Quaismodo Bells of Notre dame reprise Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quaismodo Bells of Notre dame reprise Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I get a Google-Alert for Hunchback of Notre Dame. However it sucks. Mostly it just tells me about another regional production of Hunchback, which is great or something on Criaglist.  To be honest I mostly ignore the alerts. Last Saturday though I got it in my head to just look on Google News for Hunchback when I saw this;

http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame/266641/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame-live-action-remake-considered-by-disney

OR a similar news outlet making this report.  Also I think my Google Alert alerted me to this on Monday.

So about the news. It’s  not yet happening so to speak but Alan Meken said

“I can’t say anything yet,” Menken said, “but I think Hunchback would make an amazing live action musical.”

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

So it MIGHT happen. After watching the Beauty and the Beast  remake, I think Hunchback is the way for Disney. It really did seemed with the new Beauty and beast movie they were trying to captizle on a movie that studios already thought was near flawless which is why they only changed minor things and did a fairly straight shot for shot remake. What was the point of remaking it other than making money? They could have just re-released the 1991 movie to theater if there weren’t going to adapt the story for the medium more. Say what you want about the 2015 Cinderella movie, at least it was different from the cartoon. Which bring us back to Hunchback.

Disney never liked Hunchback that much. It didn’t make much money ergo it wasn’t successful for Disney. Also the darker tone was turn off for a lot of people. A live-action version could fix a lot of issues and people might be more forgiving of a dark tone. It would be interesting to see what is done with the story. Do they make it more of blend of the musical and the cartoon. Or do they follow the book more? Do we get a more innocent Esmeralda and angry Quasimodo? Do we get a priest/alchemist Frollo?  Do we get a Gringoire?

If this movie does get made it brings the total number of Hunchback movie adaptions in production up. Very technically speaking there are three in the works. There is the Max Ryan version (could be in filming hell), there was the version from Esmeralda’s perspective (haven’t heard any new on that one in a long time) and the Universal Monster version (hope The Mummy didn’t kill this being made.) Pretty sure the jazzy Brolin version is dead.

Anyway well we’ll just have to wait and see but I’m up for a new Hunchback version good to bad.

 

 

Quasimodo (Lon Chaney), Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller) and Gudule (Gladya Brockwell) Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 picture image

Quasimodo (Lon Chaney), Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller) and Gudule (Gladya Brockwell) Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923

It’s been announces that Universal is  adding Hunchback and Phantom to their own Universal Universe monster movie franchise a.k.a Dark Universe. In case you don’t know it’s Universal answer to the in-universe movies like Marvel and DC.  This news comes out days before The Mummy hits theaters.

The 1923 version of Hunchback and 1925 version of Phantom were the movies that kicked off the monster crave but they are a little different than the other movies. For one thing they are not supernatural creatures who are “monsters.” They are both deform dude who fall in love. We can only speculate as to what direction the movies take them.

Personally I have seen at thee other Hunchback movies fail to get off the ground or in  development  hell. So until there is more information I won’t get too excited but it’s hard not to has there hasn’t been a major Hunchback movie since 1999 if you want to count the French parody. And if you don’t since Disney’s 1996 movie.

Considering the studio  and the in-universe movies set-up, this will very likely get made, unless The Mummy tanks at the Box-office.  No word on when it will be release so that Max Ryan version could come out first.  IMDB still says its in pre-production but IMDB isn’t reliable. RIP Josh Brolin’s Jazzy version.

Also I like Phantom too.

 

Read more here: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/6/15746148/universal-dark-universe-phantom-of-the-opera-hunchback-of-notre-dame 

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus

Say what you want about the Enchanted Tales or Dingo versions, at least you can say they are not boring. They are contemptible versions of Hunchback but they have their own unique brand of bad. The other Burbank version of Hunchback can’t even boast that kind of ineptitude. It’s so painful boring. There is nothing to this version, no interest, no emotion, no heart, no humor, no pretty colors, or lines. It’s not even bad in that fun stupid way. I hate this version. It is the worst and yes I am saying the Dingo version is marginally better. I would rather watch the Dingo version over this version, not happily but under extreme duress.       

 

I’m so sick of these Disney knock-off quick cash-ins versions of Hunchback. Next time we’re going with a high art form version  like an Opera or a Ballet or something A fancy adaptation of Hunchback!  But I need a break from review posts for a little bit.

 

PS – I might be posting a little more sporadically for Wednesday and Thursday posts. I haven’t really decided the frequency of posting  since I know people enjoy the casting posts* and I don’t want to give up on Once Upon a time posts either but burn-out, other personal issues, and life in general have been plaguing me  for lack of a better word @@.

*Casting Suggestions are always welcome, just leave a comment.

 

King Henry Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

King Henry

This King is based on the 1939 version of King Louis  but he is King Henry. My mind wants to do mental loops to make sense of it but the process isn’t worth it. Why did this version not set the story in 1482? Did they REALLY not even look at the book? Did they just guess the year but fact  check the monarch?   I mean they were off by 117 years! The Printing Press is not all that minding blowing at that point like it was in 1482 when the damn story was set and it wasn’t a huge thing in book. The 1939 version made it a big deal to cast a theme of modernity.

Anyway off on a tangent but that year thing is just so stupid. The King in this version named Henry and is really just Louis from the 1939 version. He like modern things, pretty girls and taking baths. There isn’t too much to him even though the animators and the screenwriter seem to like him more than the main characters.     

Padre Jean-Paul Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Padre Jean-Paul

Padre Jean-Paul is the good virtuous priest that is often seen in Hunchback versions that have a non-priest Frollo. Like in the 1939 version when Frollo confesses that Esmeralda is innocent and wants forgiveness, the Priest doesn’t give Frollo absolution till he admits Esmeralda’s innocence.  For some reason this version uses Spanish when addressing him. There is no reason for it and asking for logic is futile so whatever, just call him Padre even though he works in the most iconic Cathedral in France.

There is also a Judge and an Archdeacon person but they are authoritarian types who don’t matter but they get a stupid honorable mention.  

Clopin Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Clopin

Clopin does nothing in this version, if they hadn’t said his name no one would have known it was him   I have to mention him howver because just look at this guy. He looks like Disney’s Phoebus.  It’s uncanny.

The Juggler Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

The Juggler

This version spends a lot of animation on this nameless Juggler. At first thought that it was to pad out the run time with repeat animation but that is too logical. After watching this version a few times too many I figured it all out, the Juggler is behind it all. He is the Palpatine of this version. He is the one who cursed Quasimodo with his deformity and inability to use pronouns. He is the one who bewitched Frollo into being obsessed with Esmeralda. He the one who is behind people being mean to the Gypsy, sowing the seeds of hostility even though the King seems like he progressive type. And arguably the most evil thing he is behind are those fake French accents the character use. Surely this is the face of all evil.  

Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus

As par for the course with this unholy shit of a Hunchback version, Phoebus is just boring and nice.  This does set him apart from the 1939 version where Phoebus was slut who wanted to bone Esmeralda before Frollo actually killed him.  Alas, the only traits of Phoebus that this version has is his looks and his occupation. If you want to get a little more technical, this Phoebus does meet Esmeralda at a party like in the 1923 version but that scene was just get Esmeralda arrested.

Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus with La Petition

Phoebus in this version is a combination of Phoebus and Gringoire. It’s a bit like the Disney version but far less subtle. Phoebus basically takes Gringoire’s role from the 1939 version where he makes a pamphlet thing to free her. This only makes sense in the simplification of the story and character as  the movie gives no reason or logic as to why a rich soldier would come to this method of political defiance.  Was he  modern in his thinking?  If he is, the movie gives no examples of it like in a line of dialogue or some action. He tries to arrange an appeal and that it till he is shown leaving the print shop with the pamphlet/leaflet thing.  They couldn’t even have had a scene of him writing it because the movie needed a scene of Quasimodo shouting “No”  awkwardly. Nope becomes from having a plan to having it printed along with a long petition with signatures. How much time took place? No sense in asking for logic now.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Basically this version of Phoebus could have been slightly interesting in that it would have been a scholarly Phoebus but the intent of Phoebus  was expedience for lazy narrative, nothing more.

He also speaks with a fake French accent.

Instead of trying to find items that reflect Hunchback characters’ style like I have done in the past, like watches one from three years ago, this year I’m going to feature one cool Hunchback  item from Amazon.

This year is a Quasimodo phone case.

Quasimodo Phone Case picture image

Quasimodo Phone Case

 

I really like the design. I love Quasimodo as a negative silhouette against Notre Dame. Really it’s a pretty perfect design. Also just on a personal level, I like green and gold as a color combo.

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

If you didn’t figure it out, the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame followed the plot of the 1939 version in a rough and unapologetic manner. This is technically the first version to be based off of the 1939 version since the 1997 version came out later but the 1997 version did take the basic plot of the 1939 version and add other elements  like Quasimodo liking books. What did this version do to distinguish itself? Well, Quasimodo has doves and Frollo has a literal birth mark of evil. That is the only thing that is original to this version from the 1939 version never mind the book, there is no point discussing the book against this version.

Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo

Perhaps it’s unfair to say that this version should have add something to the basic plot of the 1939 version, after all this is a streamline version of Hunchback for kids. But just because it’s a short version condensed down to forty minutes, did it have to be so devoid of impact? This version is without a doubt  the blandest, joyless, soul crushing version of hunchback to date. It’s has all the flavor watery  hospitable vanilla ice cream. There is nothing in this version that conveys any sort of emotion or interest. It’s like a paint by number retelling of another retelling.

Before you can understand the pain of the other Burbank version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you need to experience the pain. So you can either suffer through the forty some odd minutes of hell or just read this plot summary.   I’m sure more thought and effort were used to write this post than went into making the movie.

Frollo Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

The story starts mind-numbingly on Year’s Eve 1599, a mere 117 later than the book for no real reason. Actually I got ahead of my self the movie actually starts with a wizard introducing this “wizard’s tale.” I can’t fathom what was being smoked at the studio when that idea was proposed and then accepted.

So, everything is going great in France as fake accent French people stroll about and pad out the 40+ minute runtime with weird animation and laugher.  Esmeralda is shown awkwardly twirling around when she approaches Frollo. Frollo rejects giving her money for her dancing by putting up his palms. On his palms is a birthmark which scares Esmeralda as she says it’s “the mark of evil.”  You know kind of what Esmeralda said in the 1939 version but instead of being something in lines of his hand it’s a big purple evil face, have fun with that and remember to put that on his hand animation team. Anyway Esmeralda walks off and Frollo doesn’t seem to like her.

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo crowned King of Clowns

Cut to Frollo chilling with King Henry IV, and to the version’s credit they got the proper monarch of France correct just not the correct year of the actual book, I mean to be fair it’s not like the first paragraph of the book or anything, it’s in the second, it’s very hard to miss… Moving on Frollo tells the king that he think Esmeralda is evil and Henry tells him to stop being narrow-minded and muses the Frollo probably still thinks the earth is still flat, which Frollo says it is. Hmm, this is reminding me a lot of the 1939 version…. Henry then gives Esmeralda a coin  just like in the 1939 version, hmm I’m saying that a lot, WEIRD!

Esmeralda then spots an eye looking at her, you know like another version, I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here. Anyway it’s Quasimodo and his dove friends, Quasimodo have doves that follow him around, at least it’s original. The town people chase after Quasimodo and make him dance for their amusement and then name him Kind of the Clowns and for some reason the crown of “King of Clowns” is not a jester hat but a wreath of laurels. WHY?   Frollo then reveals that he is the guardian of Quasimodo and how dare Quasimodo make a fool of Frollo in public again Again? What was the first time?. Less than ten minutes in and I’m so numb, hypothermia take me away.

Esmeralda the tries to go to the King to ask him for help for her people but the guard wants to arrest her because she is a gypsy and she runs away to Notre Dame. The Priest saves her and takes her in and introduces himself as Padre Jean-Paul. Why Spanish? I don’t get that, someone fill me in on why a Priest at Notre Dame de Paris would call him self “Padre?”  Cut to Frollo talking to some important looking guy demanding Quasimodo be whipped for going out in public, to which the important looking guy says no. Then it’s happy New Year and they have fireworks amidst tons of repeat animation and then everyone just leave because who parties all night for a new century, it’s bedtime.

Esmeralda meets Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda meets Phoebus

Padre Jean-Paul then teaches Esmeralda how to pray because the 1939 version did it.  However Frollo comes in and yells that she can’t pray and then says she a witch who steals men’s heart and drives them mad. Literally it’s been two hours since Frollo first saw Esmeralda and he is already obsessed with destroying her. This Frollo makes book Frollo sane.  Esmeralda then goes upstairs and sees Quasimodo and takes off running. Quasimodo pursues her because he want her to know he is her friend. Phoebus then saves Esmeralda and sends Quasimodo to the Bastille. Phoebus and Esmeralda share a moment, he is not a smug jerk in this version.

Just like in the 1939 version, Frollo orders all the Gypsy women by round up so he can find Esmeralda but she gives the guards the slip. Meanwhile, Quasimodo is found guilty and Frollo makes a plea that Esmeralda is a witch and should be punished. Quasimodo is in the stocks begging for water. While that is happening Padre Jean-Paul explains to Esmeralda that Quasimodo is the nicest person and wouldn’t have hurt her. Esmeralda then gives him water but runs off as a guard approaches.

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda's face Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo tries to cover Esmeralda’s face

The King holds a masked party and Esmeralda shows up to dance to see Phoebus, even though there is a warrant out for her and she knows it. Phoebus and Esmeralda dance and confess their love for each other but then Frollo ruins the party by arresting her.

At her trail she declared a menace to society because she just so darn pretty that poor men just can help themselves with her around and sentence her to death.While is jail, Phoebus tells he is trying to arrange an appeal for her but he also has a plan to save her which is the same plan that Gringoire used in the 1939 version which was printing pamphlets.  However the night before her execution Quasimodo breaks her out of jail with the help of his dove pals.  As Esmeralda and Quasimodo seek into Notre Dame, Frollo confesses to Padre Jean-Paul that Esmeralda is not a witch and he is in love with her and the padre says he can’t forgive Frollo if he does come clean. Frollo then finds out that she has escaped with Quasimodo help.

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Other Burbank Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus

Now it’s the seventh of January, seven days! All this in seven days? Anyway Phoebus is getting the people on Esmeralda’s side and now know that she escaped jail. Phoebus, the Padre and Frollo all gather at the King’s to discuss Esmeralda. The Kings likes Phoebus’ approach but admits her can’t do anything without evidence. The Padre says Esmeralda is falsely accused then guilts Frollo to admit his lies which he does and the king pardons her. Frollo then rushes to Notre Dame to kill her. Frollo awkwardly attacks Quasimodo and then Quasimodo uses the bells to knock Frollo down the bell tower. Esmeralda and Phoebus reunite, people cheer, End of movie.

 

 

 

Hunchback of Notre Dame at Ogunquit Playhouse Maine picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame at Ogunquit Playhouse

If you follow TheHunchblog on Facebook then you might know that last week on July 28th I went to see Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I do feel very lucky that I got to see it although I do live relatively close to Ogunquit Maine.

Ad of the Ogunquit's production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ad of the Ogunquit’s production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

First off, in center area of Ogunquit, which is a nice beach town, promotions for the play were everywhere, which is common. Above is the one I took a picture of as it was the closest to the car near where I ate lunch but there were tons, I wish I could have taken more picture. Also I went to a matinee show so there were a lot of older people but there were children sitting behind me. The show was nearly sold out but there were a empty sits most noticeably next to me.

Also they had two signature cocktails, The Quasimodo and the Esmeralda. I tried both and as I’m a super light-weight when it comes to drinking I felt those drinks later, no worries though I wasn’t the driver. Alway I did end preferring the Quasimodo to the Esmeralda. Oddly the Quasimodo was green and I don’t really recall what was in aside from pineapple juice and the Esmeralda was blue with a peach vodka and lemonade, it had a spicier taste. Also they give you the glasses a souvenir so that is cool.

One more thing. as I was leaving I did see a few of the actors mostly the extra but I did see the guy who played Clopin, Paolo Montalban, leaving and walking off down the street. I didn’t say anything because  I’m criminally shy and I don’t really like to bother people.   So the show itself?

My Ticket and program, Oguinquit Playhouse Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

My Ticket and program,

 

So what did I think? Al lot of the nitpicks I had about the show were the same ones I had to Papermills/La Jolla version as this version isn’t much different. That being said, I am a touch more forgiving as musical plays are meant to be seen live and not  in a tiny frame size on a computer.  So while I can’t compare the versions in terms of plot and decision related to the plot I can discuss the performer and the production designs.

I will say this, the costumes in the Papermills/La Jolla were a bit better. Esmeraldas’ costume in those version read more like her Disney costumes. That is not to say the Ogunquit costume were bad, they were fine. Esmeralda wore mainly pink, her corset was pink and her skirt looked green but in picture is read more as blue. Her dance costume was more Indian in style. It was  pink choli top with a green skirt with a high slit and she wore legging.  You can click here for press pictures. Also I didn’t love the fact that Frollo was in white the whole time but that is a nitpick. Though black is Frollo’s color in the book and most version follow suit. I did like Clopin’s costume more in this version though especially his Feast of Fools robe.

Also it bear mentioning that Quasimodo in this version doesn’t not put any make-up on his face to convey the deformity and instead the actor did the work. Not sure how I feel about this since I have been hard in the Papermill and the La Jolla versions on this aspect. But I will say in the moment I didn’t mind it plus the stage sits kinda of level with the sits so I probably couldn’t have seen it otherwise. It’s a mixed feeling though.

 

Broadwayworld Ogunquit Playhouse Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Broadwayworld Ogunquit Playhouse Hunchback of Notre Dame

I did like the stage set up more in the version. While the stage is small it really didn’t feel as cluttered as the   Papermills/La Jolla versions.      I think it’s because they used the sides more and the choir was above most of the action. They also had a smaller congregation group and they seems to have set roles as part of the architecture. I’m not sure if that was the same in the Papermills/La Jolla versions but that might be a perk of seeing it live instead of in a tiny Aspect ratio.  They also used a moving platform that was painted like the floor of Notre Dame but in less contrasting  colors. While it wasn’t as accurate to the eddfice it was easier on the eyes.  The simplifying of  the sets made it  better for the space and made it easier for the eye to rest.

Not all the stagecraft was better, I did prefer Aphrodisius coming out as a stained glass window in Papermills/La Jolla version but again nitpick. Also the molten lead was handled better in those version as well but this version got rid of the confusion run through the Gallery of kings so it’s a trade-off.

Ogunquit Playhouse Hucnhabck of Notre Dame picture image

Ogunquit Playhouse Hucnhabck of Notre Dame

 

The acting and the performances were good across the board. I can’t complain there. I will say that while the Frollo seemed younger than is typical, he did get more angry in Hellfire than Patrick Page did.  All in all, I’m very happy I got to see the show and if it’s playing in a theater near  you do  go see it.

 

Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical performing Esmeralda picture image

Ensemble performing Esmeralda

As I write this post, there is no plan to have the American version of the Disney movie of the Hunchback of Notre Dame to go to Broadway. As it stands the play is going to regional theaters. That is  not to say that the musical couldn’t go to Broadway in the future or even that regional production are a bad thing. As of now, Disney will send an adaption of Frozen to the Broadway stage which is understandable as Frozen is Disney’s cash-cow at the moment but there is more at work.

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcasts, production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Ciara Renee as Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcasts, production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

I can’t speak that I know the decision making process though I except that money does have a lot to do with it. And considering that Anastasia musical is going to Broadway, Disney can’t have another company’s Princess movie make money, so Frozen goes, but I do suspect that that two style approach to the Hunchback musical did hurt it a bit.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

First off I really can’t imagine Broadway wanting a Disney show that wasn’t the same opulent style as the other Disney shows. Frozen and Anastasia fit in better to this aesthetic. I can see the producers of the Hunchabck wanted to make it more realistic like Les Mis but do we need another version of Le Miz on Broadway? No. Both stories are by the same author even. Should the Hunchback  musical have opted for a more opulent style? It’s hard to say with the limitations of the theaters but I think on some level this show was going for the Le Mis style with the Disney story in mind hence the odd sense of rich minimal that didn’t really work in the end.

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame Set

It does raise an interesting question, has the success of Les Mis kept Hunchback off Broadway? To my knowledge there has not been a version of Hunchback on Broadway. This version and Notre Dame de Paris seem like likely candidates but Notre Dame de Paris only played in Las Vegas for six months. Even Dennis DeYoung and Lionel Bart’s musical played in other theaters.

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Ciara Renée as Esmeralda and Andrew Samonsky as Phoebus

I think the musical would need to be massively reworked to fit with the Disney brand musical aesthetic, I.e a super over-the-top spectacle  or totally embrace a minimal approach akin to Notre Dame de Paris.

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Michael Arden as Quasimodo with Saint Aphrodisius, Musical Production of Hunchback of Notre Dame

We’ll have to see how the regional shows choice to address the style.  Maybe one production can solve the show issues because it would be great for this story to get the Broadway recognition.

Also I know it was selling point but the Gargoyle did not beat the chorus. I’m sorry it didn’t work. You can have them  but having extra try to be characters didn’t really work at all. At least make three of more interesting compelling characters. You don’t have to call them gargoyles. It just made the show seem amateurish to extras doing everything.