Monday 16 July 2012

Harry Alan Towers Month:: Harry's Versions

It is now Harry Alan Towers Month to commemorate the 3rd Anniversary of his death on 31st July. So, we are going to celebrate him by theorising his love of classic novels, and what would happen if he made today's bestseller adaptations.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Phantom of the Opera
Erique, a gifted opera singer and composer goes insane when a rival, Gaston Leroux steals his idea for an opera based on the story of Jekyll and Hyde, ‘The Mysterious Case of the Man and the Internal Beast’, which is a major success in Paris, and is preparing to be taken to London. He storms into Gaston’s chateau, and steals Gaston’s script, only to find chateau in flames, tricked by Gaston. Erique kills Gaston and escapes, to return to his love, Christine, but Erique is unaware that his face has been melted and has repulsed Christine into leaving him, so he is left to wander the streets for eternity, running an Edgar Allan Poe-themed grand guignol show until one day tormented by Gaston’s ghost, a raven on the ghost’s shoulder, he sinks into insanity, and finds himself tormented into reclaiming Christine. He discovers she has been reincarnated into the daughter of a theatre producer who is setting out to restage The Mysterious Case of the Man and the Internal Beast. Erique travels to London to find Christine, on holiday from New York. She hopes to perform the role of Christine, written for her previous self. Erique is love-starved and hops off Tower Bridge onto a double-decker bus to see her face, but repulses the bus driver, causing the bus to crash into the Thames. Christine, the one survivor finds herself in a London hospital, sung to by a hospital-masked Erique, disguised as a surgeon, but she knows that he has lost his singing voice. He claims only love can return it, while he cuts up various doctors and male patients in order to find a suitable male face. Gaston reappears, giving Erique the Masque of the Red Death from Poe legend to hide his deformed features. But Gaston is also tricksy, as he knows if he does not carry out his heart's desire of becoming flesh again, he will perish. He decides to possess Erique, but is grossed out by the fact his great-grandson, Raoul, a half-Latino French dance student at Julliard is dating Christine.
Erique traps Gaston in a bottle that is put in the freezing River Thames. He soon attacks a London opera house, downing the chandelier on an entire audience, resulting in splatter, but Christine is not there. He soon becomes known as the Phantom of the Opera. Raoul tells Christine that her father has planned to relocate the show to the Sydney Opera House. On the plane, Christine meets Erique, who confesses his passion and why he loves her, as he sits on the wing of a plane, staring through an open window. She thinks about it,  but ultimately cannot decide. At the Sydney Opera House, Erique slides down the roof and gives Christine some flowers.. Raoul is not happy, and tries to attack, but Erique flies out on some mechanical wings, taking down soldiers who are machine-gunning him. Christine tells her father that she can’t do the performance at Carnegie Hall, and he brings in the fat, faded Carlotta, but Christine decides maybe that Erique does love her, so she throws herself in at the last minute, whereupon Erique comes in, kills Carlotta and Raoul and grabs Christine, as he flies down. She realises that although Erique loves her, his love for her has driven him into insanity, and when they reach London to collect the bottle of Gaston, at a London dock,  where he dies, revealing his love tattoo. Christine opens the bottle and Gaston turns out to be Gaston Leroux, who goes back somehow to 1909, Paris, where he tells his new love, Christine about the Phantom and what happened to him. She says he should write a book.

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