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 11, Chapter 2, La Creature Bella Bianco Vestita

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City picture image

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City

We have two deaths in this chapter, Frollo and Esmeralda. Poor Esmeralda is hanged right in front of Frollo and Quasimodo. Frollo gives out a terrible laugh and Quasimodo pushes him off of Notre Dame. Frollo clings to a gutter, much like the Disney version, but he falls and lands on a roof. He finally dies when he fall of the roof and on to the pavement. The sight of Esmeralda and Frollo both dead it too much for Quasimodo and he utters “ Oh, all that I ever loved.”

 

The 1956 almost got it but it cuts to Monfaucon before the tragic line can be uttered. The 1977 version does play out this scene well to a point but it’s ruined with Gringoire being like “yay, I’m alive” and people dancing around while Esmeralda’s body swings on the gibblet and Frollo’s corpse litters the pavement. Notre Dame de Paris does this scene really well even thought the line isn’t said  but the emotional impact more than makes up for it.

 

Book 11, Chapter 3, Marriage of Phoebus

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour picture image

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour

This chapter give us closure on Gringoire and Phoebus. Gringoire saved Djali and wrote tragedies so he has a “punny” tragic ending. Phoebus wasn’t so lucky he got a tragic ending too but he got married. Victor Hugo at the time he wrote The Hunchback was unhappy in his marriage. After the birth of his youngest daughter, Adele, his wife ended their intimate relationship as she had a lover. Hugo also had a lover but he was he down on the institution.

The 1977 stupid dance at the end is actually Phoebus’ wedding and in Notre Dame de Paris Phoebus and Fleur de Lys exchange a look that indicates they are heading for marriage, so this chapter have been referred to in these versions.

 

Book 11, Chapter 4, Marriage of Quasimodo

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

Danse Mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris

This chapter always leaves me with a tear in my eye, it’s so bittersweet. After Esmeralda’s death Quasimodo disappears from Notre Dame. Roughly two years later at Monfaucon two skeletons are found in embrace one is Esmeralda and the other is Quasimodo. Quasimodo had sneaked in and laid down beside Esmeralda and died. As Quasimodo’s remains do not belong there, the men try to remove them but they crumbling to dust. Quasimodo crumbling to dust and erasing his existent from the Earth bring the them of Ananke full -circle.

So sad and quite lovely. One version has done this scene pretty much while another just hints at it. The one that did it was 1956 version, though we are just told about the the Quasimodo turning to dust. Instead we just see him settle down next to Esmeralda. It was done well. But Notre Dame de Paris which hints at it does this scene amazingly well. It because the song, Danse Mon Esmeralda, is so full of emotional impact that the tears just flow. It’s so sad …………….

We’re done, next week some final thoughts.

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.

A special version of Belle sung for Helene Segara. It was sung by her friends, family, fans and former cast members of Notre Dame de Paris. There are some very cute and silly lines that even my meager french skills picked up though subtitles helped ^_~.
It’s a very sweet video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7GwN8YVUuc

 

(on a way side note the person who posted this video has Little My from Moomins
as a avatar and that made me so happy ^^)

Helene Segara tears up.

Original Cast of Notre Dame de Paris wearing Silly Hats picture image

Original Cast of Notre Dame de Paris wearing Silly Hats

Fun Fact- The hat Julie Zenatti is wearing is a Notre Dame hat and Helene Segara is wearing the My Fair Lady hat

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)

Helene Segara as Esmeralda in the Prison dress Notre Dame de Paris design Fred Sathal picture image

Helene Segara as Esmeralda in the Prison dress design Fred Sathal Notre Dame de Paris

Here an idea for the lady who loves Notre Dame de Paris and wants to combine it into a ghoulish Halloween Costume.

Make the white dress she wears in the second act. I would suggest Butterick 5710 or Simplicity 1909 for the dress. Just add some flutter sleeve by cutting the sleeve bigger and gathering it along the shoulder and add ruffle to the bottom. Ruffle are easy to make. Click here for a tutorial. Of course you model after the Italian production which the dress was plain and white. I would suggest Simplicity 2247.

Then buy a fake nooseto either wear or carry add some undead make-up and voila a Ghoul Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda.

Varations – You could get a plain white chemise and be book Esmeralda or make a shredded version of the Notre Dame dress and apply some Zombie Makeup and be Zombie Esmeralda. A Zombie Esmeralda could also be a applied to the Disney version as well.

The Undead Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda is a costume I would make for Halloween.