Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

Do you know the old saying Dying is easy, Comedy is hard? That is so very, very true because what makes people sad is very universal but comedy differs person to person country to country, culture to culture.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

The French defiantly have their own style of humor. First off the like puns a.k.a witty use of their language. The French love their language. Now my command of French is terrible so I can’t say if they use any Puns in this movie. If you want a witty Pun loving French movie I would HIGHLY recommend Ridicule.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

The style of French humor that  Quasimodo d’El Paris uses the most it would be more cruel mockery directed at other people. Basically insulting people in over the tops ways. This style of perfectly suited for Hunchback since Quasimodo is an easy target. But the don’t just target him, after all Esmeralda can’t dance.

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

There is also the just plain excessive exageration, which is also a form of humor in other cultures notably in Asian ones. Frollo has a weird sense of exaggeration since he so dead-pan but very over the top about it. I sort of love that style of humor but it a weird on to pin down. I really like the dead pan devilry of “Let’s party”

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

The humor of Quasimodo  d’El Paris is very French in style so it’s understandable why other people may not like it but it fit the characters and the style of parody.

Vincent Elbaz as Phoebus, Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda & Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo Quasimodo d'el Paris picture image

Vincent Elbaz as Phoebus, Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda & Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

Esmeralda wears Red, Grrrrrr, now that’s out of our system we can move on.  Quasimodo d’El Paris uses a very old but readily easy to red color style, characters you are meant to sympathize with I.E like are all in warm colorful tones while the other less likable characters are in stark colors or black and white. This isn’t like a super hard and fast rule as with the example of Esmeralda/Agnes.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

As Agnes she wears white. I suppose you could simply make the conclusion that the rich people wear the stark colors and the poorer soul wear colors. While I’m on the subject of Esmeralda, the red doesn’t bother me as much in this movie’s case. For one reason she is not a Romani where that color has negative connotations. In this movie she is a Cuban and while I don’t know the Cuban’s stance of the color red I can say that  the red triangle in their flag stands for equality, fraternity and freedom, none of which are bad things. Second Esmeralda is a lot more free-spitted and doesn’t have that purity she had in the book. And lastly, if you watch this movie and I mean REALLY watch you can see other Cuban ladies wearing the same outfit. It’s like this red dress is standard issue in the Court of Miracles.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

It’s not just the characters that are set in the warmer tones, Notre Dame a.k.a the Cathedral of El Paris has a  more of an orange hue. The actual Notre Dame has a cooler taupe color while the movie’s Cathedral  is slightly warm in color. It’s not a dramatic difference of color but it’s notability in your mind.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

Quasimodo also wears warm colors, mostly orange but some times blue. The point is he wears colors. Likable characters and places get happy colors and not nice people get no colors. Though Frollo is traditionally suppose to be in black.

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

Just a side note about Frollo, his facial hair. This is the first time Frollo gets a any type of facial hair.  Oddly this type of facial hair is called a “Soul Patch.” It’s funny because he’s a priest trying to save people’s soul. It does make him look more sinister too. Otherwise his overall look is closest to Sir Cedric Hardwaicke from 1939 version, which is the standard Frollo movie look.

 

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

Unlike most every other version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, this one misses the Notre Dame. Instead we have El Paris and its by all accounts nameless cathedral. Now is it ultimately important that Notre Dame isn’t in the movie? I would say no, it’s not. Just because Notre Dame inspired the story it doesn’t change the fact that this movie is a parody but it is a little vexing that that cathedral really doesn’t have a name, Cathedral of El Paris really isn’t much of a name.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

In this movie the Cathedral is little more than a backdrop, half the time you really forget the movie takes place in the church, It’s either Quasimodo’s bedroom or  Frollo’s pad/ creepy lair. Any sense of the Church’s majesty jut isn’t there.

Then there is El Paris itself or The Paris. If there is some joke I’m not getting because my knowledge Spanish and French is limited at best than I concede it, I don’t understand the joke. But there is little to understand about El Paris as it seems normal except that Cuban population seems to live in restaurant. Really, I’m more confused about where the city is located. I would guess somewhere in Europe but who knows. It just not located in Cuba.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

Setting is a big point in any Hunchback version and here in this more they could have made it bigger point of interest as it’s a parody but all they did was give Quasimodo a childish bedroom and Frollo some weird decorated rooms.

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

Frollo in book is a repressed guy who has no experience dealing with women. As a devote man of god and science he value his purity and prides himself as being above the rest. His madness come out of his devotion. This can be said for Frollo in Quasimodo d’El Paris though in this movie Frollo is Bat-shit crazy. He is insane.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

What he does is murder women and turns there bodies in to gargoyle to adorn the church. He thinks these women are unhappy and this makes them happy.  He is not delusional he actually believes this is what his mission is, he even has an impressive and comedically over-the-top murder rig lair. This could be the plot of some dark gritty movie and not a comedic Hunchback movie.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

However given that this is a comedy Frollo is comedic. He really does embody the weird, and I mean weird comedic tone of the movie which is a cross of understated and over-the-top. You would this those styles don’t go together but oddly they do. I do want to discuss the humor more but three parts that illustrate this duality of humor are Frollo wishing Quasimodo Happy Birthday. He says Party time with a big gesture and a monotone expression, when he preaching the “Lord” message to the prostitutes, and when Quasimodo buries Frollo in the sand with only his head sticking out, actually the whole of the trip to beach should count.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

Howver the bigger question is how is Frollo at being Frollo. A point in this version of Frollo’s favor is that this is the only version where his and Quasimodo is closer to what it was more like in the book and by that I mean they like each other. So many version Frollo seems to hardly even like Quasimodo. In this version, Frollo likes Quasimodo nearly to obsession. He kisses hims calls him his baby, teaches him, builds up Quasimodo’s deadliness to protect him, busts him out of jail and he is totally ok with Quasimodo killing him. Like it’s nothing at all.

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda & Richard Berry as Frollo

Speaking of obsession, I do feel like Frollo’s obsession with Esmeralda is more of an after-thought. I mean he is already murdering women, he already has an outlet for his repression of sexual desires.  He does seem to like Esmeralda more and even want her to join him in his quest of murdering women. At this point Frollo says verbatium lines from the books. The lines are from ‘the tomb or my bed’ speech he gives her. While I do like it when Frollo gets to say his book lines, they felt rather forced, I don’t believe this Frollo would say these things or even believe those word, they felt out of character. Also another weird out of character mark for Frollo is his name. Yes it’s Frollo but his first name is Serge and not Claude. Why?

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d’El Paris

There is another aspect of this Frollo that is worth noting, he has a lot of weird phallic imagery associated with him. First of his middle finger. Frollo gives the finger  A LOT during this movie. Mostly the finger is a “Fuck you” but in Ancient times is was symbol for intercourse. Frollo is not JUST  giving the finger to people, his middle finger is also concealing a blade, another bit of phallic imagery. It does end there however, Frollo also has a pet eel. Other than more phallic imagery I don’t know what this means.

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

As he stands to book Frollo, this Frollo falls short especially with regard to his all-consuming lust for Esmeralda. It never really felt like it was a super big issue for him. In fact he really goes after Esmeralda because he wants to get Quasimodo out of jail and it was  revenge on her parents angle. So the lust really isn’t there as much as it could have been or should have been. In the scope of the movie hover his comedic insanity is fun to watch even though he is a mass murder.

Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Richard Berry as Frollo

I do have to give Richard Berry props for keeping both his middle finger very straight and up nearly the entire movie.

 

 

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

We have seen a lot of different characterizations of Quasimodo. Every adaptations changes him to suits their unique needs for their version of the story.  He has been morose, sad, naive, a bookworm, a Disney princess and even an emo  but Quasimodo d’El gives us a very new take on Quasimodo, unapologetically childish.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

Quasimodo in this version gets a more fleshed out back story. Like the case of the abysmal Enchanted Tales, which will forever haunt me, he is NOT born deformed. Instead he was born to rich mean people and Clopin cursed him on the day of his baptism. Basically his deformities are rooted in his awful parents dropping him face side down and throwing him agiast a wall. Then they abandon him and switch him with for pretty Esmeralda. Quasimodo is then brought to the cathedral where he is reared by Frollo.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

The plot of this movie really needs Quasimodo to be childlike and innocent as this makes people care for him on a subconscious level and so he himself is not aware that the “play’ he does with Frollo is actually murder. It’s actually rather clever.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

However there is a massive trade off. In book, the cathedral was everything to Quasimodo, it was his world till Esmeralda but this version the cathedral is more like a jungle-gym, a plaything. He just has fun playing around it. Also there is no depth to this Quasimodo but to the movie’s credits it knows this fact. The film calls him out for just thinking Esmeralda is pretty and doesn’t know her  much like the way he is treated but in reverse.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

So is this version of Quasimodo a bad one? Yes and No. I think for the movie’s plot and concept he works but as a Quasimodo there is no depth or development. He is  just very, very childish.

 

 

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

Quasimodo d’El Paris is a hard movie to sell. It’s a comedic modern re-telling of a tragic romantic-period book. The styles and tones are in opposition to each other. That is not to say there isn’t some silly scenes in the book but at the end of the day The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not a happy silly story. So what is the plot of this movie?

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Richard Berry as Frollo

Basically Quasimodo d’El Paris takes on a fairly simple story with some aspects of the book plot woven in. Very quickly, in a place, I’m guessing a Town, called El Paris there have been a slew of murders on women. People blame the Cubans a.k.a the outsiders but then they suspect the hunchback in the bell-town, Quasimodo. Quasimodo is really just an accessory to the murders as he just assists unknowingly. The real murder is Frollo, his care-taker. Frollo is doing these murders for the people’s savalation or something and hiding the bodies in gargoyle statues.  Frollo is really just bat-shit crazy in this movie.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

This is a hard plot to really analyze because it’s secondary. The whole of the movie is a gimmick, a novelty. I don’t even mean that in a bad way. It’s a silly modern Hunchback version, that’s its concept. The murder plot really just facilitates the Hunchback points and to be honest it gets confused towards at point like at the end. Like Quasimodo has Esmeralda in the Cathedral protecting her against her will, Frollo wants her, plus the the police outside want Esmeralda and Quasimodo but Frollo is protecting Quasimodo but wants him to give up Esmeralda. It’s just a little weird as the movie has present it, which could be the fault of editing.

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo & Melanie Thierry as Esmeralda

I don’t hate movie, I’m more confused by it, in terms of the style, humor and its take on the characters which was always the heart of the story.  So let’s just leave the plot behind since there was too much too it outside the hunchback bullet points and get to characters.

Next Time Quasimodo

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo  Quasimodo d'El Paris picture image

Patrick Timsit as Quasimodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I more than likely will discuss the Hunchback modernization later, as in what things worked and what didn’t. Though in all honestly I think a lot of the things the tweaked to bring it in to a modern setting did work.

 

 

When I was making a page on Frollos of Notre Dame de Paris (which I probably needs to updated or something), I was struck with how young the Italian cast was skewing on their casting for Frollo.

Vincenzo Nizzardo as Frollo  10th anniversary cast of the Italian Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Vincenzo Nizzardo as Frollo

For the 10th anniversary cast of the Italian Notre Dame de Paris, Vicenzo Nizzardo was casted and at the time he was roughly 25, so he is a good solid ten years younger than book Frollo. At the time was I off-put by this choice towards a younger Frollo but recently I have asked myself, Can we have a young Frollo?

Lemud Illustration of Frollo picture image

Lemud Illustration of Frollo

Frollo in the book is in his mid 30’s which for the 1400’s is considered old but more than that, he looks old. If I remember the book correctly, Frollo always looked older even when he in the height of youth.

Richard Harris as Frollo, 1997 The Hunchback picture image

Richard Harris as Frollo

Traditionally in films versions Frollo is played but an older man. Here is a list of the guys who have played Frollo and their ages when they played the role, (in the 23 and 39 version case I’m counting Jehan as the Frollo and I’m not counting cartoons versions.)

Walter Law (1917) – 41
Annesley Healy (1922) -N/A couldn’t find a birthday year
Brandon Hurst (1923) – 57
Sir Cedric Hardwicke (1939) – 46
Alan Cuny (1956) – 48
Kenneth Haigh (1977) – 46
Derek Jacobi (1982) -44
Richard Harris (1997) -67
Richard Berry (1999 parody) – 50

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

Jehan Frollo, Sir Cedric Hardwicke 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Movie Frollos have an estimated average age of 49 with a mean of 46 and a range of 41 to 67. That means, if I remember correctly and Frollo is about 36 years old that is 13 year differences between his book age and the average.

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

Richard Berry as Frollo

Hollywood and movie typically cast actors who are older than their roles, I mean Quasimodo is typically played but 40 years old when in the book he says he about 25 year, I should do a post of that someday because that is more irritating.

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

Derek Jacobi as Frollo, 1982 Hunchback of Notre Dame

So back to our original question, Can we have a young Frollo? I would say ideally it should be the best actor for the role but that doesn’t always work. Frollo should at the very least read older than the rest of the cast, especially Quasimodo and Esmeralda. So an actor who is at least in his upper twenties through his 40’s is perfect. What is really should come down to is the actor has a hard austere look. Having a Frollo with softer features robs the intensity from the character and if that means casting an actor who is younger so be it. I could forgive a movie that makes a Frollo that has ten year old difference with Quasimodo, as long as they make it clear he is the care giver and he has the right look.

Alan Rickman picture image

Alan Rickman

Benedict Cumberbatch picture image

Benedict Cumberbatch

Charles Dance picture image

Charles Dance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does this mean I think an actor who is older wouldn’t work for the role? No, I still maintain that Alan Rickman and Charles Dance would make great Frollos, though if they cast Benedict Cumberbatch that would be great too. Should find a  Non-Britsh actor for a recommendation for Frollo, geezes

What do you guys think? Would you be okay with a younger actor playing Frollo? Quite honestly I would just be happy with another film version.

This was too much math for one post, @@.

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.