Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

The 1956 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a disappointment. It had a great set-up with its concept making a Hunchback movie that was almost accurate to the book. We had Ananke as a theme, Frollo is a Priest, Esmeralda dying and the Quasimodo lying down beside Esmeralda to die at the end.

The Ending of the 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame , picture image

The Ending of the 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

But the movie is plagued by bad execution on almost everything. The actors seem to be not into it, the script boring, the music is nonexistent, the camera work in a sea of flat angles, it lacks directional style, the set are fake looking , etc.

Frollo (Alain Cuny) and Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image

Frollo (Alain Cuny) and Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

This is a seems to be a problem with Hunchback movie. Either you get a movie that is really good but way off from the book OR you get something that is really close to the book but the execution sucks. I think this film has a fair regard with some Hunchback fans because of its accuracies but give them a well executed movie that is also accurate to the book and this version fade from memory.

Anaykh craved on the wall, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Anaykh craved on the wall, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Next Time – we’re going to look at the Wishbone version

Wishbone as Quasimodo, picture image

Wishbone as Quasimodo

This one mistake I have noticed, I’m sure there is more. This occurs during the attack on Notre Dame at about the 1 hour 39 minute mark in the version English. Esmeralda is sitting in her room and she hears the attack and goes to check it out. Between her hearing the attack and leaving her room she changes her costume.

Long Shot of Esmeralda wearing a second white chemise, 1956  The Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Long Shot of Esmeralda wearing a second white chemise, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

In the long shot on Esmeralda in her room she wearing a white chemise with short sleeves and a rope tied around her bodice. It has a Grecian vibe. However in the very next shot she is back in her normal long sleeve white chemise.

The shot after the long shot and Esmeralda is back in her standard white chemise, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

The shot after the long shot and Esmeralda is back in her standard white chemise, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

It’s jarring but not a big deal but this means there is another costume that they either cut or the replaced. Which costume do you prefer. I like the style of the mistake costume but her standard one is more in keeping with novel.

Next 1956 post- Conclusion

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) and Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) and Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Let’s talk about the direction of the 1956 version of Hunchback of Notre Dame and its complete lack of style. So what do I mean when I say lack of style. I mean the angle of the framing or the camera angles. Almost every single shot in this film has exactly the same angle:  straight-on or flat angles. Straight-on  angles have their place in cinema but when nearly the entire film in made up of them it get  very, very,  very dull. Every now and then they do a shot-reverse-shot (two people talking) but even that is considered boring.  This movie doesn’t hide the fact it was shot in the most efficient way possible. It was most likely shot this way because they shot it twice, a French version and an English version. This dual version prove detriment to the final product as it’s an 1 hour 49 minutes of straight-on angles with an occasion pan or zoom. It feel like they recorded a play and not a movie.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

The flat-angle also making the blocking and composition insanely dull as well. Also the editing rarely cuts away from the medium long shots.  So scene play out  with people talking and the camera sometimes panning to follow. Rarely does it cut to a close up or reaction shot.

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

But for the sake of argument let’s look at the big scene of Hunchback, Quasimodo saving Esmeralda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxzj403ihYg&feature=youtu.be

This scene is usual big and epic is rather small and dull. But what really gets me is after Djali walks into the cathedral there is a dissolve which means a passage of time. This makes the big ‘sanctuary shot” feel like it was thrown in. I compare this to Disney

and its dullness is amplified. One can argue that the 1956 scene plays out like the book but there is no excuse for the all flat which steals the life away from any scene. However the film isn’t devoid of inserting camera work they just seem to be allocate to Esmeralda’s dance. The Angles again are mostly flat but the editing has a degree variety.  I think the most interesting single shot in the movie is Frollo staring at Esmeralda as she being reflective in the window next to him.

Frollo (Alain Cuny) stares while Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo (Alain Cuny) stares while Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

All in all this film is made boring in it execution.  The framing, the editing, the composition of the shot are all so mind-numbingly dull.

Interior Set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Flat Angle, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Next 1956 post- an editing mistake.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Streets In Front of Notre Dame,  1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame    picture image

Streets In Front of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Unlike other versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame I can tell I’m looking at a set in the 1956 version. The sets are nice and they do their job well but there is no life to them. That maybe the fault of the film’s direction and not entirely the sets themselves.

The upper Set of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image

The upper Set of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame itself looks fine. It has a nice sense of age and weathering on it. But you never see the full grandeur of it. You get hints of it in shots of the city but nothing expansive.

Esmeralda's room set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame    picture image

Esmeralda’s room set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

You do get a sense of the narrow poky streets of medieval Paris but with the flat angles of the direction of this movie the sets really just sit in the background and do not get a sense of feeling like I have been transported back in time I feel like I’m looking at decent looking sets.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) in the bell tower, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) in the bell tower, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

I had there been more style to way this film was shot maybe the sets would have stood out more and felt less fake. I feel like the sets were designed for Disney’s Epcot Medieval Paris Experience*” and not a movie.

Interior Set,  1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Interior Set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Next Time – The style of this movie i.e. The Direction

The Famous Sanctuary scene at a flat angle, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

The Famous Sanctuary scene at a flat angle, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*) This totally should exist

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) with a cat, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) with a cat, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Quasimodo – One of the Hallmarks of any good Hunchback of Notre Dame version is how Quasimodo’s look. It’s important to his character. The 1956 version tried to humanize his looks and it didn’t work, at all.

He hardly has any deformity and he’s not a hunchback, Quinn just slouches, so he’s a slouch-back.  Did they forget his hunch? Anyway.  His over-all costume is tan and green. It fits in with scope of the other designs of the movie but it’s too neat and clean for a recluse bell-ringer.

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture iamge

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Frollo – Frollo’s costume from a design stand point is simple, he wears black, the end. Mess that up and you have an very incompetent costume designer.Of course ideally he wears a back hooded robe.

And this version got all those elements. There is some more design inserted into the costume but it doesn’t distract. He has wide sleeves typically called “poet sleeves.”  He also has seams that give his robe a padded look. He also sports a cape which gives a dramatic flair.

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Gringoire – Gringoire, like Quasimodo wears green and tan. His doublet has puffed sleeves that  extend into a false sleeve which gives of top-heaviness which was fashionable at the time. He also has the same padding like seams that Frollo has on his costume.

jean Danet as Phoebus,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture imge

Jean Danet as Phoebus,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Phoebus– Since Phoebus is rich and a soldier he get a few costume changes. He gets soldier suit and two civilian looks. However these looks are quite similar. All of his looks have sparkles which I’m sure is an anachronism. His costume also use richer fabrics than the other characters but the cut is identical to Gringoire’s costume.

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Fleur de Lys-  Fleur wears a light blue gown with a veiled hennin (the princess  pointy hat), which was the fashion in the 15th century.  Her style of dress is very on point with what women wore then, it has a high waistline and a v-neckline. Her gown is detailed with fur and appliques. Though appliques are yet an anachronism.

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Clopin -  Being as he poses a beggar, Clopin wears tan and rougher fabrics. Unlike Quasimodo and Gringoire, his clothing are ragged. He also is typically seen wearing a cloth cap that matches his tan tunic.

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) giving flowers to Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) giving flowers to Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Overall, while the costumes in this movie are not to exciting they more or less work within the scope of a medieval movie. However they don’t stand out as being amazing. The worse thing about the costumes in this movie is the lack of effort on Quasimodo’s make-up. Even if you are going to humanize Quasimodo’s looks, he still NEEDS A HUNCH!

Next 1956 Article – The Sets

Set of Notre Dame from the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Set of Notre Dame from the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

For this post, I’m just going to look at Esmeralda’s costumes from the 1956 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame , picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda’s red costume is the most remembered costume from this movie. Now this was the first colorized movie version so prior to this, Esmeralda’s costume didn’t have “official” colors. Now I have said before that I hate Esmeralda in red and this movie could have started that trend in movies. However I’m not going to let my dislike of a color choice get in the way of this review.

Gina Lollobrigida 1956 as Esmeralda picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda (1956)

This costume is much different from the previous Esmeralda costumes. Instead of a chemise with a corset over it and long skirt , we have a corset under the blouse and long skirt. Now one can argue that since Romani women were not much of a subject of medieval paintings it’s hard to know what exactly what they wore. However I highly doubt any Romani women would have wore what Esmeralda is depicted as wearing in this film. This costume really reads as a 1950’s rendering of a Gypsy. Is that a bad thing? No, not really.

How a common fashion styles impacts costumes in movies keeps things interesting, at least for me. However the cinch waist and defined bust line was a big hallmark of 50’s fashion.

So let me say what is wrong with costume from a more or less history/story context and then I will state what I think the positives are.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

First off, the corset. The corset didn’t become and undergarment till the 16th century, and the definition wouldn’t have been so defined as this. I personally find the waist line on this costume to be too much.

Second I find the monochromatic color a little odd. The only other character in this movie too wear one color is Frollo (and in one scene Jehan). It just seems out of place and character to make her wear a single color.

I get what they were trying to do in putting her in one color, it was to make her stand out from all the extras, but if just makes it look like she is from a different movie. I think that is main compliant I have with this costume, it has no synergy with it and the other costumes making it look out of place.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 image picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

There also the little matter of her dagger being used as as accessory. In the Book Esmeralda concealed her little dagger as it was against the law to carry one. Here it’s on full display which makes it seem more like a part of her costume rather than a plot point or a weapon. And then there are the darts.

A dart is a sewing technique where fabric is folded and sewn to give it a three dimensional shape. The dart was pioneered in the early 1950’s. Esmeralda’s costume has a total of two sets of darts. One sets on the bust and the other runs vertical on the front. It’s a utilitarian anachronism but it makes the costume look way more modern than the other costumes in the movie.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame , poicture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda second costume is a little bit more refined. She wears a yellow costume that has the same basic components as her red one but with a gold trim along the bust. This costume has different tones of gold which break it up nicely. Again it looks a bit modern for the style of the movie.

 

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Then there is her third costume which is nothing more than a white shift. Which is exactly what it should be.

It probably her least interesting costume but it fits in the most with movie and the book. Also when she wears the shawl with it, I think it’s a nice touch.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) dances, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

All in all her costumes defiantly have a sense a style and the departure from the normal Gypsy look is refreshing. Do I personally love these costumes? No but I don’t hate them despite my nitpicking. I just wish that red costume as it is the iconic costume blended better in the film better.

Next 1956 Article – Costumes of the other Characters

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture iamge

Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) & Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) & Frollo (Alain Cuny), 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The acting in the 1956 version of The Hunhcback of Notre Dame much like the characters lacks depth.

However like I said when I first started this version, I’m basing this review on the english dubbed version.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) and Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) and Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

The only two actors who spoke their lines in English were Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida, so the bulk of the characters were dubbed. Which doesn’t help the acting style as there is a disconnect between the action and the vocals.

However the acting isn’t much better in the French version but it’s more natural so it is  slightly better than the dubbed.

 

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) with Phoebus (Jean Danet), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

However, I don’t think the fault of the acting is entirely the actors/voice actors’ fault. I think the script and the director are to blame. I sense little or no joy in the direction of the movie and the script is pretty utilitarian.

Any energy or vibrancy in the performance is the actors trying to eject something into the lines. But overall the acting is underwhelming.

 

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Next 1956 Article – Costumes

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 image picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

Maurice Sarfati as Jehan, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Maurice Sarfati as Jehan, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Jehan – The 1956 version is the first time Jehan is the irresponsible mooch younger brother of Frollo. He doesn’t do that much of interests. He makes a few comments, some goofy faces and interacts with everyone except Esmeralda.

Jehan’s overall point in the book was to show Frollo’s fatherly compassion and he doesn’t really do that in this version, in fact when Jehan dies we get no reaction from Frollo, it’s like “Oh my brother die, oh well”.

If Jehan wasn’t in the movie it would have made no difference except for the length would have been slighty shorter.

