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Since I took a survey of Architecture once in college this clearly makes me an expert in the subject. Every Monday in September the Hunchblog is going to look at the building behind the book Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.Follow thehunchblog
Hugo’s first novel major was successful Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), which was published in 1831 and was very successful. The novel shamed Paris into restoring the then neglected Cathedral which was attaching many tourist because of the Book. It also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which began to be actively preserved. So Notre Dame as tourist attraction is largely due to Hugo and the book
Builded you own 3D Puzzle of Notre Dame of Paris
In Victor Hugo’s original book, Notre Dame is more than just a setting. Notre Dame was character and the whole of Quasimodo’s universe. Quasimodo’s existent was so much engrained in Notre Dame that Quasimodo was essentially its soul.
Disney’s representation of Notre Dame of Paris in very much in opposition to the book. In the Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s just a building and its’ role is more like a prison than a sanctuary. Frollo arranged baby Quasi to live in the bell tower where he can be “locked away where no one else can see.” Quasimodo then dreams of getting out of Notre dame. Now in the book Quasimodo loved Notre Dame he didn’t want to leave it, he loved it. Esmeralda also tells the Court of Miracles that Quasimodo ” helped her escape from the Cathedral”. Notre dame is pegged as something that has to be escaped because it’s a prison. Which is why it’s odd when Phoebus makes his speech about Frollo declaring war on Notre Dame. Frollo seems to be an agent working with Notre Dame to keep people in, so why do people want to defend it? I think it just Frollo-hate on the part of the Parisians, I mean he did burn the city. And when Quasimodo declares santaury for Esmeralda. The movie presents it as prison not sanctuary so why is it so great for Esmeralda to have sanctuary? Really, that climix is contrived when it you think about.
My guess is original text had an attack of Notre Dame where Quasimodo defends it and Esmeralda from misidentified attackers and pours molten lead out the gutters and Disney really wanted to do that shot and that’s why they had to do it. But Notre Dame’s status in the story got lost among the 18 story writers. That’s right, 18 people worked on the story, there are not even 18 characters. It’s a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen. I think ultimately that the 18 writer are to blame for all the differences to characters and to plot and for making an important point of the book the role of Notre Dame from sanctuary to prison.
Next Time – Disney and the other movies associated with HunchbackFollow thehunchblog
I had said in my 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame review on setting, that movies shouldn’t take too much from Notre Dame’s structure as it’s changed a lot from it’s state from the time the story takes place to when Victor Hugo wrote the book to when Disney created the film.
First Disney makes Notre Dame much taller than it actually is. It’s a flaw but it not something to rage over. It’s just kind of laughable large. Another flaw that can be over looked is the all the exterior sculptures on the Cathedral are shown as plain, natural-colored stone. At the time the story is set, they were polychromatic – painted in colors. Again it can be overlooked because Notre Dame current look is so iconic that it would have looked strange to audience to have colors associated with the exterior. I can also overlook the square in front of Notre Dame also that wouldn’t have been there in 1400 but you can forgive.
The aspects of the depiction that I have a hard time overlooking is the how the sanctuary is depicted. In the scheme of Hunchback cartoons and movies it’s very accurate, there are some terrible representations of Notre Dame but the way it’s set up in the film is problematic. The Sanctuary is show once in the film during “God Help the Outcast”
Looking at Notre Dame’s set up and structure Notre Dame seems both bigger and smaller. Esmeralda strolls though the layout a a very leisurely pace yet the Cathedral seems more expansive than it is. She also isn’t impeded by the structure. At about at the 2:00 minute mark of the song, Esmeralda is seen walking in the side aisles and to her left there are columns. Then in the very next shot, Esmeralda is against a Fresco, with no columns in the shot. Which means Esmeralda needed to veer to another side of the column but she did not. So I guess the columns magically go away for a better shot. Also if her head in level with the fresco how tall is she? Because her height is really inconsistent and she’s bare foot and those Frescos are pretty high off the ground. Then this could be inconsistency. But do make the inside of the Church not in proper proportion.
Check out this website to see what I mean;
http://www.fromparis.com/virtual-tour-notre-dame/ click around to get a visual tour of Notre Dame
So getting back to what I said at the beginning of this about being careful not to copy Notre Dame in it current state to much is that after Victor Hugo wrote Notre Dame de Paris, the cathedral when though a massive changes. The statues that can be seen in Out There towards the end when Quasimodo talks “Ordinary Men” where add after the novel was written in 1831. Those statues are 12 apostles that adorned the spire. I don’t think I would mind this but Quasimodo motions to the statues as an examples of “ordinary men” The 12 Apostles are ordinary men Disney? Really? The fact the Disney used the statues as more than just Background but a visual aid is where I find fault.
Next Time – Major Differences between Disney and the BookFollow thehunchblog