Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (1909–10) may not be great literature, but it is a unique record of the most important social and artistic institution in the ‘capital of the nineteenth century’, Paris. More significant still, since the novel’s publication it has radically transcended that historical-geographical specificity and become the object of constant creative re-interpretation all over the world. Nowhere is this more compellingly illustrated than in the fifty-plus screen adaptations—silent films and talkies, horror films and musicals, cartoons and telenovelas and more—that have been made in places as far apart as Hollywood, Brazil and China between 1916 and today. In this talk, Cormac Newark (Guildhall School of Music & Drama) discusses a global interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, that he has led over the past three years to map the mechanisms and extraordinary extent of cultural transfer represented by the ‘Phantom on Film’ phenomenon. By way of a brief case-study, he will attempt to address the reasons why the Italian adaptations (1964–1998, by directors ranging from Dario Argento to Joe D’Amato) feature so much more sex than all the others.

The talk will be held on Monday, April 1st from 5:00 – 6:15 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library 114.