Jean Tissier as King Louis, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Jean Tissier as King Louis, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

King Louis– This movie has the scene from the book where King Louis visits Frollo. He also rubs Quasimodo getting punishment in Frollo face. Had that been the all he did that would have been fine but King Louis is convinced by Frollo to suspend Sanctuary for a day. So King Louis asks a prisoner if this has ever been done before. This scene seems so unnecessary and Louis acts really callous to this prisoner.

I mean, I know he is suppose to be callous but there was no other way to show that? King Louis has to asks a prisoner who has been lock up in a cage for 14 years for advice? Who wrote this? Who thought this scene was a good idea? There is no precedence for this scene. Maybe if there was I could accept it but no. I wish they had kept this part like book.

Valentine Tessier as  Aloyse de Gondelaurier, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Valentine Tessier as Aloyse de Gondelaurier, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Aloyse de Gondelaurier a.k.a Fleur’s mother – She has has two roles in this movie. Role number #1 to act as the representative for the upper class. As she remarks on how people hang witches all the time and evil Esmeralda is in Notre Dame.

And role number #2 to talk about Fleur de Lys. That’s it. she is not very interesting and she is sort of annoying. Though I find her less annoying than Jehan.

She probably has the funniest line in the movie. After Phoebus makes his date with Esmeralda in guise of making her leave the square to show Fleur that he loves her. Fleur de Lys says “he loves me as I love me” to which Fleur’s Mother says “and as your father loved me.”

We’re done looking at the character stay tune for the next article on the 1956 version

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Fleur de Lys in the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame doesn’t have a big part, in fact she has a very small part as she in only in one scene and is only discussed in another. So she appears less in this movie than she does in the 1923 version. So why is she getting her own post?

Because I think she might be the most interesting and complex character in this movie. Which is a little sad.

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

At first glance, Fleur de Lys might be consider a bitch. She baits Phoebus into recognizing Esmeralda and then orders him to make her leave the public square to prove that he loves her. Of course he uses that chance to arrange a meeting with Esmeralda so the joke is on Fleur de Lys.

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

In her brief scene we know a few things about her, she loves Phoebus but is insecure and masks it but acting haughty, which I think is relatable. This also makes it believable when her mother says that she was deeply hurt by Phoebus‘ wanton behavior but that she also longs to see him. She is self-realized enough to know she is jealous but instead of letting it consume her, she confronts Phoebus. This make her not passive . Though her affections for Phoebus are a bit naive as she does believe that he chased Esmeralda as proof of his love and not used it as arranging a meeting.

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Perhaps being surrounded by characters that are less than 3-dimensional makes her seems more relatable and interesting than she is meant to be. Though maybe the beauty of her characterization is that she is only one scene so the film couldn’t muddle it. However for me she is most likable and the most real character in the movie.

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Next 1956 Article – The other characters that are there

Maurice Sarfati as Jehan, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Maurice Sarfati as Jehan, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

The 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the only times where Clopin and the Duke of Egypt are separate characters. He is a leader of the Court of Miracle and is the King of Beggars. His duties include preceding over the “King”of Fools” crowning, yelling “charity” at random points, hanging poets, leading the charge to save to Esmeralda and just hanging out.

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Clopin doesn’t really do too much in this film beside those things. He gets a few good lines here and there. He has respect for Esmeralda as he tries to convince Esmeralda that she is too good for Gringoire and he is there when she dies and begs for mercy on her behalf.

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Clopin also yells ‘charity” at various points which does get annoying but provides insight to the viewpoints of the common people and King Louis. So it’s an interesting mechanic but the way he says “charity” is really annoying and grating.

It would have been interesting if he had more of commentary on society or some kind of conviction like the 1939 version or Notre Dame de Paris but he really doesn’t. He is not even that entertaining, so he is kind of wasted.

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

He doesn’t have that much character to him and the movie isn’t to concerned with developing him as character and thus he is more of a mechanic for the plot.

But unlike other Clopins he doesn’t have heart and therefore for you can’t really feel for him and he is not that memorable.

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Next 1956 Article – Fleur de Lys

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame