Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills Hunchback of Notre Dame, Picture image

Patrick Page as Frollo singing Hellfire, Papermills

Heaven’s Light – There isn’t much to say on this version of the song. Arden performs it very well and is a better singer that Hulce in the movie. Though I would say, at least in the cast album, it seems like Arden is fighting the impulse to sing in that broadway nasal style, which doesn’t work with the soft, light quality of stye song. Not saying he doesn’t capture the song because he does.  Anyway solid version of the song and the last note Arden holds is lovely.  I can understand if people prefer Arden’s version to the movie version, he puts passion into it and not that school boy crush of the movie.

Hellfire –  The Disney movie’s Hellfire is a hard act to replicate as it one of the highlights of the movie and is one of best songs in the Disney Pantheon. I would say the musical should have made this song more of its own instead of trying to emulate the movie. In stage show they did, to a point, I mean they striped it down to just Frollo and a red lighting effect but the song is just Hellfire with Patrick Page singing instead of Tony Jay. Jay’s version is just so perfect that this version feels lukewarm at its hottest. No disrespect to Page, he is a great singer but much like Norbert Lamla in the German version of the musical, he is channeling too much of Tony Jay.  Though to be fair, people want  Hellfire and that is what the musical gave them. It’s a damn if they don’t and damn if they do since the animation and Tony Jay made Hellfire.

However there is another issue with Hellfire in this version that bridges the movie and the book. In the Disney movie, Frollo is a more in touch with his anger and how it relates to his control over the city, so it makes sense that his lust is channeled through his anger IE Hellfire. In the book, Frollo valves his purity as means to keeping his control over himself and his lust is channeled out through self-loathing till it explodes with stabbing Phoebus.

As it is in the  musical there is a disconnect between Frollo’s personality and Hellfire. Yes, he does get mad when Esmeralda calls him out on the way he looks at her but then he goes out searching for her and his part in Tavern Song sounds more desperate than mad which makes Hellfire seem more out of place in the scheme of things.  I think the idea is that Hellfire at first showcases his desperation for control and he gets more consumed as the song goes on. Though in the book Frollo wasn’t that mad that Esmeralda was dragging him off to Hell, he rather welcome it, sure it made him go crazy to the point where he wanted to kill her but he was more mad that she going to give her virginity to someone who didn’t deserve her and that she didn’t want him. I don’t think book Frollo would sing this song. I will say that it’s a tough task merging Book Frollo with Disney Frollo since they are very different from each other but the causality of it seems to be Hellfire.

Or this could all be my head and I’m seeing an issue that isn’t there, or I didn’t explain my point very well. Both are possible. As it stand this a very tepid version of the song though the chorus is great.

 

 

Question; Why did Esmeralda choose Phoebus?

This question get asked a lot and it’s directed to the Disney movie. A lot people resent Esmeralda for picking Phoebus after all Quasimodo did for her. They resent her despite the fact that movie tries very, very hard to convince the audience that Esmeralda and Phoebus are the perfect couple.

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

When a film tries to present a future couple to the audience it is always done at the start of the film by showing the couple interacting in someway. This is almost always the case unless it is important to the development of the character to break it off with the person the are supposed to be with. Titanic is a good example of this. In Disney’s Hunchback the only scene that does not have either Frollo or Quasimodo is when Esmeralda and Phoebus meet. Now this may seem trivial but remember that the movie’s theme is “what makes a monster and what makes man” and every scene but this one and most of their time in the church reinforces that theme.

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of notre dame image picture

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Next, Esmeralda and Phoebus have almost identical personalities. They’re both witty, friendly, selfless and very self righteous. Frollo is very self righteous and somewhat witty and Quasimodo is friendly and somewhat selfless, he kind of has to overcome some self pity first.

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

Quasimodo’s figurines from “Heaven’s Light”

Another tactic the movie uses to try to get the audience of the couple’s side is the contrast of how Quasimodo, Frollo and Phoebus view Esmeralda. Frollo views Esmeralda as demon-witch sent from hell to ensnare him in hellish fire whereas Quasimodo views her a s heavenly-angel sent from high above to love him. These point of views are made crystal clear by their songs “Heaven’s Light” and “Hellfire.” Now Phoebus on the other hand doesn’t view her as an angel or demon, he views as a human and treats her as such.

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image hit in the face by Esmeralda

Phoebus being hit by Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

However the most conniving thing the movie does to try to showcase that Esmeralda belongs with Phoebus and not Quasimodo is how she interacts with them. With Quasimodo, she treats with a lot of kindness and compassion. Not to mention she treats him like a child. Esmeralda never expressed any romantic interest in him. The peck on the cheek was to convince him let her stay in his life because she was on the side of the outcasts. She liked him as a friend nothing more. With Phoebus, she was coquettish, witty, snarky, and romantic. All most all Disney couples start off snarky without each other, it’s a troupe.

Esmeralda, Phoebus, and Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo accepts Esmeralda and Phoebus as a couple Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

The inability to accept Esmeralda and Phoebus as a couple isn’t really do with how much Quasimodo helped Esmeralda because she helped him too it is more to do with acceptations and hopefully optimism. First, it is very rare that a protagonist doesn’t end up with the leading lady. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one the few Disney movies where this happens. And there is the fact that Quasimodo is an underdog and the audience wants him to succeed and get the girl but it was disheartening when he doesn’t even though Quasimodo accepted the relationship and was happy for them.
And if the protagonist is cool with this than the audience should acceptance it as well.

Esmeralda and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Phoebus share the longest kiss in a Disney movie

This the fourth part of my review on the music of Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Das Licht des Himmels

Drew Sarich as Quasimodo in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Drew Sarich as Quasimodo in Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

Das Licht des Himmels (Heaven’s Light) is identical to the Disney version. The minor difference is that a used piano during the part where Quasimodo calls Esmeralda an angel. That’s it. It’s still sweet and is a good counter to Quasimodo’s bitterness of his unrequited love.

 

Das Feuer der Hölle

Norbert Lamla as Frollo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Norbert Lamla as Frollo Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

Here’s a question for all of you, What do like about Hellfire in the original Disney movie? Is it the song itself? Tony Jay’s singing? The Animation? Or the fact that this song about hell and lust was produced under the Mouse?  And when those things like the animation, Tony Jay and the Disney movie context are removed is the song still as awesome?  I would like to say yes but this version is not my favorite, there is something about the way Norbert Lamla sings it that just devoid of the emotional intensity that Jay gave it. I’m not saying Lamla is a not a good singer because he is. I think he maybe trying to mimic Jay’s performance. Maybe this is number is more amazing on stage than it sung.  Though from what I’ve read the stage re-creates the Disney Hellfire sequence. But it just doesn’t compare to the Disney version but it couldn’t have been better in it’s own right.

Next Time – End of Act 1 Esmeralda

Esmeralda saving Phoebus Der Glöckner von Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda saving Phoebus Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

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

Quasimodo's figurines from "Heaven's Light"

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Hellfire Disney picture image

Frollo and an illusion of Esmeralda during Hellfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven’s Light and Hellfire are meant to be listened together. Both parts represent the basic nature of The Hunchback of Notre Dame; how feelings can be internalized and twisted according to the individual. However I’m going to look at Heaven’s Light and Hellfire separately, because of the intensity of Hellfire and the simplicity of Heaven’s Light.

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven’s Light is the second ballad in the film and is Quasimodo’s final song though it is reprise later in the movie. It’s the only romantic song to make into movie. In this song Quasimodo  equivalents love to being heavenly. Since Quasimodo believes himself to be hideous, he thinks he not meant for love. However since Esmeralda gave him a peak on the cheek without fear, he calls her an angel and he’s hopeful that she could love him. This hopefulness is gestalt of song.

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is lot going on in this song: Quasimodo explains what love is like, he feel he’s not meant for it but then not a beat goes by and he turns his hopeful-o-meter up to max, as he hopes that Esmeralda could love him because she wasn’t afraid of him. The song seems to do a lot. This is because it’s such a short song and that’s it feels kind of ADD. Quasimodo goes from being emo to sappy.  Anarkia in Notre Dame de Paris has a similar ADD feel to it.

Victor and Laverne's drawing of Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Victor and Laverne's drawing of Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hugo draws Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hugo draws Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elements of humor in this song by the gargoyles are actually good. It’s relevant and cute to the song. In the song each gargoyle draws a picture. The pictures reflect their personalities, Laverne and Victor draw Esmeralda and Hugo draws Djali. It’s cute relevant humor. I like  Victor’s drawing the best.

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that for me this song gets a little lost because it’s the song that comes right before Hellfire, which is for many people is their favorite song in the film and their favorite villain. However listening to the song in isolation, it’s a sweet, well done song that develops Quaismodo’s character as both hopeful and naive.

Quasimodo reprise Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo reprise Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo reprise Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo reprise Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later when the song is reprised it’s a bittersweet sting to Quaismodo as his heart breaks as he watches Esmeralda and Phoebus kiss.

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

All in all it’s a good song, not terrible but not not fanatic. It’s one flaw is being next to Hellfire.

Next Time – Hellfire.

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame Hellfire Disney picture image

Frollo singing Hellfire