Book 2 of Benjamin Lacombe’s Graphic Novel version of Notre Dame de Paris comes out in December in France. Here is a picture of Esmeralda with Sister Gudule.
In my Gringoire review, I said that the 1923 version of Hunchback adhere too much to the book that is it is detrimental to the film and while it’s true with Gringoire, it’s even more true with the addition of Sister Gudule. Her being in this movie makes not sense to anything and it doesn’t add anything to the story.
Ok, if you have read the book you would know who Gudule is. She is Esmeralda’s biological mother and is a french women from Rheims. She is in very few versions of Hunchback since she takes some of Esmeralda’s mystery away. However, in the story Gudule is part of the whole dark/tragic destiny theme. In the 1923 version she adds nothing.
So what does Sister Gudule do in this movie apart from nothing? Like in the book she is a recluse who lives in a basement. She hates Esmeralda and yells at her through a window. Shortly after she is introduced we’re are given her backstory about how her beloved little daughter was stolen by gypsies and how she prays for her child’s return while her child’s little shoe to comfort her. Unlike in the book, Gudule was a noble and gave Esmeralda a necklace which Esmeralda still wears. So Esmeralda is really a noble this whole time.
The next time we see her she is yelling at Esmeralda while Quasimodo is being whipped and we see Esmeralda is afraid of her. She tells Esmeralda that she should be whip instead of Quasimodo.
The last time we Gudule is when Esmeralda is being taken to be hanged. She runs up to the wagon and grabs her and manages to pull of Esmeralda’s necklace. She then realizes that it is the same necklace and instead of thinking that the gypsies stole off her daughter and gave it to another little girl she just happens to know that Esmeralda is her daughter. She tries to help by walking a few paces but then dies. And that’s it.
The mere fact that Esmeralda is never made aware of her mother makes Gudule pointless to the story. It’s all build up for a necklace and a scene where a woman dies. More than that Gudule scenes can be edited out so easily. If you look at the Gudule part during the pillory scene, Esmeralda walks in and Gudule yell at her. Esmeralda walks off in a panic but in the very next shot Esmeralda is calm, like whole interaction never occurred. Maybe Gudule yelling made her empathic to Quasimodo but she was empathic already as evident by her saving Gringoire.
So she does nothing. She just pads out the movies. If the movie had a more tragic tone she might have worked but the movie isn’t tragic. To be fair maybe in 1923 this film was a considered a tragedy which would justify Gudule but it’s also considered a horror so I guess this movie has some genre confusion. Either way Gudule was wasted.
Next Time; The OthersFollow thehunchblog
Dom Claude in the 1923 version of Hunchback represents the religious aspect of Frollo’s character. He is also the brother of the evil Jehan though they don’t interact much. In fact if it wasn’t for a few text cards you wouldn’t really even know. In the 1939 version the brothers actually had scenes together.
Basically this guy is a saint. He’s kind and sticks up for the little guys i.e. Quasimodo and Esmeralda. In fact despite Quasimodo being Jehan’s “Slave” Quasimodo spends more screen time with Dom Claude and generally seems to like Claude better.
He is also well respected. This is proven by Clopin’s interaction with him where Clopin seem to back down to him.
Basically his ONLY function in this film is to give plot exposition because after it has to go somewhere.
Next Time; Sister Gudule or “Godule” as she is creditedFollow thehunchblog
Astrological Zodiac with corresponding Hunchback character find which character you are. I’m Master Florain the deaf judge who is too vain to admit he’s deaf…… not sure how I feel about that. (For this I ignored the characters birthdays since two are mentioned in the book and I also based this off the book)
Aries – Phoebus (March 21-April 19)
Pros – Independent, Generous, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Courageous
Cons – Moody, Short tempered, Self-involved, Impulsive, Impatient
Taurus -Jehan (April 20 – May 20)
Pros – Dependable, Persistent, Loyal, Patient, Generous
Cons – Stubborn, Laziness, Possessive, Materialistic, Self-indulging
Gemini -Esmeralda (May 21-June 20)
Pros- Energetic, Clever, Imaginative, Witty, Adaptable
Con- Superficial, Impulsive, Restless, Devious, Indecisive
Cancer -Quasimodo (June 21 -July 22)
Pros -Loyalty, Dependable, Caring, Adaptable, Responsive
Cons – Moody, Clingy, Self-pitying, Oversensitive, Self-absorbed
Leo -Fleur de Lys (July 23 -Aug 22)
Pros – Confident, Ambitious, Generous, Loyal, Encouraging
Cons -Pretentious, Domineering, Melodramatic, Stubborn, Vain
Virgo -Clopin (Aug 23- Sept 22)
Pros -Analytical, Observant, Helpful, Reliable, Precise
Cons -Skeptical, Fussy, Inflexible, Cold, Interfering
Libra – Master Florian (Sept 23 – Oct 22)
Pros – Diplomatic, Graceful, Peaceful, Idealistic, Hospitable
Cons – Superficial, Vain, Indecisive, Unreliable
Scorpio – Frollo (Oct 23 – Nov 21)
Pros -Loyal, Passionate, Resourceful, Observant, Dynamic
Cons -Jealous, Obsessive, Suspicious, Manipulative, Unyielding
Sagittarius -Djali (Nov 22 – Dec 21)
Pros – Independence
Cons – Unemotional
Capricorn – Louis (Dec 22 – Jan 19)
Pros – Responsible, Patient, Ambitious, Resourceful, Loyal
Cons -Dictatorial, Inhibited, Conceited, Distrusting, Unimaginative
Aquarius -Gringoire (Jan 20 – Feb 18)
Pros -Witty, Clever, Humanitarian, Inventive, Original
Cons -Stubborn, Unemotional, Sarcastic, Rebellious, Aloof
Pieces -Sister Gudule (Feb 19 – March 20)
Pros – Compassionate, Adaptable, Accepting, Devoted, Imaginative
Cons – Oversensitive, Indecisive, Self-pitying, Lazy, Escapist
Which character is your Zodiac Sign?Follow thehunchblog
There are three basic problems with the plot the 1923 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame; its strong adherence to parts that don’t make any sense in the scope of the movie, the changes that had to be made to appease the almighty censors, and Lon Chaney.
The last problem really isn’t a problem but if you watch the opening scene you can see what I mean. The opening scene starts with the Feast of Fool and then it cuts away to Lon Chaney as Quasimodo basically mocking people from atop Notre Dame. I do appreciate that this is the only version to have Quasimodo that has a basic dislike for people like he does in the book which this scene shows nicely but to just an awkward way to introduce Lon Chaney as Quasimodo to the viewers and it ruins the pacing and makes the beginning boring.
The second issue has to do with censorship laws of the time. The law that pertains to Hunchback is a movie couldn’t cast a priest in a negative light, meaning we can’t have a Priest lusting after a women. So much like the 1939 the role of the Frollo sinner is cast on the “Jehan” character the “Claude” character is the saintly priest. Unlike the 1939 version Jehan in this version has no reason why he can’t make a straight up move on Esmeralda. Nothing is stopping him; no conflict of her being a Gypsy or no implied religious morality getting in the way. He’s just a coward with no real personality or motivation.
There is no confliction for this Jehan so there is no interest. The plot of the book is hinged on Frollo’s obsession with Esmeralda so if there is no torment where does the interest to the plot lie? Well in this case the interest to the plot is Lon Chaney’s Quasimodo, so back to that issue, remember this film started the “Quasimodo is main character” mentality that the many of the films buy in to .
The finally issue is a weird one to be an issue because when we compare movies to book there is a part of us that wishes that the movie would follow the book perfectly and we get up annoy by what the movie misses or adds. However it is hard to make a movie follow the book perfectly as they are two different median for story telling. One aspect of the book that I wish made into more movies is the Sister Gudule sub-plot. Sister Gudule is Esmeralda’s mother. The 1923 version is one of the few version to have this sub-plot however it goes no where. We get the back story of how Esmeralda was taken and we see Gudule curse her and then as Esmeralda is about to die Gudule realizes Esmeralda is her child and then I guess she dies. So Esmeralda doesn’t learn this, it amounts to nothing. It was just there because it was in the book but if Esmeralda doesn’t learns this and where is the emotion in the end what was the point?
Another sub-plot that was added was this division of the nobel and the poor. Now this was a bigger point in the 1939 version here’s it amount to one scene where Phoebus brings Esmeralda to a party and he dresses up and tries to pass her off as a Princess and the party is broken up by Clopin and Esmeralda sadly rejects Phoebus. Like Gudule, these scene that revolve around the classes don’t add to very much to the over all plot
It’s not that entire plot and pacing of the 1923 version is bad it’s just following the book too closely wrecked the pacing and the removal of Frollo’s torment ruins the emotional intensity. The “Chaney being forced” to the audiences was just the opening so it wasn’t a major problem but it’s the reason why the film doesn’t have a very strong opening scene.
Next Time- Characters starting with Quasimodo
Which Notre Dame Character would win in race a la Mario Kart , car racing with random weapons and weird tracks. (based on book)
I would say that Quasimdo wouldn’t because of his vision. Frollo would just follow Esmeralda so he wouldn’t win. Sister Gudule won’t win either because she too busy looking for her baby. Jehan could win but he would try to aim for coins and prizes. Esmeralda could win as she quick but she is flighty too and might get distracted by Phoebus. Gringoire might do well but he also might get distracted. Phoebus could win because he’s a no-good cheater but he might let a lady win you know in order to sleep with them later. Clopin could win but like Jehan he might go after coins and prizes. Djali could do well as she a very talented goat but I would say Fleur de Lys would win most of the time because she is cold calculating bitch who always win, let’s not forget she’s the only character in the book to have a “happy ending.”
Which Hunchback do you think would win in a battle royale kart race? I chose the book but feel free to use Disney in your response ^^
Another Minor/major Characters is Quasimodo’s nameless mother (voiced by Mary Kay Bergman). She’s not in the film long but she’s quite important.
Very little is know about her other than she’s a Gypsy, she wants to live in Paris, and she tries to keep Quasimodo away from Frollo. In trying to protect Quasimodo from Frollo she brought them together. Frollo then uses her as a way to manipulate Quasimodo in to remaining loyal to him. Frollo would tell Quasimodo that his “heartless” mother abandoned him as a baby. This keeps Quasimodo grateful and loyal to Frollo. It’s not till Frollo tries to kill Quasimodo that Frollo tells him the truth.
Quasimodo’s mother raises a lot of question . We know she’s a gypsy and she’s a mother, but Quasimodo looks (coloration wise) nothing like her. Was she his biological mother or she did adopt him? Or maybe (like in the sequel) boy-children look like their fathers and nothing like their mothers? And would that mean that the man with Quasimodo’s mother was not her husband/lover? My guess given her looks and her interaction with the Gypsy guy is that he was her husband and that they did adopt Quasimodo.
Disney used the death of Quasimodo’s mother to reinforce the point that they read the book. Quasimodo’s mother dies the same way Esmeralda’s mother does in the novel. Spoiler’s— Esmeralda’s mother, Sister Gudule (Paquette Guybertaut a.k.a La Chantefleurie) dies trying to save Esmeralda from the gallows and is push to the pavement, hits her end and dies. In the book Sister Gudule prayed for 15 years to have her child returned to her if only for an instant, classic case of be careful what you wish for. She and Esmeralda were reunited for only a few hours.
So Quasimodo’s mother is a very important element to the story as she helps establishes Frollo and Quasimodo relationship and she reinforces it by Frollo being a lying and manipulate jerk (but he’s the best Disney villain so kudos to you Frollo on every terrible thing you do).
Next Time; Those guards, you know the onesFollow thehunchblog