Pit violinist Claudin hopelessly loves rising operatic soprano Christine Dubois (as do baritone Anatole and police inspector Raoul) and secretly aids her career. But Claudin loses both his touch and his job, murders a rascally music publisher in a fit of madness, and has his face etched with acid. Soon, mysterious crimes plague the Paris Opera House, blamed on a legendary "phantom" whom none can find in the mazes and catacombs. But both of Christine's lovers have plans to ferret him out.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Besides his matinee-idol career singing popular music in clubs and in films and on the radio, Nelson Eddy did some real opera singing. He performed the very challenging role of Gurnemanz, the elderly second-in-command of the Knights of the Holy Grail in Wagner's opera PARSIFAL, with Leopold Stokowski conducting. This role makes fearsome demands on the singer; it is so long and so difficult that many basses never attempt it, and most who do, sing it only late in their careers, when their voices are fully mature.
(Fact-checkers: go to Operadepot-dot-com, search on his name, you'll see a recording of excerpts clipped from a live performance.) See more »
(at around 40mins) There is an prominent cymbal crash in the orchestral score which happens at about a second before the actor actually clashes his pair of cymbals. See more »
[Christine has left Raoul and Anatole in her dressing room while she greets a crowd of admirers]
Would you join me for a bit of supper at the Cafe de l'Opera?
With pleasure, monsieur.
Think we can get through this crowd?
Certainly. After all, who'd pay any attention to a baritone and a detective?
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I saw this film when I was a child when my sister (who happened to be a lifelong fan of Nelson Eddy) took me on the train into Boston to the Keith Orpheum Theater for a morning showing. So I sat beside my big sister while she was in heaven watching Nelson Eddy. I never thought that much of him as an opera singer but the opera they were doing was impressive for me, even at that age and I knew it was not a real opera but one made up by the studio using Tchaikovsky's symphonic music. I liked the acrobats in the opera scene and when Nelson used his whip to capture the leading soprano. I already knew Russian language so I understood the words they were singing and that Nelson pronounced them correctly. Then of course there was the marvelous Claude Rains. Not until years later when I got older did I really appreciate his wonderful acting ability. I also wondered how they could reproduce the Paris Opera house. I knew of course it was a studio set but was it a permanent theater on the lot at Universal or just the inside with dressed up extras as audience? These were the questions from a child's mind and I went home dreaming about it; not so much the story but the technical aspects of it all - like, how could the phantom carry a grand piano all the way down to those caverns far below the opera house. I have seen the film several times since then and I must say it holds up extremely well. Gorgeous Technicolor and atmosphere throughout. I've heard that the theater still exists on the Universal lot and was used in some other films. I wonder if it still is there, or was it burned down in the fire of 2007 that swept through and destroyed so much of the Universal lot. Maybe someone knows.
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