To be perfectly honest, I could have just had one post on the characters from the 1986 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame as there is just not that much to the main characters and even less to side characters. However for whatever reason, I really just wanted to discuss this Frollo.
This Frollo isn’t exactly interesting, I mean he’s a pale intimation of book and even the Disney version but this Frollo navigates the thin line that kid movies Frollo must walk. The line between obession, lust and being “kid-friendly.” Disney Frollo got any with this because in addition to wanting to bone Esmeralda he covered it by being mad at her and that is what the 1986 Frollo does except he is not as explicit in his desires as the Disney verion.
So unlike the Disney version, the 1986 version is a priest which is probably why he is less direct about his wants as with a priest they need to tone it down. Pious Judges can get away with a bit more. Also like in the book, 86 Frollo has his creepy cell, though in this version it’s underground like in a crypt. Ok… that’s a weird change but whatever at least he has one. But unlike other Frollos the most specific this Frollo gets with his desire towards Esmeralda is that she fills him with dreams and makes him feel things.
What these dreams and feelings are we don’t know. I assume they are romantic-ish……. romantic is odd word for Frollo but I just don’t get the crazed madding lust from this version. I get he is annoyed with her but in any case it’s very toned down.
Frollo wants her in his care but what that entails for this Frollo is a mystery. I’m not sure if he wants teach her religion or have sex with her. Actually he wants her to repent and accept his guidance, which is a boring motivation for a Frollo. No lust, no torment, no interest.
In addition to being a sort of Diet version Frollo, this Frollo like spout off exposition because someone has to do it. He lets us know that Quasimodo is deaf but the most awkward one is when him is cursing Quasimodo while he saving Esmeralda. He says something like “curse the deformed monstrosity I adopted and raised all these years.” Prior to that we didn’t know the nature of their relationship. It’s weird for it to come out more than half way through the movie but at least they mentioned it, I guess.
The real head scratcher, at least for me, is that he wears red. Why? Oddly, he’s not the only Frollo to wear red, the Dingo version also has red-cladded Frollo. Siting the Dingo version is not high praise. Frollo wears black, that his character, the end.
It is sort of interesting to see a water-down, “kid- friendly,” diet Frollo who follows the book for most of the part minus all the depressing stuff. Though this Frollo missed the mark of being interesting as character. And why Red? Come on! Why does Hunchback try to make me hate red, I don’t.
Next Time – The Others