Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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“Those Irish men and women…[who’s] rich vitality and culture they brought with them. Britain, the U.S. and many commonwealth countries are richer for their presence.”   –Tony Blair

So I picked seventeen of my favorite Irish characters from film, TV, and books. I had to get a little more creative as I used up a lot of my all time favs last year. Next year I might have to do only seven. So they mostly turned out to be cops, but I swear I didn’t plan that, it just kinda happened. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

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17) Irish National Quidditch Team from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter is about to start his fourth year at Hogwarts, but before the term starts he will be joining the Weasleys and Hermione Granger at the Quidditch World Cup to see Ireland vs. Bulgaria. While there, Voldemort’s followers come and fire the Dark Mark into the sky, signaling that Voldemort will return soon. At Hogwarts, they are hosting the Triwizard Tournament, however, only those over 17 will be allowed to enter. The Goblet of Fire ends up choosing  Fleur DelacourViktor Krum, and Cedric Diggory to compete in the tournament. But to everyone’s surprise, the cup chooses a fourth name, Harry Potter. The four compete in many tasks, surmounting in the final course, conquering a maze. There they discover that the Champion cup is a Portkey that takes them to Voldemort and allows him to begin his evil plan.

Why they are awesome:

First of all, let me just say that I LOVED this book. The movie was so-so, but the book was amazing. Anyways, so the Irish Quidditch team is super cool. They were up against Krum, who is pretty tough, the Bulgarian Veela and still managed to make it out on top. They didn’t catch the snitch but were able to still win with a score of  170-160. Pretty sweet.

For more on Harry Potter check out Even After All This Time

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16) Greta Conroy from  The Dead

The Dead is by James Joyce and about an Irish family and friends celebrating Epiphany. Three spinsters, Aunt Julia, Aunt Kate, and Mary Jane are hosting a party. Gabriel, the nephew and one of the main characters, attends the party with his wife Greta but rejects his Irishness, wanting to be more British and his ideas clash with the others at the party.

Why Greta is Awesome:

Greta is awesome because she has to put up with a lot having a husband like Gabriel. He doesn’t want to visit West Ireland were she is from, tries to force all these modern ideas upon her and the family; etc. But Greta, while she compromises at times, as that is crucial to every relationship, she doesn’t always give in. She sticks to her guns if it is something she really cares about. Greta also lost the boy she loved when she was young, and has persevered through that pain all the years. She married and move on with her life, no one ever knowing about the travesty in her past. A real warrior, she is.

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Freddy The Dead

15) Freddy Malins from  The Dead

The Dead is by James Joyce and about an Irish family and friends celebrating Epiphany. Three spinsters, Aunt Julia, Aunt Kate, and Mary Jane are hosting a party. Gabriel, the nephew and one of the main character, attends the party with his wife Greta but rejects his Irishness, wanting to be more British and his ideas clash with the others at the party.

Why Freddy is Awesome:

Now when we are first presented Freddy, he seems like the fullfillment of the Irish stereotype. He is slovenly and drunk, but as we see more of him, you find out that there is much more to him then meets the eye. (Plus his mom is always ragging on him and saying he is a horrible, stupid person. I think she would drive anyone to drink.) Joyce purposely had Freddy be the stereotype, so that when he revealed more of who he was it would make you refrain from making rash judgements and make his character of being kind and caring even more surprising. When Aunt Julia, retired singer, performs and doesn’t do that well, he immediately jumps up and compliments her. When everyone is saying bad things about the Irish opera singers and such, he pips up and not only praises them but the African-American singer. Kudos to Freddy always speaking his mind and being adorable.

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14) Gerald O’Hara from Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, is the story of a Southern family that goes through some radical changes from the Antebellum period, to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of the beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

Why Mr. O’Hara is awesome:

Now I know a lot of people hate this movie, but trust me the book is much better. You really get a better sense of the characters and really understand their motivations and what in the past made them who they are.

So in the movie we don’t get much of the dad. We see a bit of him in the beginning and then when he goes crazy from grief and loss of his wife. But in the book he was pretty cool. Back in Ireland he was a part of a Catholic Emancipation group, like the Ribbonmen or such. He has to flee Ireland because of his illegal activities. He comes over to America who works with his brother in his store, but decides that he wants to have more. He wants to be one of higher position and actually does it. Pretty sweet for any immigrant. He wins the plantation in a poker game and builds it up, creating a vast fortune. He tries to marry, but isn’t completely ingrained in Southern society. They like him but don’t “know his family”, you know how people were. So he goes back to his brother so that he can find someone, and falls for the beautiful Ellen, from a very old, established family. Everyone tells him he’s stupid for thinking that he could ever win her heart, but he does. (Her heart being broken from her cousin does help the situation). O’Hara is pretty cool; political activist sticking it to the man, self-made millionaire, and won the heart of the prom queen equivalent; daddy O’Hara is one amazing guy.

For more on Gone With the Wind, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

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13) Michael Hagarty from “Widow, Weep for Me” Murder She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher goes undercover at a Caribbean resort to discover who murdered her friend. When she gets there she finds sand, sun, and plenty of suspects.

Why Michael is Awesome:

Michael is an ex-MI5 agent and has a colorful past. He is debonair, great in a crisis, handsome, and has an amazing accent. 🙂 He is a great character that helps Jessica catch the real killer. He’s the type of guy you’d always want on your side (crack shot, safe cracker, etc) and to date. It’s the accent and lethal skills. 😉

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12) Lily the maid from The Dead

The Dead is by James Joyce and about an Irish family and friends celebrating Epiphany. Three spinsters, Aunt Julia, Aunt Kate, and Mary Jane are hosting the party. Gabriel, the nephew and one of the main character, rejects his Irishness and clashes with others at the party.

Why Lily is Awesome:

We only get a small glimpse of Lily in the book and film, but what we see of her is awesome. Lily is a modern woman, not one to be subservient in spirit. The aunts are starting to dislike her as she is no longer as malleable as she was, but more opinionated. Besides, I love her snarky remark when Gabriel suggests that she will be marrying soon; “the men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you.” Gabriel is shocked at her for saying such things, but Lily just tells it like it is.

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11) Connor McGuire from A Passion Most Pure

Connor McGuire is a total bad boy. After his father died, Connor turned away from the life he was living only focusing on himself and pleasure. He goes after Charity O’ Connor, but finds himself falling for her older sister Faith, even though he doesn’t agree with her faith. Connor finds his life being changed by the O’Connor clan, Faith and WWI.

Why Connor is awesome:

While originally Connor was a class A jerk, (on par with Glenn from The Wedding Singer) later on he changes his life and becomes an extremely endearing man. Faith and his war buddy Brady’s faith really infect Connor and makes him reevaluate his life. He becomes a better person, adding to his attractiveness. When he reenters Faith’s life, instead of trying to freak her out or hurt her, like before, he only cares about making her happy. He knows that she is getting married, and keeps his distance from her, only caring for her happiness. Of course, in the end, the two get together as they are perfect for each other.

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Shawn Spencer

10)Shawn Spencer from Psych

Shawn Spencer has been trained by his dad to cultivate his photographic memory to become super observant, analytical, etc; all in his efforts to create the perfect cop. However, Shawn  resists his father and rebels against him. Eventually to escape being imprisoned for knowing too much about recent crimes and figuring out who the perpetrator’s are, he lies to the Santa Barbara Police Department, saying he is a psychic. He then finds himself working alongside the cops; particularly head detective, Carlton Lassitar, and his partner Juliet O’Hara.

Why Shawn is awesome:

Shawn can be a jerk, childish, selfish, and a bit whiney at times; but all in all he is one pretty cool guy. He may be a goofball, but he is also highly intelligent, passing the detective test 100% at age 15, often feeling that things are too easy for him. He has great taste in films and music, making all these references that I absolutely adore. While he often uses Gus; his money, car, etc; he cares for his friend and would do anything for him. He cares for all his friends helping Lassiter when he was in a crime-solving slump and thought to have committed murder, Chief Vick from being fired, etc.  As the series progresses, Shawn matures; refraining from his previous extreme narcissistic tendencies. He and Juliet start dating in the last few seasons, this relationship really changing his childish ways, but not too much, as Juliet’s level-head and stable life works really well with Shawn.

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9) Billy Costigan from The Departed

The Departed is a great film that gives a dual view of one main event. Colin Sullivan has been raised by mobster Frank Costello, and is a mole for him in the Massachusetts State Police’s organized crime unit. Billy Costigan comes from a criminal background, but instead of graduating from the academy and going into law enforcement he gets placed undercover to figure out who is the rat is and bring him down. The two start living similar lives as they both start a relationship with the same psychiatrist and both become heavily stressed as they get closer to finding out who the rats are.

Why Billy is awesome:

Billy sacrifices himself as a mole for the department. That’s a huge risk to take, working for the underlords, having to play a role 24/7, no one ever knowing who you are or the good you are doing, etc. Plus he really kicks butt when he takes out guys as his cover. I mean imagine the pressure he is under and how awful it would be. And he is so patriotic, how he gave his life over because he believed it was better to do it this way. Plus he tries to kill Matt Damon, and anyone who does that is AWESOME! I hate Matt Damon, go to number 3 to read why.

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8) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, is the story of a Southern family that goes through some radical changes from the Antebelluem period, to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of the beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

Why Scarlett is awesome:

Okay so I know, I know people really hate her. She is horrible and does some horrifying things in the film, but the book is much, much, much, much, better. Trust me the book was awesome I recommend reading it. (Just FYI there will be posts on some of my favorite quotes from this book. I don’t know when, but they will be a-coming.)

So Scarlett has a bunch of bad qualities, yes its true. She is selfish, a man stealer, a horrible mother, cruel, and stuck in the past. She does ruin her relationship with Rhett because she is so hung up on stupid Ashley. I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who just ended a relationship, as it shows you why you must move on!

However, she is a pretty cool character with a lot of good qualities. Okay so Scarlett is a Southern women in the Antebellum period and has very little schooling. In fact she has very little worth or path in life other than to marry and have children. But Scarlett doesn’t follow that path. She lives her own life and does her own thing, not because she wants to, but because there is no one else to; so takes it upon her self to get things done. She works the land, runs the plantation, pretty much becomes the head of the household. It’s all on her to make sure everyone has food. Then a Union deserter comes around and she takes him out. She uses the gun that Rhett gave her and makes sure that her family and womanhood is safe. She does steal her sister’s passive and simple beau, but whips him into shape, making him and her family sucessful. She also operates a lumber mill, while not being the most highly educated, still having a brain for numbers. Now everyone tells  her she isn’t being a lady, running businesses and doing better than her husband. Everyone tries to convince her to stop, but she keeps on doing it. Power to you!!! Here is a woman who is doing whatever she wants, what makes her feel strong; even it it means going against society. She continues to be this strong, forceful woman throughout the rest of the novel; even though she does make a lot of bad decisions. Still, for a woman in the 1800s to have her own business, earn her own money, choose who she will marry (several times), is pretty awesome!

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Seamus McFly

7) Seamus McFly from Back to the Future: Part III

So 1985 Doc has been sent back to the Wild West, and its up to 1955 Doc to send Marty back so that he can save him. While there, Marty meets his newly immigrated family and discovers that Doc doesn’t want to return to the ’80s but enjoys living in the West. However, after discovering that Mad Dog Tannen (Biff’s grandfather) is out to kill him Doc agrees to return with Marty, that is until a pretty young teacher catches his eye. Then Mad Dog decides that he will switch his vendetta to Marty. Now both are in a dilemma.

 Why Seamus is awesome:

So this is the second year in which a Back to the Future character and a Michael J. Fox character has made it onto the Saint Patrick’s Day countdown. Let’s given them a big round of applause! Now back to business.

First of all he is played by Michael J. Fox. Instant Win. Anyways, Seamus is Marty’s great-great grandfather, newly Irish immigrants. He discovers Marty, after  he was chased by Native Americans and fell. Even though he doesn’t know him, and his wife says that he should’ve left him, Seamus helps him because he believes it is the right thing to do. Seamus is awesome, because even though he is bullied and harrassed by the Tannen’s he ignores it. Now that takes a lot of self-control and patience and fortitude to just ignore it and keep going. To be able to walk away from a fight because you know the issue is not that big a deal, that’d you’d rather not die over a silly argument. He became this way after his brother Martin, Marty’s namesake, was provoked and killed in a knife fight. His wisdom and positivity teaches Msarty to control himself as well, and helps make his future better.

For more on Back to the Future, go to The Clock is Ticking

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6) Maggie McKendrick from The Parent Trap (1961)

Sharon is traveling to camp from California. She meets Susan from Boston. This wouldn’t be unusual except for the fact that they look exactly alike. That’s right, Sharon and Susan are twins, separated after their parents divorced, each getting one to take home with them. The two become friends and decide to switch places in order to get to know the other parent and reunite their parents. Unfortunately, a lot has changed while Sharon was away. Her father met someone and is engaged! Now the girls are trying to reformulate their plan to break up her dad and his fiancé, and get the mom to CA and back with the dad.

Why Maggie is awesome:

So if you haven’t guessed this is the original, and while I like the remake, this one is just so amazing. First of all it has Maureen O’Hara. I just love her!

Anyways, Maggie is super cool. When Sharon (pretending to be Susan) comes home with pieced ears and short hair, she doesn’t freak out, or get angry, but instead praises her daughter and supports her decisions. Not only does she approve, but tells her she looks wonderful.  When she discovers that her ex-husband, and love, is going to throw his life away on a vapid, horrible, cruel gold-digger; she goes out there and fights for her daughters and her  man. And instead of being mean or bitter; she just acts her beautiful nice self; winning everyone over. The fam is going to go on a camping trip and Vicky gets jealous about Mitch and Maggie spending time together, Maggie steps aside; not only because she knows Vicky will reveal her true colors, but because she is the bigger person. She’s just a sweet, considerate, kind, and a bit edgy person; someone you can’t help but love.

For more on Maureen O”Hara, check out the 25 Films of Christmas

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5)Faith O’Connor from A Passion Most Pure (Different Synopsis from the one before)

Faith O’Connor has only ever loved one man, Connor McGuire, who after his father’s death drastically changed and is no longer the man he once was. Faith finds comfort in her faith, and keeps praying and loving him silently. Faith and her sister Charity have always been rivals and now Connor is courting her sister while at the same time making a play for Faith. This story spans from Boston to Europe as the beginning of WWI changes everything.

Why Faith is awesome:

Faith is amazing. She recovered from polio and her twin sister’s death. She has to contend with her younger sister being prettier and attracting all the beaus, with little Faithy always bullied and left in the dust. But even through all this she continues to pray and show her love for others. She is never mean, bitter, harsh, or cruel to anyone; even to her sister, who steals both of the men she loves; Conner and her fiancé, Mitch. Instead Faith just tries to be kind and care for everyone.

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4) Juliet “Jules” O’Hara from Psych

Psych is about a super observant man, Shawn Spencer, who pretends to be a psychic for the Santa Barbara Police Department. His pharmacist friend, Burton Guster, assists him and the two work with head detective Carlton Lassiter and his partner Juliet O’Hara.

Why Jules is awesome:

You might recognize her from the DCOM Model Behavior (one of two people on this list who have been in DCOMs). Jules is the young police officer who moves from Miami to Santa Barbara when Carlton Lassitar’s old partner is transferred. Jules may be a very pretty, bubbly, sweet, rainbow-sunshine kind of girl; but she is not just bubbles and fizz, but is a very deep and intelligent person. She has scored the highest on the detective test (second to photographic memory Shawn), beating Carlton Lassitar. She also is fluent in Spanish, due to her time in Miami. While she is gentle and sweet, she can be gruff and unmoving when she needs to be; holding her own and not allowing anyone to walk over her. She and Shawn Spencer end up getting together and her stability and his goofiness work well together.

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Staff Sergeant Dignam The Departed

3) Staff Sergeant Dignam from The Departed

Mark Wahlberg is the second person on this list to make a return from last year, read it to see my thoughts on The Fighter.

The Departed is a great film that gives a dual view of one main event. Colin Sullivan has been raised by mobster Frank Costello, and is a mole for him in the Massachusetts State Police’s  organized crime unit. Billy Costigan comes from a criminal background, but instead of graduating from the academy and going into law enforcement, he gets placed undercover to figure out who is the rat is and bring him down. The two start living similar lives as they both start a relationship with the same psychiatrist and both become heavily stressed as they get closer to finding out who the rats are.

Why Staff Sgt. Dignam is awesome:

Like I mentioned in A Horse’s Tale, I can tolerate very few Matt Damon films. However, I absolutely love Mark Wahlberg, he’s just so attractive! Anyways, Mark Dignam is the one in charge of the undercover unit, and one of two who knows that Billy is the department’s rat. He is a great cop who really cares about ending the crime in the area, and about the people in his unit. When Colin starts messing with his investigation and wants names, instead of giving in Dignam just takes a leave of absence, disappearing rather than reveal who his person is. However, the best thing about Dignam, besides the fact that he is Mark Wahlberg, he takes out Matt Damon! 😀

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2)Kevin “Corky” Corcoran from Copper

Copper is about the NYPD in the mid 19th century. New York is a crazy place with the Civil War  going on bringing tension between Southerners and Northerners; the racial clashes between “Americans”, “White” Europeans, Irish, and African-Americans. Corky is one of the “coppers” trying to keep the notorious Five Points in line with its murders, thievery, prostitution, opium trade, etc.

Why Corky is awesome:

Now Corky isn’t perfect, but he is one pretty awesome (and Hot!) guy. Corky, while having faults and vices, is one pretty honorable person who tries to be just and fair, caring for all in his community. He tries to save a child prostitute from her slavery; love and be true to his wife, even when she cheated on him and killed their child; one of the few men who is not a racist, not only respecting Dr. Freeman, but becoming really good friends with him. He makes sure prostitutes are not mistreated, people are not unjustly thrown in prison, women are not accosted by their landlords, and those that break the law, hurt others, molest/rape children get what’s coming to them. That’s another thing that makes Corky so amazing (and sexy!) is that he not only a honorable man, but one of action who goes out and takes care of things.

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1) Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter from Psych

Psych is about a super observant man, Shawn Spencer, who pretends to be a psychic for the Santa Barbara Police Department. His pharmacist friend, Burton Guster, assists him and the two work with head detective Carlton Lassiter and his partner Juliet O’Hara.

Why Lassie is awesome:

Now I have a huge TV crush on Carlton Lassiter, its a little hard not to. He is pretty awesome (although tightly wound). Now some of you may recognize him as the evil leprechaun from the DCOM Luck of the Irish, for more on that check out last year’s post. However, as Lassie, Carlton is far from evil. Carlton is a strictly by the book kind of guy; SB law, the Constitution, NRA, etc. He is a great cop, a bit old fashioned, but stubborn, persistent, etc. While he can be pigheaded, truth be told it would be hard dealing with Shawn all the time. He is a huge Clint Eastwood fan, wishing he could be Dirty Harry or Tom Highway. He also loves Westerns and wants to be a modern day cowboy. He is a huge Civil War history buff and takes part in reenactments. He knows how to shot like every type of gun and has built up a immunity to chloroform. However, the best thing about him is how strongly he throws himself into relationships. He does everything he can to try and work things out with his ex-wife (really not wanting to get a divorce). True he did cheat on her with his old partner, but they had been separated for quite some time and she was porking around with someone else. (Doesn’t make it right but it is understandable). However, the best thing was when his gf was arrested and imprisoned (she stole blood from a blood bank for her sick brother), he went and visited her every time he was allowed to. Nothing kept him from being there or true to her. He also did everything he could to free her from the jail. So sweet! 🙂

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So Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I know I’ll be wearing green, just so no stupid  kids try and pinch me. And watching this movie like I do every year.

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But I hope you all have a wonderful day in however you celebrate it.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

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Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

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So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

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But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

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So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

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Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

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Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

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If only it was the picture who was to grow old, and I remain young. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give for that. Yes, I would give even my soul for it.

So my roommate has been reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and I decided that it was the perfect time to include a post on this film version of the book.

So The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite classics novels, and this movie did a pretty good job of keeping things pretty similar only making a few changes.

So Dorian Gray is a handsome, wealthy, young man living in 19th century England.  While he is an intelligent and educated young man he is very naive and easily manipulated. He is also a people pleaser, and easily changes his opinions and views to suit what others think.

He is having his portrait done by the accomplished artist Basil Hallward. One day, Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton stops by right before a painting appointment. Basil tries to get rid of his friend as he knows that Lord Henry’s cynicism will destry Dorian. In fact Basil has been trying to keep them apart for a long time now. However, it doesn’t work as Dorian shows up for his appointment while Lord Henry is still there.

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Dorian is quickly taken with Lord Henry’s “wisdom” and “philosophy”.  Lord Henry tells Dorian that the only life worth living is one dedicated entirely to pleasure. Lord Henry convinces Dorian that youth and beauty will bring him everything he desires, and that once its over his life is too.

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Dorian becomes depressed at this and nothing Basil says will help him. While Dorian is being painted he wishes that his portrait could age instead of him. He makes this statement in the presence of a certain Egyptian statue, which supposedly has the power to grant wishes. (In the book, there is no mention of an Egyptian statue, in fact in the book they never explain how he stays young forever.)

Dorian’s wish is granted and his soul is transferred to the painting. Now the painting ages instead of him.

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Now that Dorian is only after beauty and pleasure he goes and visits a tavern and falls in love with Sybil Vane, a singer/entertainer. (In the book she was an actress who performed wonderfully and Dorian fell in love with her acting). Dorian hasn’t told Sybil what his name is yet, she refers to him as Sir Tristan her knight. Sybil is played by Angela Lansbery. Donna Reed really wanted this part, but was given Gladys instead.

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Unfortunately, when Lord Henry finds out he is none too pleased. He gives Sybil a “virtue test” which she fails. (In the book Sybil couldn’t pretend to suffer or be in love with her fellow actors as all her love and emotion for Dorian eclipsed them).

The next morning, Lord Henry informs Dorian that Sibyl killed herself. Dorian is freaked out and feels guilty but copies his mentor Lord Henry and acts indifferent. He goes to the opera right after and lives it up. That night, Dorian sees a change in the portrait.  It now has a cruel look to him and Dorian hides it away, afraid that others will see it.  He continues his sinful and heartless life.

Time passes by and Dorian is now entering into his 40th birthday. He still looks as young and beautiful as ever. The painting has now become atrocious and is locked away from everyone. Dorian has even gotten rid of his old servants who might see it.
Ivan Le Lorraine Albright's famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray - which took approximately one year to complete - is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright’s famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray – which took approximately one year to complete – is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

I can’t reveal the rest of the film as if you haven’t read the book it will give away the ending. You should definitely read the book and check out this film.
One thing that is extremely different about this film is that they add an additional relationship. In the movie Basil has a niece, Gladys (played by Donna Reed), that has always had a crush on Dorian and now that he remains young and she has gotten older they are able to connect.
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What else is really interesting is that the movie is black and white except for four times when Dorian Gray’s picture is shown in color.
Sorry to end so abruptly but I’m telling ya that you need to check the ending out for yourself. I would hate myself for ruining it for anyone out there.
Here’s a cover page I made for my facebook this year for my countdown to Halloween.
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For more on Oscar Wilde, go to The Two Times to be Over

Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Feast your eyes! Glut your soul on my accursed ugliness

I love this movie so much that words fail to express how I feel. This movie was the one that not only was my gateway into horror films, but also caused a life-long love affair with classic cinema.

It all started one day at the library. I was about six years old and complaining to my mother that I couldn’t find any books to read. Nothing just felt right. You know what I mean, when a book synopsis just connects to you, and you know you need to take it home to read?

So my mother eager to get home, pulls a book off the shelf and suggests that I read it. Instead of paying attention to whatever novel she had in her hand, I saw the one behind it. It was The Phantom of the Opera; a slender, abriged, children’s version.

It became my new favorite book and I would check it out all the time, completely annoying my mother.

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Later on I read the original, whole  version; which I also love. It is written so well, if you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it.

I just connected with this poor man. He was bullied and betrayed because he was disfigured. No one paid attention to his genius in building and composing. He was living a life alone in isolation. I wanted to go underground with him.

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I would have gone off with him and loved him unlike Christine Daaé, she’s a total jerk and loser.

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Anyways, not long after I was flipping the channels and stopped on TCM. I love TCM (Turner Classic Movies) with a passion. I wish I could watch it 24/7 as they show the most amazing films ever.

Anyways, so that day they were doing a biography on Lon Chaney, and mentioned that he played the Phantom. I was now sucked in and had to watch. The film was the biopic Man of a Thousand FacesLon Chaney quickly became my favorite actor as I just fell in love with what a genius he was. He used to wait outside the movie studio, using his make-up to change his apperance to better fit roles. His most famous one being of course, the Phantom.

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Afterwards, they held a marathon of his films, but I stopped watching as they didn’t show the one I wanted to see. I now had to watch the 1925 film! I did more research and found out that it is one of the first films to use color, only being able to for the Masque of Red Death scene. It was supposesed to be one of the most dramatic scenes in the film.

I now absolutely HAD to see that film. I went and rented it, hoping that it would be as good as it sounded. It was better than that! The film was not only horrtastic, but simply, and honestly amazing! It also stayed very close to the book, making only a few changes, and doing a much better job than some other versions (the 1943 one, so bad 😦 ).

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Now I know that silent film isn’t for everyone, but I suggest that you check it out.

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So we start off the film with someone lurking in the catacombs of the opera house. We don’t know who he is or what he is after. Then we switch to the opera house, and the creme de la creme of the elite milling about. Everyone is settling down as the show is about to start.

We see the ballerinas on stage dancing away.

Reminds me of Degas

Meanwhile in an office upstairs, the opera house is being turned over to new owners. Owners who know nothing of what lurks in the belly of the building.

For there lies the Phantom and a friend. A Persian man that had traveled with him since the Phantom has been abroad, but no one knows more than that.

So the new opera owners have gained a lot of problems with their purchase. Besides having to pay the phantom money, give him box 5, and a few other amenities; he is also demanding that they replace Carlotta with Christine, the girl he has been coaching. Needless to say, this is very upsetting for Carlotta.

I refuse to be treated in such a manner

In fact the Phantom has threatened Carlotta if she does not stay away. Carlotta is most unhappy; and leaves declaring she will not sing that night.

Instead Christine Daaé sings beautifully. She is also noticed by the stupid Vicomte de Chagny. I really dislike Raoul, Team Phantom all the way!

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In the book Raoul struck me as a real annoying guy. Like one who is always trying to do different things; but only does them halfheartedly, always expecting someone to bail them out of a jam. Then again I could be biased.

Anyways Stupid Raoul notices Christine and tries to get with her. But she is not as receptive, in fact telling him kindly to get lost as she has her career to think about.

Stupid Raoul goes to leave, but actually, is secretly waiting outside her door to spy on her.

Now for anyone out there; if you tell a person you want a relationship to end and they don’t listen and spy on you, you need to call the police and get rid of them. I can’t believe him. Raoul just went from stupid to stalker. I mean who listens outside their ex’s door like that? Who does that?

How rude

So Carlotta decides to sing anyway, even though she has been warned that bad things will happen. The Phantom makes sure that she will never want to sing again.

“Erik: Behold! She is singing to bring down the chandelier!”

So Christine goes to her room and Raoul being the creep he is  follows her. Erik, the Phantom, calls to her and tells her to go through her mirror; which is really a trapdoor. The Phantom built the Opera House, so built himself a home underneath the Opera House along with tons of secret passage ways and hideouts.

The Phantom takes her to his subterranean home, across a hidden lake.

Christine is amazed and kind of freaked out being there with him. All she can focus on is the fact that he is wearing a mask. Erik starts telling Christine his life story, and the sadness it has brought him. She ends up fainting, and he carries her to his guest room; beautiful and full of things she will love. It has a whole wall of shoes!

The next day everyone is in an uproar as Christine is missing! She wakes up to hearing the organ being played by the Phantom. He has been working on an opera for a long time.

Erik: Since I first saw your face, this music has been singing to me  of you and of –love triumphant!”

While he is romantically sharing his feelings, Christine is determined to rip off his mask.

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Lon Chaney is truly amazing! I mean look at him! He is so awesome looking! So creepy! He is such a genius, devising his own make-up. The Phantom’s makeup was designed to resemble a skull. Lon Chaney attached a strip of fish skin (a thin, translucent material) to his nostrils with spirit gum, pulled it back until he got the tilt he wanted, then attached the other end of the fish skin under his bald cap. For some shots, a wire-and-rubber device was used, and it cut into Chaney’s nose and caused a good deal of bleeding. Cheeks were built up using a combination of cotton and collodion. Ears were glued back and the rest was greasepaint shaded in the proper areas of the face. The sight was said to have caused some patrons at the premiere to faint.

Christine is completely shocked at his apperance. Mary Philbin, the actress who played Christine, reaction to the unmasked Phantom was real – she had no idea what he would look like until that exact moment.

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So the Phantom is upset, but Christine has to stay with him. He is not about to let her go. Now I know that is not appropriate behavior, but I feel so bad for him. She loved him until she saw his face, Now he has nobody. 😦

Then they have the most amazing scene ever! This was one of the first films to have color! They do this huge masquerade scene in color and he comes as the Red Death! It is too fantastic for words. I cannot describe it, you will have to watch it. His entrance, his outfit, etc.

Erik: Beneath your dancing feet are the tombs of tortured men! Thus does The Red Death rebuke your merriment!

Christine escapes from the Phantom and sneaks off with Raoul. They make plans to run away together, but little do they know that the Phantom has overheard everything.

Christine prepares to do her last performance, and as she is doing so, the Phantom comes and spirits her away. His only friend, a Persian courtier who has been with him through everything, goes to Raoul to lead him to Christine.

They go through the secret passage, but end up accidentally in the Phantom’s torture chamber.

The Phantom gives Christine two choices; she can choose to hit this ceramic scorpion,which means that she has chosen to marry the Phantom and be his forever, or the grasshopper which means death to Raoul and the opera house. The grasshopper if pressed will light a fuse of the gunpowder that is packed throughout the opera house and interconnected. Everything will blow! The scorpion is connected to a switch that will pump water into the bottom of the opera house and soak all the gunpowder and keep the opera house from blowing up.

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She chooses the scorpion, but as the water starts to come up and drown Raoul. Christine asks the Phantom to save his life, that she will do anything for him if he does. He pulls Raoul out and then takes off with Christine, as the Parisians are hunting him down.

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

The villagers follow in pursuit. As they are running, Christine throws herself out of the carriage. The Phantom goes to her, but the villagers are too close and he takes off. Raoul goes to Christine, and the Phantom is “killed” by the people.

I’ve never been a fan of that idea, you can’t kill the phantom, he’s unbeatable!

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I love him! Is that sad and pathetic?

That’s the post for today. More to come! 4 days ’till Halloween!

Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara 

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on classic horror films, go to I Want Friend Like Me

For more films based on books, go to Quite a Horror Story

For more films that spanned countless remakes, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more of my favorite quotes, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper