Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame picture image

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Gringoire is another character that can be a lot of different things pending on the needs of the version. He can be the hero, comic relief, narrator or a useless poet.

The 1956 version of Gringoire is the useless poet variety. That’s not to say he isn’t enjoyable. He gets a few funny lines but not enough to say he is the comic relief.

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame picture image

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

So what does this Gringoire do in this version? Well, this Gringoire pretty much acts like he  does in the book. He write a play that no cares about, he knows Frollo, he is smitten with Esmeralda, he almost gets hanged and marries her but doesn’t push the relationship and is just happy  that she knows his name.  He does want to help save Esmeralda for the removal of sanctuary but he told to stay behind and so he writes instead. And we never see again.

His  character gets no resolution. I mean did he write that poem of the Court of Miracle’s victory with Jean as the hero? We’ll never know and I guess that makes him tragic.

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

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

All kidding a side, Gringoire’s depiction in this may keep to book with exception of the ending as he is not tricked by Frollo and doesn’t runs off with Djali but as he doesn’t do much that for the main plot we can’t connect with him.

He’s just a guy who goes with the flow, likes to write and hangs out with pretty ladies and goat. Maybe if we saw his reactions to Esmeralda’s death or if we saw him react to any of the drama it would have added to his character. So Gringoire is dull but he’s few silly lines make him slightly  enjoyable.

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

Next 1956 Article; Clopin

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

Philippe Clay as Clopin, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Jean Danet as Phoebus,1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Phoebus is a character that can fulfill many different niches. He can be a jerk or the love interest pending on the direction the version is taking.

The 1956 version of Phoebus is different, he is a sort of jerk but he does in fact care.

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

We first see Phoebus when he rescues Esmeralda from Quasimodo. He is, naturally, instantly attractive to her and proceeds to take her to an inn.  After he pays for the room Esmeralda runs off. This really doesn’t bother him all that much. The owner of the inn says that Esmeralda is too beautiful and wild  which is the kind of woman Phoebus always dreamed of.

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo, 1956 Hunchback  of Notre dame  picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

So it would seem that maybe Phoebus and Esmeralda could have worked out in this version if things had gone differently. I mean, yeah, he is engaged to Fleur de Lys and he seems to  like her enough. But Phoebus does tell Quasimodo that he wished he could have saved Esmeralda. So he does care for Esmeralda even if he is going to be with 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

I could be reading into this a little too much or maybe I’m giving this Phoebus too much credit but it seems to me that Phoebus might have chosen Esmeralda and merely just settled for Fleur de Lys. I think if that was made more apparent in the film it would have given Phoebus a bit more pathos which makes sense as this movie has Anankh has its basis.

Plus it would make the audience connect more to him. However as it stands, two lines makes Phoebus a deeper  and more interesting character than Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Frollo  which is sad but still two lines isn’t enough make him sympathetic.

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Jean Danet as Phoebus & Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda,1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Next Article on the 1956 version: Gringoire

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Robert Hirsch as Gringoire, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

 

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

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

Frollo is the one of the major players in the story as he is the one who gets the story moving. In a way a Hunchback version needs a Frollo that the audience can enjoy whether he is just a dark and twisted man or a tortured priest who is in conflict with his heart and his mind.

So how does the 1956 version hold up?

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

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

To the film’s credit this is the first time we see Frollo as a priest who practices alchemy and lusts after Esmeralda . Too bad he’s boring, I have seen pieces of toast more interesting than him. Much like this version’s depiction of Quasimodo, this Frollo fails.

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

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

First off, his looks. It’s not Cuny is ideally handsome but he is WAY too handsome to play Frollo. Frollo, while he isn’t suppose to be old, he is suppose to look austere not rugged. It doesn’t help the story when Frollo and Phoebus look like they could be the same fashion show.

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

Now this Frollo marks the first time we see Frollo as he was must to be; a tortured, lusty priest who practices alchemy on the side. The way Frollo showcases his torment in this movie is by scowling, hiding behind walls, and burying his face in this hands.

On the whole we don’t connect with his torment for Esmeralda. We get a few scenes where glares at her but we never see him bear his soul like Frollo does in the 1939 version or in Disney version.

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

The only scene that serve to show Frollo as a more than a pseudo tormented lusty priest is during Esmeralda’s trial where he sort of defends her without giving himself away as the real attacker. But he turns on her when she speaks of love and life.

Also Esmeralda says that during the trail he was the worst face of all so I guess that little scene didn’t have much of an impact the characters. But I guess it’s nice that they tried.

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

Like I have said Frollo should have a scene where he bears his soul. Whether it’s directly to Esmeralda or to audience, that is where his drama culminates. Keeping bottle up like this Frollo does adds nothing. The only “soul bearing” this Frollo does is he tell Esmeralda that she is his as he tries to force himself on her.

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

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

I feel rather cheated that this version has the right basis for Frollo but fails to make him interesting and engaging. The Jetlag version of Frollo has more interest than this one and that it is really saying something.

We really can’t feel any torment or conflict from this Frollo because I think the director doesn’t know how to convey it. So in the end we have a great set-up for Frollo but the execution fails to give the drama that the character is meant to bring to the story.

Next 1956 Article – Phoebus

Jean Danet as Phoebus, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture iamge

Jean Danet as Phoebus, 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

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

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

Gotta say the 1956 version of Quasimodo was quite a disappointment. For a version that works so hard to maintain the plot of the book it really failed with Quasimodo’s character.

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

 

First off this Quasimodo isn’t a Hunchback, he is a slouch-back. He stands up fairly straight. I’m not sure if was this was the director trying to make Quasimodo more human or Anthony Quinn being lazy. My guess this was the director’s decision and I don’t agree.

You can’t really have the Hunchback of Notre Dame without the Hunch. If the director wanted to humanize Quasimodo he could have done it with the make-up but I think he missed the point. The point of Quasimodo is he the most human character but he looks like a monster. Having him not have the hunch takes away a big part of his character instead of being deformed he is just ugly.  Although in the pillory scene you do see a hunch,  too bad it disappears when he puts his shirt back on.

 

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

 

That is not it though, Quasimodo’s personality is very watered down to point where I’m not quite sure if he has one. He makes comments about people being bad but he spends most of his time mumbling and giggling. He just comes off a childish but with zero charm or interest.

You don’t feel for him; his pain, his love, his despair, nothing. So when we get the the original ending to the book in a movie you can’t feel anything because you have sent two hours not feeling anything for the emotional core of the movie.

 

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) laying down next to Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) laying down next to Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The movie tries to make you feel for Quasimodo but due the performance you really can’t connect with this Quasimodo and that does weaken the second half of the movie. It’s like all the pieces are there to make an good Quasimodo but they don’t connect right and we’re left with a  half-form Quasimodo.

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) on the Pillory 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) on the Pillory 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

The only good thing to come from this Quasimodo is after Esmeralda gives him water he says ‘beautiful” or “Belle” and that inspired one of the greatest Hunchback songs ever.

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

 

Also why is Quasimodo holding a cat? What’s up with Hunchback versions instering cats into shots?

Next 1956 Article – Frollo

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

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

Today’s Fan-art was composed by me using the Heroine Creator on Azalea Dolls

It was inspired by Gina Lollobridga’s Esmeralda in the 1956 version.

Inspired by Gina Lollobridga's Esmeralda using the Heroine Creator on Azalea Dolls picture image

Inspired by Gina Lollobridga’s Esmeralda using the Heroine Creator on Azalea Dolls

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

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Without a doubt  this is Esmeralda’s movie. This is made very clear by her 3 minute long dance scene that only cuts away to Frollo staring at her but you can still see her in a reflection. Many consider the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame Esmeralda to be one of the best Esmeraldas.  Many feel she has the right look, grace and free-spirited nature that Esmeralda should have. I personally have a few issues with this version of Esmeralda.

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

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

First off, I feel like I’m being lied to with this Esmeralda.What she says and how she acts feel in opposition to how she looks and her mannerisms.  I feel like this Esmeralda was written to be played by a young actress but then Gina Lollobridga was cast and the sensuality was turn up.

Lollobridga reads too mature and sultry but then she tries to act innocence and carefree. I don’t believe her when she says that she “has never known men before.” I don’t buy it.

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

Although I admit, my issue with Esmeralda’s duality could be because of her costume. Color aside, her two main costumes age her. I will get to costumes in a later post  so I won’t so into too much detail but I feel the veil, the very define corset waistline and the 1950’s cat eye age her.

She looks far more believable as a young women when she in the simple prisoner shift at the end of the movie.

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

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Since Esmeralda is the main focus of this movie you would think that the dynamic between Esmeralda and Frollo would be really strong but Esmeralda and Frollo don’t really have many interactions with each other in this movie.

Esmeralda admits that she afraid of him but she seems to be more uncomfortable around him which robs the would-be drama from their interactions. It fact there scene are a pretty dull.

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

I think the dance scene sums up her character in this movie perfectly. She is  aloof, mysterious,  very sensual and slightly exuberant. I mean her personality is there I’m just not sure if it’s the costume, Lollobridga’s mannerism or her natural sex appeal that holds back this Esmeralda as being a great depiction of the character.

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

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida), 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Next 1956 Article – Quasimodo

Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo

Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo

 

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) gives Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) a drink, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) gives Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) a drink, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Much like the Jetlag version, the 1956 version of Hunchback follows the book pretty faithfully. Sure, they add things, remove things and combine things but this version is the most faithful  known movie version.

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

Anaykh craved on the wall, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

It starts with the theme of Anankh which they says means as “evil destiny.” Bit heavy-handed but at least it’s there in the movie.

 

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

From there the movie follows the book. We have the Feast of Fools, Gringoire’s failed morality play, Esmeralda dances, Frollo is a preist who stares, Quasimodo is named King of Fools, Clopin begs, the kidnapping, Gringoire and Esmeralda are married, Phoebus is a sort of jerk, Frollo practices alchemy Djali spells, and we get that vault ending where after Esmeralda dies and placed into the vault at MountFaucon Quasimodo goes in and lays down beside her to die.

 

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

 

Pretty much the plot of the book is let intact. Of course there are somethings that were changed. First one, no Sister Gudule and Esmeralda is a Romani. Not the  biggest change as movie versions either don’t use this plot or handles it poorly. The second is that Frollo’s confession jail scene and the red door scene are merged. Personally, I love the jail scene it gives Frollo more characterization and the 56 Frollo would have been enhanced by it but again not a big deal I just wish it had been there.

 

THe Court of Miracles carry Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) out of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

THe Court of Miracles carry Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) out of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

However one change that is big is the suspension of Sanctuary. In the book Frollo tells Gringoire that  Sanctuary is going to be suspended so that Esmeralda can be his power but this was a lie. However is turned into  reality when the Court of Miracles fell for it and rallied to save Esmeralda but the King thought that they wanted her death and then suspended it. In this version Frollo gets the King to suspended it and the Court tries to save her.  So the beggar are not tricked they try to save and they ultimately fail.

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

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

 

Unlike other  versions this is the first known version where Esmeralda dies. However unlike the book her death is different. As the Court of Miracles attacks Notre Dame and Quasimodo defends it, Esmeralda goes to the door and meets the Court. They triumphantly carry her out but then the King’s guard fire arrow at them. Esmeralda turns to run back inside Notre Dame but she is shot by an arrow and dies.

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

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

 

It’s admirable that this version follows the book pretty faithfully but like also like the Jetlag version it’s plague with problems that hinders the overall quality of the  movie.

 

 

Next Article for the 1956 version- the character starting with Esmeralda.

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

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

Much like the Jetlag version the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame directed by Jean Delannoy is considered one of the most faithful adaptations of the book. Even if it’s not 100% accurate this film captures the mood of the original book. Many consider Gina Lollobrigida’s interpretation of Esmeralda to be one of the most accurate deceptions of what a medieval Romani women would have looked like.

The film does take a lot of liberties with story and characters but did the changes that were made help the film? And is it actually a good and enjoyable movie on its own?

Next 1956 Article – Plot

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Note – There are two versions of this film; the French dub and the English dub. I have access to the English Dub

 

Esmeraldas of Hunchback of Notre Dame Miller, O'Hara, Lollobrigida, Down, Disney, Hayek, Segara, Thierry, Enchanted Tales

Miller, O’Hara, Lollobrigida, Down, Disney, Hayek, Segara, Thierry, Enchanted Tales

 

What Hunchback version is your favorite?

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As Esmeralda been adapted for different versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, she has wore red a lot.

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion picture image

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion

The first couple adaptations La Esmeralda (the opera and the Ballet)  her costumes has red details.

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831 picture image

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831

 

In 1839, Belgium Painter, Antoine Wiertz depicted her in all red.

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

In 1870 ballerina, Adelina Patti, is depicted in a costume with a red skirt. The Ballets runs the gambit of colors from blue to green to pink though red seems to be the popular color choice.

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870 picture image

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870

 

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not till we get to the movies that we see red surfacing as the dominate color for her. The 1923 movie has at least two instances of a colorized posters one is yellow and purple and the other has red details.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1939 despite Walter Plunkett’s design being mostly blue with red details and a red vest the coloration of her dress on a poster is all red.

Walter Plunkett design Costume for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Plunkett’s costume design for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though to be fair there are a few posters  where she wears green and blue, but there is more red.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1956 version Esmeralda wears all red for most of the movie.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

But I find it curious that she wears yellow at her ill-fated meeting with Phoebus over red.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1996 Disney version Esmeralda wears red during her dance performance but for most part she wears purple.  I do have to wonder if Anne-Marie Bardwell had something to do with Esmeralda wearing purple throughout the movie as she was  credited in Character Design/ Visual Development and one of the animators on Esmeralda.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Dancing

Though she wears red/dark pink in Der Glockner von Notre Dame the German musical.

 

Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

 

In Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda wears green but there is one red dress that was wore  for advertising for the London cast and the 2001 French cast. This dress is only wore once on stage in the Russian version during her meeting with Phoebus. And even in the 2010/2011 concerts Helene Segara wore red to sing the musical.

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Castpicture image

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Cast

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert picture image

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently in the new illustration novel by Benjamin Lacombe and the  Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide, Esmeralda wears red.

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide picture image

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at all these instances, why is red her default color? Is it because green is too obvious for her given that her name means Emerald and red is opposite color to green making it the non-obvious choice? Seems a rather simplistic design notion for a costume, especially when one thinks that the color red is in total opposition to her as character.

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani picture image

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani

 

The color red typically is associated in Western cultural with  passion, desire, love and sexuality. Esmeralda’s personality is lighthearted, innocent, naive and modest. She doesn’t seem the type character to outwardly express her sexuality because even though she inspires desire in others, she herself is unaware of it.

Red is also in opposition of Esmeralda’s allegorical role as the Virgin Mary who traditionally wears either wears blue or turquoise.

Red also seems to age Esmeralda, her main point of interest in the novel is her youth, blue and green are more youthful colors but red comes off as mature.

Finally in the Romani culture, red is a color of ill omen as it’s associated with Blood (The Lure of the Gypsy Culture ) Though maybe the costume is meant her to  be ironic like she is subconsciously giving her in to tragic fate, though she lives more often than she dies and I don’t think the costume designers are that clever or that cerebral.

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast picture image

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast

 

However, maybe this whole matter is quite simple, does Esmeralda wear red in the book?
In the book there are  only a few instances where her clothing is described. When Gringoire first sees her, she is wearing a golden bodice (Book 2 chapter 3 Kisses for Blows) Frollo mentions that she wears blue when he first saw her dance (Book 8 chapter 4 Lasciate Ogni Speranza) and of course she wears white in the later part of the story when she condemn to die and brought into Notre Dame.

I think there maybe an instance of her wearing a multicolored skirt but I can’t find the instance in the book and her necklace that contains her baby shoe is stung with red seed beads,  other that she does not wear red. So why is she in red since red is in total opposition to her as character and there is no precedence for it in the novel.

Auguste Couder's Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus picture image

Auguste Couder’s Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus

If Esmeralda doesn’t wear in the book and it’s a color that is against every aspect of her character why does red seem to be the color of choice for her.

One reason I think is red is an easy color choice to make for when a character is suppose to stand out and be thought as desirable. There might be another level, Esmeralda is a Gypsy, this gives her an sense of exoticism and one popular style of art in the 19th century was Orientalism. Orientalism in art meant depicted exotic sense from place that were exotic to Europeans. The paintings use a lot of rich colors and a lot of red especially for women.

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye picture image

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye

 

So her being in red could mean that the costume designers are saying Esmeralda is an exotic beauty who is sexual desirable even though Victor Hugo meant for Esmeralda to work against the stereotype, why else would he have Gringoire said this to Frollo about her;

I certainly  consider it a great rarity to find such nun-like prudery fiercely maintained in the midst of those gipsy girls, who are so easily tamed” (Book 7, chapter 2). Esmeralda’s purity is part of her allure and to have her wearing red more less bastardizes the point of  her character

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Red is just the wrong color for Esmeralda as a character and is it far too over done to be her dominant color anymore, details are fine but it’s too much red  but in over 170 years worth of adaptations it has become a boring cliche. I think this  is a cliche that need to at very least ebb. Costume designers of newer Hunchback adaptions if you read this please consider using different colors and if you must use red make it details or at the very least  try a different tone it doesn’t always have to fire engine red.

Esmeralda and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda mocks Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame