Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

In the last episode I had a dinner party with Mr. Sinclaire, and learned all about his real wife and the ugly side of the Duke. The two of us have grown closer together, and I don’t mind admitting I’m falling for the Mr. Darcylike man.

In this episode I’m invited to the opera, so first stop the clothing store!

You have the option of buying a beautiful dress, but as I’ve been invited to go with Duke Richards, yuck-I’m not buying anything nice. I’m just going to wear an old dress. He doesn’t need anything special.

The one I bought for the dinner will do nicely.

Poor Miss Parsons, we talk and she discusses a horrid date she had. It is with a gross old man, ugh, the girl can’t catch a break. Too bad my brother died or we could have been sisters.

As I head out of the shop, I run into Prince Hamid. You all remember him, the man who rescued Miss Parsons and I when Mr. Marcastle left us stranded in London.

He’s with the Duke, ugh! Can this guy just get lost!

The Duke

The Duke is planning on taking you and Miss Parson’s to see Handel’s Almira and is surprised to hear that I know of it. Seriously dude, my mama was an opera star.

Princess Almira has inherited the throne from her father, but he wishes that she marries someone from the House of Consalvo. The House of Consalvo has one son, but Princess Almira is not interested in him, and he only wants her for wealth and power. Instead, Princess Almira is in love with a man who has unknown parentage, Fernando. There are a lot of twists and turns in the opera, will it end happily or in tragedy?

So this makes me think of two things: first of all-wow what a crazy coincidence! That’s what’s kind of happening in my life.

And secondly:

Back to the game, Prince Hamid offers to pick you up when we go to the opera, but ugh the Duke is taking you. Bah.

Ugh, this guy!

However, the Duke has other business to attend to-so Prince Hamid offers to take you over early to the opera. Here is your chance to get a closer look at who your mother was!

I’ll get the secrets!

I go into the opera house and feel melancholy as I wished I had asked my mother more questions. I meet an actress who tells me my mother was an amazing singer, she was a big star until she became pregnant. They invite you to stay to watch, and as much as I love to I turned it down.

The stage is no place for a respectable girl, and I need to protect my reputation-I have Mr. Marcastle to deal with. And he is just waiting for an opportunity like this.

When you go home, you have a big surprise. Luke Harper is there with a letter from your father!

The hunt is on,

But which man do I want? It’s up to you to decide! Plus you have to fight the rumors that the Countess is spreading.

For more on Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on the opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more ABBA, go to Dancing Queen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

PhantomoftheOpera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this book. However, as I was trying to think of books I like that were originally in another language, I couldn’t think of anything but this book and Jules Verne’s novels.

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I already reviewed two Verne books, so with nothing else coming to mind, I decided to review The Phantom of the Opera.

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Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

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Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; and heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, it gave him an idea.

ooh!

With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

Phantom of the Opera

Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

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So here I am going to do a slightly different post, I am going to focus on one character: the Phantom.

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I just love him:

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Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

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His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared him room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

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But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

right in the feels broken heart

One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

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The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

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You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

you're evil

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

hate her

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

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Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

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Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

iLoveyou

He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

No thank youhowaboutno

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

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Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

big mistake

He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

you're evil

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

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I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking if him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psychi and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him. And he also does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

Phantom of the Opera chandelier

He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

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But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

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Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

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 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

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Had our heart broken:

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Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

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Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

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What else can I say?

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Why yes I do!

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Starting in 2015, I decided to dress up “Jane Austen” in Halloween costumes. Check her out as the Bride of Frankenstein.

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Stupid Not to Read Jane Austen Quote

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to How to Meet the Perfect Guy

For more on Gaston Leroux, go to Fantom of the Opera

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Silverstein, go to The End by Silverstein

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Today’s carol is The First White Christmas from the claymation, The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow.

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I couldn’t find any info on the song, but they play it in the opening and ending credits. I always thought it was cute, and it tends to get stuck in my head.

I couldn’t find a video unfortunately, or a good link to watch the film (as they took down the best one).

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For more on The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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…Because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I’m mad, I’m rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!

So last year I reviewed the Alfred Hitchcock film Under Capricorn. In the post, I mentioned how it wasn’t widely received or enjoyed by critics and audiences, one of the reasons being its similarity to this film, and because starred two of the same actors; Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. I personally like Under Capricorn better, but let’s take a look at this film.

So the movie is based on a play, and a remake of the film that came out four years prior to this one. It won an Oscar for best set design, best actress, and critical praise for all actors.

