Michael Grover-Friedlander. “‘The Phantom of the Opera’: The Lost Voice of Opera in Silent Film”. Cambridge Opera Journal Volume 11.2 (1999): 179-192.
Grover-Friedlander chooses to look at the lack of voice in the 1925 silent film, The Phantom of the Opera. He examines the lack of voice not as part of the medium but as part of the aspect of the genre of horror. Grove-Friedlander spends the article developing the idea that the death of the phantom marks the death of song and music. He observes the juxtaposition of the silent actors with the written dialogue and notes that this silence allows for the horror. The silence crying and singing creates the space for the anxiety of horror with the audience. He gives the example of when one of the character screams. Because of the energy and anticipation of the scream, as well as the anxiety around the situation, the audience can hear the scream of the silent voice. Grover-Friedlander explains that the operatic voice can be separated and transcends, however, the phantom cannot transcend and become the essence of opera until after his death. He shows this with Christine. She must give up her singing in order to be happy and enter marriage. She can never become the essence of Opera because of her relationship with Raoul. Grover-Friedlander explains his argument using psychoanalytical terms, however, he doesn’t fully explain the terms. He briefly touches them and then briefly define them in the terms of the film. Overall, his article focuses on the absence of voice in the silent film and how it creates the true essence of the opera.
Yiman Wang. “Here, Again, Comes the Bride-to-be: Refiguring the Gender and Remaking the Horror” Language and Literature Volume 28 (2003): 43-65
In this article, Yiman Wang examines the gender roles of four film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. He uses the 1925 silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, as well as three Chinese remakes of the silent film, Midnight Song (1937), Song at Midnight (1985), and The Phantom Lover (1995). Wang breaks the argument into three parts: the listening woman on the other side, the woman who sees nothing (nothing), and the return of (different) horror. Wang focuses on each movie and explains the roles of the genders. The 1925 film is the only film where the phantom’s protegia is female. The Chinese films have a male protégée with the love interests as a background role. HE points out the stability of the triangular relationship of Christine/Phantom/Raoul in the 1925 silent film as well as the instability of the Song/Sun/Xiaoxia/Lettie relationship. Wang discusses how much the females have control in all of the adaptations. With each remake, the lover gains more control, eventually having the ability to control her relationship with the phantom. Xiaoxia stabs her eyes so she can be with the phantom. He continues discussing what is the limit that females can see with horror and why the audience becomes desensitized to the horror. Finally, he discusses in depth the political situation around each film and why it was made in that style and at that time. Each movie became more romantic and the horror was simplified, sticking solely to the unveiling of the phantom’s disfiguration. Wang’s argument is clear and strong. His synopsis is very lengthy and it distracts from his points, however, when he hits his points they are strong. His argument shows the gender roles of the lead female in each film, and connects that “offstage” feminine role of the lover to the audience. He connects the camera angles, as well as information given to the female character directly to the audience.