Sunday, April 7, 2019
Historical Context of the Remakes of The Phantom of the Opera Essay Example for Free
Historical context of the Remakes of The tail of the opera house EssayThe Phantom of the Opera has underg whizz subsequent remakes. This Hollywood pic has underg wiz numerous remakes at different historical results throughout the world. In Hollywood and the United Kingdom, it has spawned more than ten accept and TV variations that differ significantly in selecting the settings for the horror-romance Paris, New York and London in accounting for the wraiths disfiguration, in characterisation the opera house understudy, as well as Christines attitude toward the spook.However, they all follow the male keisterer-t for each oneer and distaff opera- pupil structure so that heterosexual desire manifested in deuce mens competition for a woman delays the prime move of the plot. My focus in this essay is Andrew Lloyd Webbers version of the aforementi aced text.My wildness in this text will be how the tincture including his image and express is be within the film technolo gy available at that time in contradistinction to the way of life in which the phantoms image and voice is represented in different versions of the aforementioned text. My working hypothesis is that since the phantom, by definition, exceeds visual theatrical in the dim and the sound versions, his voice, as a singer and a music teacher, emerges a primary site for theatrical and signification.To explore the representation and the significance of the phantoms voice, I will focus on (1) how the phantom-teacher relates to his assimilator through voice as well as visage, (2) how the teacher-student congenericship differ from film to film from Schumachers film in contradistinction to the some other version of the film, (3) and how to read these races in allegorical terms, or in sexual intercourse to their respective material-historical conditions. The last question leads me to map the teacher-student relationship onto the latent hostility between an real film and its remake(s).In the end this root will demonstrates the air in which each remake strategizes its position vis-a-vis a historical moment and a prior film text hence it follows from this that each remake specifically Schumachers remake should not be subsumed into an echoing tradition in the corridor of the history. I start with the representation of phantoms voice and its interplay with the shadow. The aural-visual dimension is crucial for our understanding of the issue of subaltern film redo, which is ultimately an issue of mogul circulation and distri just nowion.In the film diegeses, the phantom holds power everywhere the student and other people for two reasons (1) he eludes audio-visual representation and (2) he assumes the empowered teacher position. The 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera centered upon the triangular tension between Erik, The Phantom (Lon Chaney) Christine (Mary Philbin), an understudy in the Paris Opera House whom the phantom has trained and luxurious to the diva p osition and Raoul (Norman Kerry), Christines fiance. As indicated above, the phantom, by definition, exceeds direct visual coding.The problematic of representation is get a farseeing compounded by the fact that the film, being silent that being the 1925 version, cannot represent the phantoms voice except through the theatre orchestras performance. This means that the voice and other diegetic sounds the audience hear do not seem to emit from the screen. This representational dilemma is alleviated through the use of shadow an image that signifies the alinement of absence and presence, thus most appropriate for the phantom figure.More specifically, this silent film mobilizes venues of representation to begin with Christine sees the phantom. The scratch line is the shadow, proffered exclusively to the audience who, according to Michel Chion, is deaf and cannot hear the phantoms voice (Chion 7). The other, the phantoms angelic voice, is heard only by Christine and other characters. T he differentiated knowledge distri scarcelyion leads to two modes of spectatorship, one being exclusively visual, and the other exclusively aural. In both cases, the phantom is omnipotent when be a true shadow or a disembodied voice (Chion 19).When lodged in a somatogenetic body, a process the power is lost. This takes place in The Phantom of the Opera when Christines fascination with the acousmatic phantom turns into dread and disgust once the voice is embodied in a visual image i. e. , the skull point in time that she has unmasked. Thus, the phantoms deacousmatization depletes his magic power over Christine. Not only does his horrendous visage get hold of Christine to cover her face which may implicitly mirror a female viewers emblematic response to a horror film.It also forces the phantom himself to cover his face. The implication is that to maintain his power, he has to remain invisible. In the same manner, for a horror film to remain horrific, it must not be seen in unobs tructed view. As Dennis Giles observes, the more the viewer stares, the more the terror will dissipate to the extent that the image of dependable horror will be revealed (unveiled) as more constructed, more artificial, more a fantasy, more a fiction than the fiction which prepares and exhibits it.To look the horror in the face for very long robs it of its power. (48) By back his face, the phantom symbolizes the horror films attempt to block the viewers vision. In other words, the power of the phantom, and by extension, of the horror film, consists in deprivation of visual representation. The problematic of representing a phantom in a silent film thus finds resolution in a paradox, namely, the possibility and effectiveness of representation consists precisely in a lack of direct visual representation.Acousmetre is also crucial for maintaining the teacher student relationship. Once deacousmatized, this relationship comes to an end, which in turn de-legitimizes the phantoms proposal to Christine. After a long sequence of suspense, sound and fury, during which Christine is salvaged from the Opera Houses underground catacomb, while the phantom chased to a dead end, the film initial version of the film closes with a double shot of Christine happily married with her aristocratic fiance. kind of of a beauty and the beast story, in which the beast is transformed into a handsome nobleman by the beautys kiss, the monster in this film remains a monster and the opera actress gets penalize for her scopic and epistemological drive a monstrous transgression she must redeem by betraying the monster returning to humanity defined as white heterosexual normality and succumbing to a domesticating marriage. The containment of the female deviancy is built into the film producers plan to reenforce what they perceive as the audiences wish a movie about the love spirit of Christine Daae (MacQueen 40).The film thus ends with a triumph of a bourgeois fantasy premised on the domestic ation of women, and the desolation of the monster. Joel Schumachers remake of the original Phantom of the Opera, did not come as a surprise, given the stag practice of borrowing and adapting at the time. Schumachers version retains the powerful phantom figure whose self-de-acousmatization again successfully captivates the student, Christine. Nevertheless, it also displays far more intense interactions between the phantom-teacher and the singer-student.Briefly speaking, their relationship goes through four sequential steps ventriloquism, reverse ventriloquism or excessive mimesis, performative reiteration, and finally, the Benjaminian afterlife which delineate Christines gradual trespass of the phantoms power while also contributing to the dialectical image provided by the phantom-teacher and singer-student relationship. The phantom begins with ventriloquizing Christines in the latters reenactment of the formers masterpiece, now titled Romeo and Juliet, replacing hottish Blood i n Song at Midnight.During the performance, Christine falters at a tenor note, but is undetected by the theatre audience, thanks to the phantoms backstage dubbing, visually represented through cuta shipway. The camera first holds on Christines bending over the dead Juliet then closes up on his slightly heart-to-heart mouth and bewilderment, and subsequently following Christines puzzled look, cuts to the cloaked phantom in profile, hidden seat a window curtain in the backstage, emotionally singing out the tenor notes.Cutting from the presence stage to the back stage area also echoes. In the aforementioned scene, it is important to note that the moment of ventriloquism gradually gives way to Christines agency. Indeed, Christines centrality in the film is evidenced in the predomination of the perspective shots that mediate the off-screen audiences knowledge and sensorial experiences. This viewing structure contrasts sharply with The Phantom of the Operas 1925 version.Whereas Christi ne deacousmatizes the phantom, the audience actually sees the disfigured face before she does. Similarly, Christines knowledge regarding the phantom is one step behind that of the audience who hear the phantoms midnight singing and see an enlarged shadow cast on the wall at the opening of the film after the initial portrayal of the opera houses condition after the fire. The contrast between the two aforementioned versions of The Phantom of the Opera suggests two different slipway of constructing history.One is to hide away the past embodied by the phantom that has transformed beyond recognition so as to reproduce its old, familiar image in a present medium, or the student. The other is to acknowledge what the past has become, in order to re-suture it into the present without reducing the present into a mere mirror image of the past. Thus, Christines agency and the Phantoms revival become interdependent. The teacher-student hierarchy, as argued previously, is akin with the hierarch y between the master and the slave.Furthermore, it can also be mapped onto the tension-ridden relationship between a film and its remake(s). These interconnected, parallel relationships allow us to situate the cultural production of a film in a dynamic socio-political field (Gilloch 17). Following Gerard Genettes definition of hypertextuality, which designates that a hypertext both overlays and evokes an anterior text, or hypotext (Genette 5), I argue that a remake occupies the student position, and that its very existence testifies to and evokes its teacher or forerunner. As a form of cinematic doubling, how the student film situates itself vis-a-vis the teacher and its own historical moment determines possibilities of remaking (Smith 56).The major divergences between the two versions of The Phantom of the Opera mentioned above suggest two diametrically oppositeness agendas. Whereas the former prioritizes domesticating and suturing women into white-oriented heterosexuality, the l atter historicizes and politicizes the hetero-erotic relationship between the teacher and student. There are several ways in which one may understand the aforementioned divergence.It is important to note that the text adapted by Schumacher for the construction of his version of the aforementioned film is in itself a divergence from the original. In comparison to Lon Channeys version of the aforementioned film which is an adaptation itself, Schumachers version discarded most of the horror version aspects which have been associated with the film as well as the original text by Leroux. Examples of these are evident if one considers Schumachers choice for the characterisation of the phantom himself as a disfigured individual as opposed to a skull hiding behind a mask.In a way there are several ways in which such a depiction the change of depiction may be soundless. Initially, one may render that such a shift stems as a result of the shift from the operatic version of the film as oppo sed to the Beauty and the Beast theme associated with the film. Second, in line with the initial claim of this paper, one may understand the shift in terms of the phantoms depiction as a means of mirroring the historical conditions of the films production.The process of mirroring the initial work as a means of showing the teacher-student relationship in relation to the silent film version and Schumachers version may be understood as a means of employing the manner in which the student has transcended the master to the extent that such a transcendence enabled the initial freedom from the heterosexual archetypal relationships which enables the ledger entry of the female to the norm that being the norm of female submission towards the male.It may indeed be argued that Schumachers version also enabled such a submission since Christine chose Raoul over the phantom. It is important to note, however, that such a choice may be understood differently in relation to the original silent film adaptation of the aforementioned text. Note for example the depiction as well as the characterization of the phantom in the initial version of the film. As was noted at the onset of the paper, the depiction of the phantom in the initial version silent film version presented a horrible figure i. e. a skull for a face.such(prenominal) a presentation may be understood, in such a way, that the phantom is presented as the depiction of the deviance resulting from the inability to adhere to the norm. Deviance from the norm, in this sense, may be seen and in fact understood as a horrible act itself. Schumachers version with its depiction of the phantom as figure with a face a handsome one in fact despite its minor deformities may be seen as mirroring the manner in which deviance from the norm that of the adherence to the heterosexual and in a sense highly patriarchal relationship is more acceptable within the current context of the films production (McQueen .Schumachers version begins with a reel from the 1919 occurrence at the Opera Populaire wherein the old Raoul is envisioned as acquire knickknacks that serve as the reminder of the occurrences that led to the aforementioned operas demise. What follow this scene is a reconstruction of the Opera Populaire resulting from the flashback of memories to those who where in it during 1819 thereby providing the spectator with the truth behind the masked lives of those who lived within the opera at that time.What is interesting to note in Schumachers version in relation to the reconfiguration or rather redepiction of the phantom is the manner in which one is now given a new manner of understanding the means in which Christine gains her agency. In fact, agency in Schumachers version of the film is depicted as a manner of choice and not as mere adherence to a prescribed norm in comparison to the original adaption of Webbers text.Dramatically, the story hinges on a series of conflicts which continually redefine Christines posi tion in relation to her surroundings as well as to the individuals around her. Webbers version as adapted by Schumacher depicted this process through a series of musical comedy themes, motifs, and textures which portray the development of characters, attitudes, and emotions. Note that the materials in each of the musical themes and motifs are rarely modified except through instances of fragmentation.Although fragmentation occurs, it is interesting to note that when considered together, these musical themes literally play out the drama involved within the play (Snelson 110). In summary, in this paper I argued that the teacher text does not simply crumble when the student text arises in resistance, but rather experiences a revival. This is because the remake cannot fulfil itself without simultaneously evoking not imitating the afterlife crystallized in its textual predecessor (Mignolo 112).A film remake re-presents its hypotext not by turning itself into a submissive double, which si mply reifies the hypotext, but rather by revalorizing the unique historical position of the hypotext, paradoxically achieved by the remakes filter out on its own distinction. In this sense, the various adaptations of Webbers The Phantom of the Opera may be understood in such a way that both versions that stand in a teacher-student relationship present a challenge of the archetypal heterosexual relationships which stand as the pervading theme of the various versions of Webbers The Phantom of the Opera.