So last time we looked at the Disney characters on a board level, now lets look at them on a deeper level.

Let’s start with the titular character: Quasimodo!

Quasimodo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo’s Reveal

 

Quasimodo may be told he is ugly and monstrous but if we compare him to his book counterpart, he is on the cute side of the monster spectrum. He’s a hunchback and he is shorter than most of the other characters, but that’ not enough to make him an isolated monster.  He has the over-the-eye  protrusion that Hugo described but it does not impair his’ vision to the point of being a cyclopes. Instead Quasimodo has big, friendly doe eyes. He has a red full head of head hair and wears a green tunic. Two of the more uglier factors  are his  big stub nose and his  teeth  (large teeth in the front of his mouth).

 

Quasimodo singing "Out There"  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo singing “Out There”

Unlike Hugo’s version, Quasimodo is not deaf, he sings and talks a lot but it being a musical it would have been a challenge for the directors to have a deaf hero who has to sing (Disney movie from the 90s, heros must sing), so it understandable why Quasimodo is not deaf.

 

 

Quasimodo’s personality in the Disney movie is completely different from the book. In the book Quasimodo is morose and angry. At the beginning of the book he only loves Notre Dame, the bells, and Frollo. He’s not interested  in being among the normal people of Paris nor is he forbidden from going out among them.  Disney’s Quasimodo is forbidden from going outside and all he wants is to spend one day of his life among the normal people.

Quasimodo gazing at Esmeralda  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo gazing at Esmeralda

As the story progresses he falls in love with Esmeralda. In the Book, he falls in love with her after she shows a little kinds and pity by giving him water when he is on the pillory for trying to kidnap her because Frollo ordered him. That simple act was what did it for him, not her dancing or her looks. In Disney again Esmeralda shows him kindness but when he first meets her, she was kind to him and complimented his ugly mask (really his face) and Quasimodo likes the positive attention. He see her dance and he likes it.

Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the pillory  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  image picture

Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the pillory

When Quasimodo is being tortured by the crowd at the  Festival of Fools, she does save him but he was already interested in her, but I guess maybe that sealed his “love for her”.  The Disney Quasimodo’s love is more manifested as a school boy crush than a deep connection and I don’t believe he would crawl into vault and to die next to her rather than live without her.

 

 

Quasimodo's figurines Esmeralda from "Heaven's Light"  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo’s figurines from “Heaven’s Light”

Quasimodo declares Sanctuary for Esmeralda  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo declares Sanctuary for Esmeralda

It’s sweet that he believes that she could love him whereas in the book Quasimodo doesn’t believe it, even if he wishes he could. Quasimodo is mostly depicted as kind and gentle.  He gets depressed but it never lasts too long. He’s also loyal which I think is the biggest similarity to Hugo’s original character.

 

Frollo and Quasimdo   Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Frollo and Quasimodo

Quasimodo is a dynamic character. He changes though the course of the movie, mainly in his attitude towards Frollo. At beginning he is nervous around Frollo even though he believes Frollo to be his defender. His nervousness around Frollo stems from Frollo’s abuse towards him. Frollo calls him ugly repeatedly and a  monster. When Frollo comes to visits him, Frollo gets a silver goblet and plate while Quasimodo get a wooden goblet and plate. Frollo keeps him locked up in bell tower of Notre Dame while Frollo dwells elsewhere, you’d think the Palace of Justice would be a better place to lock one up forever, it being a jail instead a public building. I would like to point out in the book,

Frollo and Quaismodo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Frollo and Quaismodo

Frollo keeping Quasimodo at Notre Dame made sense as Frollo himself lived in the cloister as he was a priest, Quasimodo didn’t move to the Bell Tower till he was 14 years old. He moved there to be the bell-ringer because he loved the bells, not as punishment for his deformity or as method for absolution for Frollo. Quasimodo calls Frollo master but Frollo insists that he raised Quasimodo as his son. Quasimodo would probably be fairly well adjusted if it wasn’t for Frollo.  Quasimodo then disobeys Frollo and goes to the Festival of Fools to fulfill his dream.  He continues to disobey Frollo as he gains real human interacts with Esmeralda and Phoebus.  At the end he stands up against Frollo and learns that people like Frollo are the cause for all the hate in world and once Frollo is dead he is finally accepted by the people.

Quasimodo accepted by the people   Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo accepted by the people

Despite being in the Disney mold of hero/dreamer, Quasimodo is good character, he appeals the outsider in all of us. The film is good achiving  it’s overall theme though Quasimodo despite being thrust upon the audience, but at least he is likable and grows as character.

Next time we’ll look at Frollo.

Judge Claude Frollo  Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

 

Today is Quasimodo Sunday ( Low Sunday… First Sunday after Easter)

So since Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is character driven let’s look at the main characters.

Quasimodo Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Quasimodo

First let’s start with the titular character Quasimodo (Tom Hulce). Quasimodo is depicted as caring, gentle, kind, shy and dreaming of something beyond his sheltered life (classic Disney Princess erm hero). At first all he wants is to spend one day among the people of Paris and sings about it ala Part of that World type song. When someone shows him kindness he answerx with loyalty. He does has a bit of an emo-side. Later in the film he hopes for love but that doesn’t come to fruition but he is happy that Phoebus and Esmeralda have each other and that is enough for him at the end of the film.

 

Judge Claude Frollo Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Judge Claude Frollo

The next important character is Frollo (Tony Jay). Frollo is a hypocritical judge who HATES gypsies, He regards them as the reason why Paris is going to hell in hand-basket. He sees no harm in killing people especially ugly babies if he views in the best interest of “justice”. He also has a pious streak, which he quite proud of.  During the course of the movie he develops an unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda where he uses tons of public funds to barrack her in Notre Dame and when she escapes he set Paris ablaze and then blames it other people because hey he just doing his job (it’s a good thing King Louis IX is not a main character or somebody would have been fired).

 

Esmeralda Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Esmeralda

Djali Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Djali

Esmeralda (Demi Moore), the beautiful Gypsy dancer, who is often referred to as girl but she comes off as older than Quasimodo who is 20. She is kind and has a fierce sense of justice and loyalty. She knows a wide assortment of parlor tricks that she can use in a pinch. She also can read palms though she is is a dancer by trade. Esmeralda is always accompanied by her pet Goat Djali. Djali turn offs include heights, ugly faces and hangings. Turn ons include dancing, money, and eating wood cravings.

 

 

Phoebus and Achilles Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Phoebus and Achilles

Phoebus (Kevin Kline), another attractive character, Phoebus has been called back from the wars by Frollo to protect Paris from the Gypsies; an assignment he takes with major annoyance and a grain of salt. He has a dry wit and is a flirt but he also has a high sense of morality and won’t kill people just because crazy old Frollo says so. He also has a horse named Achilles who enjoys heeling and sitting on people he doesn’t care for.

 

Clopin Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Clopin

Clopin (Paul Kandal) , the leader of the Court of Miracle and the story teller. He is an extrovert who loves to have a good time whether it’s entertaining small children, all of Paris at the festival of fools  or hanging trespassers. Where Clopin is the party is.

 

Hugo Laverne, Victor Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Hugo Laverne, Victor

Gargoyles, the comic relief characters Victor (Charles Kimbrough), Hugo (Jason Alexander) and Laverne (Mary Wickes/Jane Withers). The three only come to life for Quasimodo and once for Djali. They have their distinctive personality, Victor is prim and calm, Hugo is loud and fun loving, and Laverne is old and tells it like it is. There loyal to their pal Quasimodo and to encourage him to follow his heart. But they’re annoying as all hell.

 

Archdeacon Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Archdeacon

Archdeacon (David Ogden Stiers), the kind, caring, gentle, wise Archdeacon of Notre Dame. As Archdeacon he has some authority over Frollo and Frollo while not happy is at least compliant. He the one who guilts or rather scares into taking care of Quasimodo.

 

Next Time more on the more characters of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Quasimodo’s Reveal Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

The plot of the Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is a water-down and condense version of Hugo’s novel and the 1939 version. Because the film is for children the film couldn’t follow it 100% or even 75% so watering it down  is understandable. To the film’s credit it did opt for a darker tone than most Disney movies especially where Frollo is concerned. And for the record there are worse children adaptions and as it stands, it is the best among the Hunchback for kids movies.

 

Victor, Hugo and Laverne singing A Guy like you Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

Victor, Hugo and Laverne singing A Guy like you Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

So the plot is stripe down to it barest essentials with a lens on Quasimodo and add-ons from the 1939 version. They added a moral,  eliminated some characters (Gringoire, Jehan, Louis, Sister Gudule (who is hardly ever mention in the adaptations) and added some characters (The gargoyles).

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Dancing

The basic plot is really about a cute girl and the guys that  “love” her and where these men take that love  into their psyches. That’s Hugo’s book at it’s most basic level, the problem is that since this book  was published in English the focus has been take off Esmeralda (Notre Dame de Paris) and went to Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). And to make it worse, two of the most famous “Hunchback” movies from the golden age of cinema, were vehicles for leading man playing Quasimodo. So the movies really do think that Quasimodo has to be the focus of the film and Disney really bought into this mentally (listen to DVD commentary).

 

Frollo and Quasimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

Frollo and Qausimodo Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney

So the Disney plot lies in the moral that Quasimodo inspires, sure he ugly as all hell but he’s beautiful on the inside, and that’s what the plot is trying to teach, don’t judge people. A corrupt, yet pious Judge can still be a an evil jerk. Of course, this moral is as subtle as a ton bricks and the scenes can never shift away from Quasimodo for too long unless it’s a counterpoint to how great he is, and that would be how terrible Frollo is. So Frollo can gets just as many songs and srceen time as Quasimodo. This is why you’ll only see one scene without either Frollo or Quasimodo, which is Phoebus and Esmeralda’s introduction, you could count their time in Notre Dame but Frollo is technically in that scene and since there no cut in locations Quasimodo is there too . That scene of Esmeralda in Notre Dame speaking with Phoebus, getting grope by Frollo, and singing God help the Outcast ends with her following Quasimodo to the bell tower, so it doesn’t really count. So there is only one scene without Quasimodo or Frollo. The plot lives and dies on Frollo and Quasimodo and so the film’s moral is ALSO being referenced during the film’s duration. Even the songs act a method to reference the moral. All of Quasimodo and Frollo’s song are linked by this man vs monster prespective.  Clopin is the only character who gets some songs with any levity.

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Clopin Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Phoebus, Quasimodo, Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus, Quasimodo, Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

So how was the plot of Disney’s Hunchback? Despite the film’s tunnel view of not giving a character that isn’t Quasimodo or Frollo 5 minutes of screen time. the film’s plot does well. It keeps the overall feeling of the story and makes it kid friendly and that was Disney’s angle and yet gives it a darker edge which help roots the film in Hugo’s book. But the book and the Disney’s version are character driven and not as plot driven so next time let look at the Disney version of Hugo’s characters.

 

Next time – a brief look at the Characters of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame