show: All of the operas performed—Norma, La Traviata, Faust—are real.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Choleti and Carlotta.
  • Suicide by Sea: What Erik's mother attempts after Gerard tells her he can't marry her.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: Although Christine initially faints at the sight of the Phantom's face, she gets over it and by the movie's end, is able to remove his mask and kiss him without flinching, showing that she knows he's a good person deep down. (Even though while he isn't nearly as bad as his theatrical incarnation, he still murders several people who dare to venture into his lair and terrorizes Carlotta much in the same way as he did in the show.)
  • Villainous Breakdown: Carlotta, of all people. After Erik discovers that she poisoned Christine, causing her voice to fail on her debut night, he shows up in her suite and empties a suitcase full of rats all over her. She goes bonkers from this and spends the rest of the movie babbling and singing incoherently.
    • Erik too, in a much sadder version. He destroys his lair after Christine faints at the sight of his face, then spends most of the rest of the film in despondence after Christine escapes, not helped by the fact that he becomes physically ill as well.

Alternative Title(s): The Phantom Of The Opera