This is a historical fiction film, taking place at the turn of the century. The name of the film comes from the gaslights used in houses. Lights in the London house are from fixtures with gas flames, and when you light one light, it reduces gas supply to the other lights in the house that are close by, causing the lights to dim.

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Renowned opera singer, Alice Alquist, is strangled to death in her London home, No. 9 Thornton square. The thief is searching for her famed emeralds, but is interrupted and flees. Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), Alice’s niece,  has been living with her aunt ever since her parents died. She finds the body and becomes completely traumatized.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She moves to Italy, where she studies music, following in the footsteps of her aunt.

Ten years later, Paula confesses to her voice teacher, Maestro Guardi, that she has finally been able to move past that point and has fallen in love.

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Maestro doesn’t want to lose his most talented student, but wants Paula to be happy, and encourages her to follow her heart.

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She does and accepts the proposal of the handsome Gregory Anton, a pianist she has only known two weeks.

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During their honeymoon, Gregory tells Paula he has always dreamed of living in a fashionable London square. Anxious to please her hubby, she suggests that they move into her aunt’s house.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

When they move in Paula begins to have nightmares about what she saw before.

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Gregory tells her that it will help is they remove everything that belonged to her aunt up into the attic, sealing it up. But then strange things start happening.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

The flame keeps going down, although no other lights nearby are being used. Why is it dimming!!

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

And what is making that weird noise in a sealed attic. Gregory doesn’t hear anything at all, and Paula begins thinking she might be going crazy!

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One day Paula discovers a note to her aunt.

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It was dated two days before her murder, from a Sergius Bauer. He begged to see Paula’s aunt, very intensely. She shows it to Gregory who becomes upset over the whole thing and quickly silences Paula.

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It is clear there is more to this man than his charming, suave, and handsome personality.

Meanwhile, Paula continues to hear things even though Gregory and the servants say that there is nothing. Paula starts questioning herself, and becomes more insecure every day.

I don't know what to do

To make matters worse, Gregory has hired a saucy, young maid, Nancy. She os played by Angela Lansbury in her first film role. This maid is rude and cruel to Paula, making her feel worse and even crazier. Nancy is also making a ploy for Gregory.

Nancy Oliver: Gonna work on your tunes again tonight, sir? You’re always working, aren’t you?

Gregory Anton: Yes. What are you doing with your evening out?

Nancy Oliver: Oh, I’m going to a music hall… [starts to sing ‘Up in a balloon’]

Gregory Anton: I’ve never been to an English music hall.

Nancy Oliver: Oh, you don’t know what you’ve missed, sir…

Gregory Anton: And whom are you going to the music hall with?

Nancy Oliver: A gentleman friend, sir.

Gregory Anton: Oh, now you know, Nancy, don’t you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.

Nancy Oliver: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself – when I want to.

Gregory Anton: You know, Nancy, it strikes me that you’re not at all the kind of girl that your mistress should have for a housemaid.

Nancy Oliver: [flirtatiously] No, sir? She’s not the only one in the house – is she?

Paula’s life is quickly becoming worse and worse.

Three months later, Paula and Gregory are going to go to a Tower of London tour. Gregory gives her a brooch that once belonged to his grandmother. He warns her to be careful, as the clasp is broken, and not to lose it. Paula puts it in her purse, but while they are at the tour she starts to worry that she lost it. When she checks the purse, it is gone!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

While looking at the crown jewels exhibit, she is approached by Brian Cameron. In the original play and film, this character was stout and elderly. However, that didn’t suit Hollywood. So instead they made him the young and very attractive Joseph Cotten.

LOL Cotton and Cotton

So Brian greets her very warmly. It turns out he was a huge fan of her aunt, and momentarily mistook her for the aunt. Gregory doesn’t like Brian and questions Paula about him, but she insists that she has never met him before.

That night Paula confesses about losing the brooch, and Gregory yells at her “forgetfulness” that is running rampant. It seems that Paula is always forgetting things and hearing things that aren’t there.

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That night Paula sees the gaslights dimming again, and also hears noises that sound like footprints.

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Why is this happening to her? Why is she going crazy??!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Two months later, Brian comes around Thornton Square. He is curious about Paula as he has never seen her anywhere, even though they run in the same social circles. He should have seen her at a party.

He goes to question Paula’s neighbor, when he notices Paula about to leave the house. Before she can go out, she is bullied by Nancy to stay in. It is clear who thinks they are the mistress of the house.

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From The Picture of Dorian Gray

It turns out that Brian is more than a music lover, he works for Scotland Yard.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

He goes to the office and starts looking into the case file on Alice Alquist’s murder. Alice was given some amazing jewels from a secret admirer, all which are missing now. Did the thief manage to get them all? Or did Alice hide them very well?

suspicious Hmm

He is convinced that Paula is in danger, and assigns a detective to watch over her house.

Meanwhile, Paula is convinced that the maid is trying to get rid of her. She tries to talk about this with Gregory, but he thinks it is just an addition to her madness, there is paranoia.

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Brian poses as the neighbor’s nephew. He tries to see her, when Gregory refuses. Paula is shocked at his behavior, why is he being so rude?

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Her mood quickly changes when Gregory tells her that he is taking her to the theater. However, before they leave Gregory accuses Paula of taking a painting down.

Paula never did any such thing.

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Gregory finds the painting on the stairs, and tells her that this is the third time she has done it. She is getting worse.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Paula reveals to him about the noises she has been hearing and Gregory tells her she is too unwell to go out. Now Paula is stuck at home and scared that she might get sent away to a mental institution.

Gregory leaves to his music studio, while Paula is home alone and hearing the strange noises.

Why is this happening?!!

Why is this happening?!!

Brian is invited to a piano concert at Lord and Lady Dalroy. Gregory and Paula were invited but Gregory refused, as he believes Paula is too sick. Paula is furious and tells him she wants to go and will go without him. Gregory changes his mind and agrees to accompany her.

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When they get to the concert, Gregory tells Paula that his watch is missing. Paula ends up finding it in her purse, even though she knows she never put it in there, and causes a huge scene, Gregory then deciding to take her home.

When they reach the house, Paula says that all her problems began when she found that letter to her Aunt from Sergius Bauer. Gregory tells her he has no idea what she is talking about as no such letter ever existed.

Is she crazy? Or is there someone trying to make her think she is crazy?

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

Gregory yells at Paula, telling her she is going as crazy as her mother. He informs her that as she is going insane, he has already arranged for two doctors to examine and treat her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Gregory leaves, and when he does Brian and another officer follow him, but lose him in the fog.

Inside, Paula hears the footsteps again and asks the cook if she hears anything. The cook says no, this just reenforces to Paula that she is crazy!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Brian has been watching  the house and figured out that when Gregory leaves, he doesn’t go to his music studio but into the deserted No. 5 and crosses the roof into the attic of No. 9.

The next night, Brian waits until Gregory has left the house, and then goes in to see Paula, trying to convince her she is sane.

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Upstairs, Gregory is in the attic tearing everything apart as he is searching for something.

Downstairs, Brian forces Gregory’s desk opens and finds that Gregory’s gun is missing. Paula also finds the note that Gregory told her “doesn’t exist.”

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

They compare the letter to Gregory’s writing, and Brian figures out that Gregory is Sergius Bauer, the man he suspected killed Paula’s aunt. He was searching for the jewels and couldn’t find them, having to leave that night, and resurfacing to marry Paula to gain access to the jewels.

Upstairs, Gregory has finally found the jewels in an opera costume. When the gaslights pick up, Brian knows it is time to get out of there. He takes off and then goes up through No. 5 to the attic.

Gregory comes downstairs and finds his desk broken.

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He yells at Paula, but is interrupted by Brian who has come through the attic with the destroyed costume.

Gregory Anton: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.

Brian Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.

Gregory rushes upstairs and the two fight. A gunshot rings out!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

Paula runs upstairs to see what happened. There she finds Gregory tied up in a chair.

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And we have what I think is the best scene in the movie.

Brian comes to take him away.

Gregory Anton: I don’t ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire – a fire in my brain that separated us – those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don’t know why… Goodbye, Paula.

Brian consoles Paula, telling her he will always be around if she needs him.

From Under Capricorn

From Under Capricorn

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I know that Ingrid Bergman actually studied people suffering from different issues, observing at a local mental hospital, but I felt her delivery in Under Capricorn was much stronger than this one.

Otherwise, it is not a bad film and a pretty good thriller.halloween banner

1944Gaslight

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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For more Ingrid Bergman, go to The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

For more on Angela Lansbury, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who Was To Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

For more on husbands that are more than what they seem, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more historical fiction films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more remakes, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)