Phantom of the Opera is, to my distinct surprise, actually a musical, just as Andrew Lloyd Webber would make it. To be clearer about it, Phantom is actually one of the last in a craze of opera films that were all the rage in the early 1930s through to the end of the decade when Maurice Chevalier, Nelson Eddy, and Jeanette MacDonald were big box-office draws. (I'm thinking of Victor Schertzinger's movies The Mikado and One Night of Love, as well as the Eddy–MacDonald pictures in which they were always paired, Maytime, Naughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, One Hour with You, Sweethearts, etc.)
|Fake opera Amour et Gloire invented for the film|
Phantom does take murder seriously enough, I suppose, but the whole thing is filmed in bright, bright technicolor, and there is hardly any darkness in the movie. The dark content of this movie all happens before the phantom becomes the phantom and begins terrorizing the Opéra Garnier in Paris. In fact, once the Phantom does start killing people, a minor character (the stage manager) has a running gag where he jokes about the phantom having a long nose and a red beard.
In any case, the whole thing is very strange, and (what's more) did not help me understand what happens in the Webber musical. I was secretly hoping that those characters' motivations would somehow become clear to me after watching this Arthur Lubin movie, but I am afraid I learned nothing.