Erique Claudin


Erique Claudin
Played By
Appears in

Erique Claudin is the primary antagonist/anti-hero of Phantom of the Opera (1943 film), loosely based on Erik in Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera. In the original script of the movie, Erique was Christine's father, but that idea was dropped and Erique's interest with Christine remained unexplained. A lot of other things were also different from the original Erik character. Like that Erique wasn't deformed from birth, that he got his face destroyed by acid.

Character history Edit

Erique Claudin has been a violinist for the Paris Opera House for 20 years. He has secretly been paying for up-and-coming Opera soprano Christine DuBois' music lessons. One day, the maestro of the Paris Opera House calls for a meeting with Claudin whom he suspects has been causing the discord in the violin ensemble. Claudin explains that he has gotten pain in the left fingers recently which affect his playing, and is dismissed from the orchestra because of it.

Claudin has almost no money now. Claudin goes to Signor Ferretti, Christine's music teacher, and begs him to continue to instruct Christine despite not getting payed, until Claudin gets a new secure position. Ferretti refuses. Claudin tells him he has written a concerto, and asks him once again to consider teaching Christine free for a while, and get paid for it later. Ferretti once again refuses. Erique is sure that Pleyel and Desjardins will publish it and give him a substantial advance.


Erique is disfigured by acid

Claudin goes to Pleyel & Desjardins to let them have a look at it while he's in the waiting room. An employee of Pleyel who quits for the day comes out and Claudin asks him about his manuscript. The employee claims that he doesn't know anything about it. Claudin sneaks in, intent on getting his script back. He interrupts Pleyel & his secretary etching images. Pleyel orders his secretary to give Claudin his concerto. She can't find it. Claudin gets mad and worried. Pleyel, now tired of Claudin, tells him that an employee probably threw it in the wastebasket where it belongs. Pleyel tells him good night and walk back to his etchings. Claudin hears his music being played on piano. Franz Liszt plays it while talking to an employee. The employee says he has been trying to convice Pleyel for years to publish Claudin's work. Liszt responds that Pleyel will publish this. Unfortunately, Claudin cannot hear their conversation, he hears only the music being played and believes Pleyel is stealing his music, publishing it under his own name. Claudin, in a torrent of rage, chokes Pleyel to death. When Pleyel falls to his demise on the floor, his secretary throws the acid, used for the etchings, on Claudin.

Claudin, with a lot of pain, and now hunted by the police, goes into the sewers and makes his way to the Opera House. He gets a mask to hide his disfigured face. He steals food when he has the opportunity. He also steals the master key, which opens all 2500 doors in the Paris Opera House.


Erique kills Biancarolli

He starts his reign on terror on those who stand in the way of Christine's career and those who stand in the way for his goals. His first victim is Biancarolli. Aware that Christine is Biancarolli's stand-in, he drugs Biancarolli on a show so Christine will do her parts in what remains of the shows. Later, Biancarolli is furious with what has happened. She believes that Anatole did it for Christine. The opera house crew convinces her to forget about it as it could hurt the Paris Opera House, as well as herself. Biancarolli agrees under certain conditions. She demands that if she is to forget that she was drugged tonight, everyone should forget that Christine sang this night, and that Christine be replaced as her stand-in. They reluctantly accepts her decision with dismay from Christine, but Anatole seems even more mad about it than Christine. Erique who has found out about this is really annoyed with Biancarolli now. Later, he shows up in her dressing room demanding she leave Paris and that Christine will sing. When she tries to take off his mask, he kills her and her maid.

Anatole spots the Phantom running away and decides to run after him which leaves him in a dangerous situation which has him losing his track on him. The opera is closed, but the owners find a note from the Phantom demanding Christine replace Biancarolli. They are willing to do so, not caring about the Phantom being in the building as long as he harms no one. Anatole is eager for Christine to sing too, but Raoul insists she cannot sing, because it is his duty to apprehend the murderer. He insists someone else must sing in order to lure the Phantom from his hiding place.


Erique brings down the chandelier

However Christine does show up when the Opera reopens because she she couldn't stay away. Erique decides to release another torrent of terror on the people and brings down the large chandelier on the audience and cause panic and chaos to spread, but not before killing one of Raoul's men and stealing his cape.

Erique & Christine in his lair

As the audience and the crew flee, Erique lures Christine that he is from the police and is delegating Raoul and takes her down to his lair, pursued by Anatole, Raoul and the other police officers. Christine realizes he's not from the police and wants to get away. Erique says that they will have it wonderful down here. Christine will sing for him, and he will play. He also says that the people of the Opera House has corrupted her against him, that's why she's afraid. Liszt plays Claudin's concerto and Erique who hears it plays along. The (meme school) first song is "Lullaby of the Bells" and Christine who heard it in Provence and made her rendition of it can't understand how this Phantom could play it and claim it to be his. He urges her to sing and she does. But after a while when she stands beside him she tore off his mask.

Erique shortly before the end

She backs away in terror of the sight of Erique's deformed face. Raoul and Anatole walks in too and Raoul accidentally fires a shot. While Christine, Raoul and Anatole makes their way out, Erique is presumably buried under a pile of rocks. Christine, after hearing from Anatole that Erique came from Provence as she did, which is why he knew the same song, she admits she was somehow drawn to him with a kind of "pity" and "understanding".

Anatole assures her that while Erique's suffering and madness would eventually be forgotten, his legacy would instead remain in his concerto. She grieves for his death, happy he heard it before he died.


Erique's mask and violin

In the end however, the mask and the violin is placed in front of the rocks and some of the rocks are heard moving. Some believe this could indicate that Erique had in fact survived.

Other versions Edit

The original script had Claudin being Christine's father, who left her when she was born in pursuit of his career, and his obsession with her career as a means to make up for what he did. Even scenes were filmed but were then cut because the plotline seemed too incestuous. Some romantic interest seemed to be implied from Claudin which is partially why the producers changed their mind. So in the final version, Claudin's affection for Christine is not fully explained. His feelings for her seem both romantic and paternal, as he calls her "my child".

The radio versionEdit

When the movie was adapted for radio Basil Rathbone voiced Erique instead of Rains, but the rest of the cast returned.