The Phantom versus The Beast

        Take one brooding semi-bad guy with slightly homicidal tendencies, add a "magical" lair and one beautiful, virtuous woman and what do you get? Joel Schumacher's The Phantom of the Opera (2004), based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Jean Cocteau's 1946 movie La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast).

        Granted, these two movies have some major differences, but many of their key plotlines are similar. For example, both the Phantom (Gerard Butler) and the Beast (Jean Marais)have issues with, well, physical attractiveness. The Phantom is disfigured and wears an intriguing white mask covering half of his face, while the beast looks like a lion on two legs.

        Both "bad guys" love a beautiful woman who is devoted to her father. Christine (Emmy Rossum), who is the object of the Phantom's affection, is a young, virtuous, opera singer whose father died when she was young. She believes that the Phantom could be the "angel of music" her father has always talked about. Belle (Josette Day) is the young and beautiful daughter of the man (Marcel André), who invades the Beast's castle. Belle is promised to the Beast in exchange for her father's life. Both Christine and Belle see their would-be suitors as men with magical powers. Christine, however, does not fall in love with the Phantom, unlike Belle and the Beast. Christine chooses a life above with Raoul (Patrick Wilson).

        Both the Phantom and the Beast are changed by their affiliations with these women. Both learn to love and learn that they are worthy of love. While the poor Phantom never regains his physical attractiveness, as the Beast does, he remains devoted to Christine. The Phantom and the Beast both give up their slightly homicidal tendencies after being shown kindness by their respective women.

        Though the stories of both movies progress and end differently, both have a similar theme. Kindness can change even the most ugly of creatures.

Works Cited

"Belle et la bÍte, La (1946)." The Internet Movie Database. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038348/).

"Phantom of the Opera (2004)." The Internet Movie Database. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293508/).

Brittiany Adams

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