October 6 – The Phantom of the Opera – Book Vs. Film – Which Medium Wins? (Thirty-One Days of Halloween)

Let’s see, I think I’ve seen two Phantom of the Opera films. I saw the silent film of the 1920s starring Lon Chaney Sr. and then I watched a version by Hammer Film Productions. The silent film is the better of the two.

Oh but the book! By Gaston Leroux! I read a large chunk of this book while I was in Paris, where I visited the famous Palais Garnier – The Paris Opera House, which of course is the site of the events in the story. To read the words and then take in the sites. Here is a quote from me from an article I wrote:

“There’s the grand staircase of white marble with breathtaking views over the balcony balustrade.  There are towering pillars with ornate carvings. There are corridors that seem to stretch beyond infinity. Life-like statues haunt their corners.  Thankfully, there is an author who succeeds in matching these wonders of the eye with the marvels of storytelling.  His name is Gaston Leroux.  His novel – The Phantom of the Opera.” 


I was so intrigued by the story of “the Opera ghost” that haunts the singers and stagehands, only to learn he is not a ghost at all. He’s a disfigured musician who lives in the sewers of Paris and rises up once in a while inside the Opera House he once performed at.  None of the films were able to capture the essence of the story as well as the book in my opinion.

Winner: BOOK

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