Garou Helene Segara Quasimodo and Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

 

One of Notre Dame de Paris‘ core weaknesses is the way it presents the story. The narrative is very patchy and filled with a lot little gaps. To really understand what is happening you have to know that story before going into it.

 garou Bruno Pelletier Gringoire spotting Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Gringoire spotting Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools

 

For instance it takes seven songs for the story to get to the beginning of the book. Before that it’s all set-up plus a few lines that marginally tell us about the characters. But seven songs for the Feast of Fools to start. And the plot kind of trots at weird pace, giving us the bare minimum to get to the plot points

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda,Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Notre Dame de Paris Ending

However the larger point of the musical isn’t so much to tell the story of Hunchback, as I suspect the creators were under the impression that the audience already knew the story prior to seeing it but the to tell the emotions of the story which the musical does very well. The emotions in this musical are like that of The Phantom of the Opera, over-the-fucking-top, I still get misty eyed during Danse Mon Esmeralda. Does that excuse the musical for some of its jarring weirdness?

 Luc Merville Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Clopin and the Court of miracles and the Attack of Notre Dame

Nope. I don’t care how emotional effective the songs are, so many of the transitions from emotion to pivotal story points are down right jarring. For instance to get from Phoebus’ song, Dechire, when he sings about two ladies wanting him to Quasimodo’s punishment we have the bridge song Anarkia which is 42 seconds to explain Gringoire being married, the word “Ankaria” and then OMG look it’s Quasimodo, let’s go check that out. Or how about going from the lovely song where Esmeralda sings about wanting to live to BAM attack on Notre Dame. And for the record Notre Dame de Paris sports a very sloppy hastily done attack scene. First off Quasimodo is not around, Frollo can just end sanctuary and I’m unclear if Clopin and the court of miracles are defending Notre Dame or attacking it.

Daniel Lavoie Frollo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Frollo

 

Despite the narrative weakness, Notre Dame de Paris is faithful in some ways to the book. For instant the fate of the characters is all on point and this is the best portrayal of Frollo in any version outside the book, even better than the opera that Hugo himself wrote the lyrics to.

 Garou Helene Segara Quasimodo and Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

It is easy to over look the weak story telling of Notre Dame de Paris because you do get lost in the big emotions. Does that make it ok? No, but thank goodness the musical is so powerful, that is its very mighty strength.

Next Time – Differences between the book and the musical, (I wrote them once for my Hubpage, so outline, done)

Helene Segara as Esmeralda and Daniel Lavoie as Frollo NOtre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda and Frollo

We finished reading/blogging about the Novel of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I hoped you guys found it enjoyable, sorry it took so long, so many chapters.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read this, at least four all the way through. Reading this time I found some flaws with the book. Like it’s very slow to start and Hugo bogs down the narrative with a lot of names of people that don’t matter in the scheme of things. Is this bad? No, not really, it’s a style but once you get through Hugo’s essays and long descriptions of Paris and the plot finally gets going the book is great.

Notre Dame de Paris Belle Esmeralda Helen Segara, Garou Quaismodo, Frollo Daniel Lavoie Phoebus Patrick fiori picture image

Notre Dame de Paris Belle with Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Patrick Fiori and Helene Segara

I love how in some parts the book are a bit silly and how other parts are so tragic, so many emotions and for the most part the movie get the emotional resonants of book but they really do just focus on Quasimodo’s emotions and not Frollo.

I think it’s understandable why, at the end Quasimodo is just more likable and understandably tragic. I just wish Frollo got as much time with his core emotional scenes as Quasimodo gets. To do that some actor would need to spear-head that vanity-project with himself as Frollo and not Quasimodo.

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire

 

I think what a lot of version miss is the madness of the time, that is why Frollo original lie about sanctuary being dispelled is so important. It started off small and then exploded leading to the death a of great many people including most of the main characters. Films should try to work it in better instead not at all. The book isn’t so long that a film couldn’t add it but a mini-series would be better, like by the BBC, they do good work.

All in all the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a great book to read  even if you just skim parts and/or skip the essays and a bird-eye view of Paris. It really paints a great picture of the late medieval period and has a great range of emotions.

Book 9, Chapter 4, Earthenware and Crystal

Esmeralda Maureen O'Hara 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Maureen O’Hara 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

This chapter features a lot more interactions between Esmeralda and Quasimodo. He gives her a caged bird. One important interaction is Quasimodo tries to get Phoebus to come to Notre Dame to see Esmeralda. Poor Quasimodo waits around till 1am as Phoebus is at a pre-wedding party. Phoebus also doesn’t come because he believes Esmeralda to be dead. Quasimodo failing this task cause him to limit his interactions with Esmeralda. He then tries to convince her that his love for her is better than her dreams of Phoebus. He does this by singing to her and with a visual of two vases, one beautiful crystal that is cracked so the flowers are withered and one earthenware which is course and common but it retains the water leaving beautiful flowers. Esmeralda choices the wither flower from the crystal vase. You don’t have to be an English major to get the imaginary of the vase, Phoebus is the Crystal and Quasimodo is the earthenware. After that Quasimodo doesn’t interact with Esmeralda directly which is okay with but he sleeps outside her cell.

This chapter has been done in parts in movies, mainly in the Quasimodo getting Phoebus for Esmeralda. Sometimes he offers to get him like in the book and sometimes Esmeralda makes him go. The caged bird is seen sometimes. He also tries to tell Esmeralda that he loves her but can’t. This chapter also gives use the famous “ Oh, why am I not made of stone, like you.” Which is said to a grotesque image carved on a wall and not a gargoyle. I suppose gargoyles are more dramatic for a movie.

No movie that I know has done the vases. This because it relies on Esmeralda being shallow and naive and the movie versions at this point grow her up where she accepts Quasimodo as at least a friend.

All in all, it’s a good interesting chapter.

Book 9, Chapter 5, The Key to the Porte-Rouge

 

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Notre Dame de Paris

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Notre Dame de Paris

This chapter is Frollo learning that both Esmeralda and Phoebus are alive and thus is torment begins anew. He spends his time locked away and realizes he is jealous of Quasimodo. Then one night he can’t take his lust any more he head over to where Esmeralda is.

This is never done in the movie versions. If Frollo goes to Esmeralda it’s less pre-mediated or we just never see as Frollo isn’t the focus.

 

 

Book 9, Chapter 6, The Key to the Porte-Rouge (continued)

 

Derek Jacobi as Frollo & Lesley-Anne Down as Esmeralda, 1982 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Derek Jacobi as Frollo & Lesley-Anne Down as Esmeralda, 1982 Hunchback of Notre Dame

In this chapter Frollo tires to force himself on Esmeralda. Esmeralda is saved when she find the whistle that Quasimodo left her in chapter 3 of book 9, Deaf. Quasimodo attack Frollo but when he sees it’s Frollo he tells Frollo to kill him with the knife but Esmeralda grabs it first. Frollo isn’t too happy now.

You do sometimes see this scene in the movie, like in 1923, 1956, 1977, and the1982. It seldom ever played out perfect though I think the 1977 version is the closest.

Book 8, Chapter 4, Lasciate Ogni Speranza

Helene Segara as Esmerada & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, un matin tu dansais  from Notre Dame de Paris   picture image

Helene Segara as Esmerada & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, un matin tu dansais from Notre Dame de Paris

This is my favorite chapter in the whole book. This is where Frollo confesses his twisted love to Esmeralda and she rejects him. Pretty much everything so far as boiled down to this chapter. It just such a rich quotable monologue for Frollo and I do like how Esmeralda doesn’t pity him and doesn’t except his “love.”

I love quote, “tis madness to halt midway in the monstrous,My version of the hunchback is a slight variation of this but I still remember this wording from the first time I read the book.

So things of interest, Esmeralda was in that cell for a while, in fact in book 8 chapter 6, it says that her execution is in May but the crime was in March, so pending on the trial this makes her jail time at least a good month.

Also Frollo clearly says that she wore blue when he first saw her dancing. To my knowledge, black and white versions aside, Esmeralda has only been depicted in blue once in a movie. And you know what that version was, freaking Secret of the Hunchback! She also wore a little teal accent in the Disney but it was mostly purple which is better than red. Oh, wait, she wore blue in the 1982 version in the first half, then again 1982 Esmeralda is timid and hates dancing so not a strong character depiction there.

I don’t mean to harp on the color of Esmeralda’s costumes, after all I wrote a long post on the matter two years ago, which you can read here, but it’s right there filmmakers. Then agin, filmmakers tends to gloss over this scene which makes me sad.

No film version has ever given this scene the depiction I think it deserve, some come close but of the versions I have seen, I think Notre Dame de Paris
is best.

The opera La Esmeralda does this scene well but libertto was written but Hugo himself and it hasn’t performed as an full opera since like 1836, people didn’t like it. I also know Der Glockner von Notre Dame had this scene in it but I have seen it and I can’t recall the script that I read ages ago.

I hope there is some adaptation someday that will do this scene right because it would be amazing.

Book 8, Chapter 5, The Mother

Sister Gudule (Gladys Brockwell) Hunchback Notre Dame 1923 picture image

Sister Gudule (Gladys Brockwell) Hunchback Notre Dame 1923

This is another Sister Gudule focus chapter. It’s her lamenting her daughter and learning of Esmeralda’s impending death, which makes her happy.

Now this chapter may seem trivial but it’s not. In this chapter she asks god to let her see her daughter if only for a moment. It’s a case of be careful of word choice. The larger implications of this chapter will come up later.

It’s really a shame only like two versions have touched on Gudule and one didn’t handle it well at all (the 1923 version) and they one is really, really badly done (the dingo version).

Book 8, Chapter 6, Three Men’s Hearts, Differently Constituted

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

Quasimodo declares Sanctuary for Esmeralda

This chapter is the big one for many of a film, Esmeralda execution and recuse by Quasimodo. What we really see in this chapter is Phoebus, Frollo, and Quasimodo’s true feeling about Esmeralda as indicated by the title.

Phoebus is done with her and believes she bewitched him, his stance is I don’t care. Frollo cares but he would rather have her die if she won’t be his alone, his is selfish lust. Quasimodo saves her for no other reason than he doesn’t want her to die, his unselfish love.

This is an epic scene, no question, especially at the end. Although Quasimodo never swings down from Notre Dame and recuse Esmeralda from giblet only to swing back up on to Notre Dame.

Instead he climbs down while Esmeralda is in front of Notre Dame and grabs her and run into the cathedral. Some version opt for the impossible feat of swinging down off the church and swinging back, makes it more epic for a film. These version include the Disney version, the 1939, the 1986 and the 1997. The 1923 and the 1956 do the drop down in front of Notre Dame and run in. The 1982 is a mixture, as Quasimodo swings down but runs into Notre Dame. And the 1977 version has Quasimodo walk up to the pillory, save her and runs back.

The scene ends with Quasimodo declaring sanctuary for Esmeralda and showing off his rescues to the happy crowd. Many versions do this, some don’t which is a little weird. Or in the case of the 1956 version, they should have either cut it or not have had that awkward fade. Because it really shoehorned in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsSH9ifRwds

 

Every so often, the original French trio of Belle, Garou, Daniel Lavoie and Patrick Fiori, sing Belle. It’s alway nice to see and and hear Belle sung by these three.  I love how Lavoie is hold his hand like he did in the show.

Get the original version of Belle sung by these three here, I love this song

In the realm of Hunchback we know that Quasimodo will (or should) be ugly and deformed and Esmeralda should be pretty, these are truth in in the novel, they have set looks. Frollo, while he does have a set look in the novel and is supposed to have an austere harsh look gets a wide variety of looks in the movies.   So today we’re are going to look at some Frollo’s various hair styles.

Frollo’s hair in the book is balding. he had tuff of ugly gray hair on the side which give him a natural tonsure. Movie never go for this look

Jehan 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Brandon Hurst picture image

Jehan 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Brandon Hurst

In the 1923 we have two Frollo, Pious Claude and Jerk Jehan. Jehan has black hair that  goes to ears and he also seen wearing a bowler-like hat. Claude has  sepia color. He has a receding hair line.

 

Jehan Frollo (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Jehan Frollo, Sir Cedric Hardwicke 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

In the 1939 version we again have Pious Claude and Jerk Jehan. Jehan has black hair that is a straight cut across his forehead. He has lock that curl on the side his face. Claude has white hair and he wears a bishop hat.

 

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

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

In the 1956 version, Frollo has a full-head of brown hair. He keeps it short.

 

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame

In the 1977, Frollo has the brown hair with a straight bang line.

Derek Jacobi as Frollo, 1982 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Derek Jacobi as Frollo, 1982 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

In the 1982, Frollo hair at is at it’s most stupid. It’s a blond bowl cut.

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Frollo singing Hellfire Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

In the Disney version, Frollo has the same cut of 1939 Jehan but with gray hair. His bangs cut straight along the center of his forehead and then it recedes.

 

Richard Harris as Frollo, 1997 The Hunchback picture image

Richard Harris as Frollo

In the 1997, he is bald.

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Notre Dame de Paris picture  image

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo Notre Dame de Paris

 

In original Notre Dame de Paris version, he has very short brown hair.

 

Richard Berry as Frollo 1999 Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo 1999 Quasimodo d’el Paris

In the 1999  parody version, Quasimodo d’El Paris, he has short black hair with long thin sideburns.

 

Frollo’s look in the movies (and musicals) are very different than the novel but they seem based Frollo’s look on the past movies than on the novel.

 

 

Garou and Daniel Lavoie sing Belle at the International Jazz festival on June 28th 2013. They split Phoebus’ verse. It’s a great version of the song very soft. They have great chemistry. They also sing   Je voudrais voir New York, which is very nice too

Paul Daraiche, Daniel Lavoie, and Bruno Pelletier performing Belle on June 25th 2013 at FrancoFolies de Montréal 2013. I love it when Bruno Pelletier performs this song.

Garou and Daniel Lavoie  sing “The Christmas Song” It’s a very nice rendition.

Garou and Daniel Lavoie played Quasimodo and Frollo receptivity in the original French of Notre Dame de Paris.

Today “Fan-art” is a screen shot from a music video I made to Notre Dame de Paris back in July.

Screencap from a Notre Dame de Paris Fan Video  picture image

Screencap from a Notre Dame de Paris Fan Video

You only see it for a few frames to emphasize a beat but I liked the effect so I took a screenshot while I was editing it. So this was done with a two layers one with the dazzle effect and the other layer has a mask. There is also a angle and a zoom of the clips.

Watch the video here (not my best editing but NDdP isn’t easy to edit to when the song has strong beats)