The Phantom of the Opera
In the movie The Phantom of the Opera, a Joel Schumacher film, the film director used a lot of different camera angles, color, lighting and effects, to show the mood and significance of the moments in each scene of the whole movie for the audience. One scene in particular that I thought the director used a lot of great camera action was the BLANK minute scene of "The Phantom of the Opera" song. It is scene selection number nine, at the beginning of the movie.
It starts out with a close up of Christine taking the Phantoms hand, after he somewhat hypnotized her, in a way, to come with him. Immediately the music starts. This really sets the mood for this scene. The director then shoots a close up of Christine's face. This lets the audience know that she is the important character here and the expression the actress portrays shows that she is unknowingly being pulled slowly away with the Phantom. The camera then shows where they are headed. They are going down this tight hallway. It is glow lit by candles held by moving arms. This sets the mood to be mysterious and spooky. It puts the audience on their toes because they don't know where she is being taken. The director switches the view of the camera then. It's not straight on, it's at a more lowered level and its showing them now, walking through this hallway with the Phantom leading Christine by her hand. The director then quickly zooms in so that we can more clearly see the face expressions on the actors' faces. Christine is still staring at the Phantom with a blank look as the Phantom walks forward and continually glances back to her to make sure she is still following though he's got her hand.
The words in the song now start and the camera is zoomed in to a closer view of Christine. She is looking around at this dark lit hallway that she is being led through. The camera angle is somewhat tilted downward to her. This gives the feeling that this room is towering over her and gives the audience the nervous feeling she must feel; helpless. The camera switches over to a close up of the phantom. The camera is more of a straight forward angle rather than tilted downward. This is because the director probably wants to make sure the audience gets the feeling that he is the leader. These four camera views, close up of them walking from the front, close up of Christine's face, and close up of the Phantoms face, and lastly the director shows a close up of their hands connected once again. The other close up's repeat often other than the hand close up. The director probably decided to show a close up of their hands again because he wants to remind the audience that they aren't just nicely going for a stroll in this passageway, but that the Phantom is pulling her with him and she is shyly following unaware of the place she is going. This really sets more with the mood.
The surroundings change and Christine and the Phantom have exited the hallway into a flight of wide stairs leading down. It is very dark and the Phantom is using a fire lit torch to guide Christine where he is taking her. The camera is in a place as if it is hiding on the other side of the stone ledge. We see them come around the corner at an angle that is looking at the tilted a little sideways instead of perfectly straight. Then the camera switches to a closer view of their faces. He is sternly leading Christine, still by hand, down the stairs, while Christine, looking more awake and less scared, is singing the song and looking at the Phantom. As they reach the bottom of the stairs the camera is already there waiting for them. We see a far away view of them both coming around the corner walking toward the camera, still in this very dark un pleasant looking stone passage. The director switches the camera so that we can see what is in front of them so that the audience isn't in such a state of suspense. We see a horse waiting for them. The camera is back on them, but closer, as the Phantom is now singing. Christine has a slightly wearier look. As they are walking, the camera remained still in the spot and didn't move with them. For the director to do this with the camera it gives a stronger feeling for the mood and what she must be feeling. A shadow is kind of placed over her face as she goes off the screen. She looks a little worried at this point because as her face is walking off the screen to where we can't see them anymore she looks back behind her.
The director now placed the camera at the end of another passageway. We see it darkly lit with a few candles on the walls. They come around the corner. She is on the horse and the Phantom is taking them down the passageway. This gives the audience a feel that, either he wants her to like him and he is being kind so she doesn't have to walk or he has a plan that she is on the horse for the reason that he doesn't want her to have any sort of chance of running away. The camera is zoomed in at this point and is turning with them as they reach a water stream inside the building where a little boat awaits them.
This part of the scene showed him helping her off the horse then the camera switched and jumped ahead to watching them already in the boat rowing away. The Phantom is standing using a stick to push the boat where he wants it to go. Christine is sitting in the front with frightened face looking around. There is more lighting being used here at the part of the scene but is still gives the audience the mood the director wants. The director changes the camera over to a straight on view of them floating toward the camera and the camera slowly lowers to Christine's level of where she is sitting in the boat. The director then, instead of just keeping the camera on the characters, he turns in and fades over several of the walls and stone architect that they are passing. Christine is looking around so now doing this with the camera the audience is getting the feel of what she is seeing as if we were floating in the boat as well. The camera goes back to a closer view of Christine, who makes us focus on how she is feeling. Then the camera is across the way as we see more of this chamber area that they were journeying through. We see them come around the corner through that passage way from a farther distance. To bring more to the mood there is fog above the water and the room is still very darkly lit. To give a pulse to the mood, we are reminded of the Phantom. The camera then shoots very close to just the Phantoms face as he is still pushing the boat along. This lets us know that he is in charge and be careful because you don't know what he is going to do next or where they are going. Then the camera is brought down to the waters level and we only see a shady view of what's ahead of them as we see parts of the boat slowly move in front of the camera.
At this last part of this selected scene, the camera is still focused on what is in front of them and we see a gate door open up. The director again moves that camera so that we see them from a farther view coming toward us. The camera here jumps around a lot going back and forth showing them, and then showing what is happening in front of them. In front of them the gate door is moving up and curtains are moving aside. Also big chandeliers and candles are coming out of the water and we see a room very lit up. When the camera shoots back at them the director places the camera at different angles so that we see them and how they are viewing this place. We see closer views of Christine with wide open eyes to what she is seeing and the also then the Phantom as he has the control right now. When the camera was showing us what was in front of them it moved as if it was with the boat. This really gives the audience the feel as if they were there with Christine in the same predicament. And this is the end of the scene.