From Page to Screen: Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera

Course Dates: 08/10/22 - 15/10/22
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
They say ‘never judge a book, by its movie’. In this spooky Halloween inspired double bill we will explore two classic Gothic novels Frankenstein (1818, Mary Shelley) which could also be considered one of the first science-fiction novels and The Phantom of the Opera (1910, Gaston Leroux). We will have a look at how these two novels have been translated from page to screen by various filmmakers from the past 100 years or so of filmmaking.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HF030

Sat, day, 08 Oct - 15 Oct '22

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

For many people watching a film adapted from a novel they have read, the experience will become an exercise in comparing the two, and using this as a method to of judging whether the film is a success or not. But is this the best way to judge a film adaptation? Should we not be focusing on what makes a film a film – what elements have been added/extracted in its transition from page to screen? What has the adapter focused on to make it relevant to the time and place in which it was produced? What aesthetic decisions has the director used to convey meaning or to establish their own identity onto the text? What do the actors and other key creatives contributed to the process?

These questions, and many more, will be discussed in this one-day Halloween themed study day looking at a selection of films adapted from the same source novels: Frankenstein (1818, Mary Shelley) and The Phantom of the Opera (1910, Gaston Leroux). Both of these Gothic novels have been adapted or “homaged” over 100 times for the big and small screen, over the past 100+ years, with the first Frankenstein film (a 16 minute silent film) being released the year The Phantom of the Opera was published.

Suggested viewing:

Frankenstein (1910)
Frankenstein (1931)/ The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
Frankenstein (2015)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1943)
The Phantom of the Opera (1962)
The Phantom of Paradise (1974)
The Phantom of the Opera (2204)
Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright (2013).

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

During the day we will look at extracts from a selection of Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera films, discussing the narrative/adaptation decisions, placing them in their social, cultural and historical contexts, and explore how the use of camera angles and movement, lighting, sound, editing, performance, costumes and setting are all used to build atmosphere, and create further layers of meaning.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- identify themes, motifs, structures, and narrative perspectives in Gothic/Horror literature and film
- appreciate basic concepts of the impact historical and production contexts have on a film
- have an enhanced ability to analyse texts through its film form
- gain an understanding of how these two novels have been adapted and have become part of a wider cultural debate.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

An interest in viewing and discussing film is all that is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The format of the course will be two PowerPoint illustrated talks with examples of 6 – 8 films from the past 100 years, and from around the world. There will be opportunities for discussion and questions around each example.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There no other costs. You may benefit from having read the two novels under discussion, both are available free on-line, but the selection of examples will be clearly introduced, taking note of any differences between the original text and the film under discussion.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please check the Film Studies section for further courses under History, Culture and Writing/Film Studies at

Ellen Cheshire

Ellen Cheshire is a freelance film writer and lecturer. She has written books on Ang Lee and Jane Campion for Supernova Books, and Bio-Pics for Wallflower Press, and Audrey Hepburn and The Coen Brothers for Oldcastle Books. She has contributed chapters to books on Charlie Chaplin, James Bond, War Movies, Fantasy Films, Counterculture, Silent Cinema and an A Level Film Text Book.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.