|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||24 reviews in total|
'Notre Dame De Paris,' set in medieval Paris in the year 1482, tells
the moving story of a beautiful gypsy dancer and a grateful hunchback
who adores her...
Quinn's distinctive interpretation of the ward of the cathedral in the sumptuous, wide-screen, full-color version of the Victor Hugo successful historical novel, is full of vitality as well as pity...
Despite the spectacular appearance of Gina Lollobrigida, top-billed as Esmeralda, it is Quinn in full monster regalia who remains in the memory, not many lengths behind Lon Chaney and Charles Laughton...
The motion picture is focused on the events leading to Esmeralda's trial for witchcraft and the stabbing of her noble lover, the cavalier of King Louis XI... Esmeralda is accused of the crime, tortured and sentenced to death... When she is about to be hanged, Quasimodo pushes the hangman aside, sweeps her into his arms, and carries her into the sanctuary of Notre Dame...
Much of the rich atmosphere so vividly described in the Hugo irresistible tale - the happy Festival of the Fools, the Court of Miracles, the cathedral and its role as the center of medieval Paris, the storming of Notre Dame - provide the spectacle a timeless message of lust, jealousy, prejudice, hate, compassion and love...
Quasimodo is just 'one long, ugly face from his head to his toes,' but in his distorted body, there is lot of humanity, kindness, and gratitude... Quasimodo lives high in the church towers... We see him exceptionally agile, showing no fear for its height, climbing down its facade, embracing its huge bell, telling Esmeralda in halting words that she is safe within the walls of the cathedral... That day, Quasimodo leaps onto 'Big Louise' and rides his beloved huge bell back and forth sending its mighty sound throughout Paris for his beloved Esmeralda...
Esmeralda is the sensuous gypsy girl, who ascends the pillory to quench Quasimodo's thirst... She is fond of dancing, noise and open air... She is in love with one man whom she calls the 'bright sun.'
Master Frollo (Alain Cuny) is the man in black who inspires respect and fear... He is the haunted Archdeacon of Notre Dame, an expert on witchcraft... It is said that he is the greatest magician of all France, but magic is merely illusion... Frollo is completely taken with Esmeralda's beauty... He is the king's judge who lies about the ravishing temptress who follows him in his dreams... His thoughts are like Quasimodo's face, ugly! ('We are brothers.. your face and my soul..')
Phoebus (Jean Danet) is vain, arrogant, and opportunistic... To him, the Gypsy girl is a sexual object to be cynically manipulated, used and rejected... The only love which the Captain of the King's Archers recognizes is narcissism... His tendency to erotic self-love and his excessive self-admiration...
Robert Hirsch is the harmless poet - educated under the patronage of Master Frollo - who breaks the laws of the kingdom of thieves and beggars, and has one chance to live...
'Notre Dame De Paris' shows us that human nature always struggles between two opposing forces: The light and the darkness, the grotesque and the beautiful, love and hate, hope and despair...
Strangely, there has never been a bad film of Victor Hugo's classic tale,
and while this is indeed less successful than Laughton, Chaney or
versions, this French effort is still a surprisingly good and much
under-rated film. To get the most out of it, you have to bear in mind
Hugo did not write a horror story but a tale of unrequited love and
There is little of the Gothic on show here; rather, everyone is trapped
desire for what they are denied.
This is much more 'Notre Dame de Paris' (the novel's actual title) than 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame': Quasimodo probably gets less screen time here than in any of the other films, only dominating the drama in the last third. Instead, as with Hugo, it uses the cathedral of Notre Dame as the thread that binds all social stratas - Kings and beggars, thieves and soldiers, gypsies and alchemists, playwrights and aristocrats - giving a vivid portrait of a time and place half imagined, half real.
Quinn is more of a brute than we're used to seeing in our Quasimodos: unlike Laughton, he's no poetic soul trapped in a broken body but an animal who is given an inkling of what it means to be human. Lollabrigida fares better than usual as Esmerelda, and if their relationship is never moving, the ending, for once taken directly from the novel, is genuinely touching.
There are problems: the dubbing is at times irritating (and there is no French-language option on the disc), while Jean Danet is quite the most embarrassing Phoebus imaginable, stilted, impossibly smug and just plain odd-looking. Some key scenes are poorly staged, most notably Quasimodo's rescue of Esmerelda, while the hunchback is not given a strong entrance. But, if you're willing to take a chance and watch it with an open mind, the pleasant surprises outweigh them.
While not the most lavish version, the scale and colour of the film, particularly in scenes such as the Court of Miracles, gives us a sense of a world around these characters, the addition of CinemaScope and some impressive sets helping to broaden the scale. Delannoy's direction is occasionally imaginative, with a good eye for the Scope frame. The script (co-written by 'Les Enfants du Paradis' Jacques Prevert) is often witty and doesn't shy from the darker tragic tone of the novel. Georges Auric's score, though ill-served by the original sound recording, is also a fine effort.
The Miramax Region 1 DVD transfer is good, with only a few edge enhancement problems, although it seems very slightly cropped in some shots, and the failings of the early CinemaScope lenses does result in an occasional loss of detail in some shots. The DVD even includes one brief torture sequence that has long been cut from many prints, as well as the original theatrical trailer.
Kept out of distribution for years (Disney bought the rights around the time they were working on their version and shelved it), the film has not been able to gain much of a reputation. Indeed, it continues to get short shrift from many critics - 'Time Out's film guide is particularly hostile. But, as they say in Britain, 'Time Out hated it, so it must be good.' And it is - not great, but certainly pretty good.
In 1482, in the Feast of Fools in Paris, the deformed bell ringer
Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn) is elected the King of Fools. After the
party, the evil alchemist Master Claude Frollo (Alain Cuny), who has a
repressed lust for the kind gypsy dancer Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida),
orders his servant Quasimodo to abduct the beautiful youngster.
However, she is rescued by Captain Phoebus (Jean Danet) and Quasimodo
is sentenced to be whipped in the square of Notre Dame and Esmeralda
gives water to him. Later Esmeralda goes with Captain Phoebus to a room
in an inn to spend a night of love together. However, Frollo is
stalking her and uses her stiletto to stab Phoebus on his back, and
Esmeralda takes the blame and is sentenced to be hanged. But Quasimodo
brings Esmeralda to the sanctuary of Notre Dame and expresses his love
for the gypsy.
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is one of the cruelest romances of the literature and cinema history in a dark age in French history. In this version of this sad tale of injustice, Anthony Quinn is awesome with a memorable performance and Gina Lollobrigida is perfect in the role of the seductive gypsy. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "O Corcunda de Notre Dame" ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame")
In this third version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame we get a story far
closer to the truth of Victor Hugo's classic novel. Unlike the
productions done starring Lon Chaney and Charles Laughton, this one was
done in France by the French who took pains to remain faithful to the
version Victor Hugo wrote.
Note the title in the original French and note it's the cathedral not the hunchback who is the center of the story. That allowed Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida to be billed first and then Anthony Quinn as the hunchback. No doubt about it Lollobrigida is the sexiest Esmerelda going, she makes both Patsy Ruth Miller and Maureen O'Hara look like nuns. Then again she was who the movie going public was paying to see.
This is not to take anything away from Anthony Quinn who seems to extend his role as the brutish strong man in La Strada into his portrayal of Quasimodo. Although Charles Laughton's performance is my favorite, this does not denigrate Quinn in any way.
The rest of the cast is made up of players from the French cinema. I particularly liked Jean Tissier as the 'Spider King' Louis XI. It's a subtle piece of acting and you can see why this was no man to trifle with.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a tale of innocence. Quasimodo's to be sure, but even the sexy and voluptuous Esmerelda. She may know all about sex, but she's pretty ignorant in the ways of the political world. Both protagonists are used by forces and people they cannot comprehend.
This version of the Victor Hugo classic has its supporters and they should support this great retelling of a classic tale.
This version of the Hugo novel is more faithful in both tone and plot than
is the earlier Charles Laughton version. That said, it's not nearly as
La Lollo is quite fetching and earnest as Esmeralda and gives an effective, if slightly bosom-heaving, performance. Quinn, with his simian features accented by makeup, is a good Hunchback. He doesn't milk the role for pathos, and let's the viewer see several sides to Quasimodo. Alain Cuny is dark and brooding as Frollo, but he doesn't register as vividly as Cedric Hardwick in the earlier version.
Then there's some pretty bad acting from others in cast, but the script is pretty flat and misses some good opportunities. In the earlier version, Laughton (his double, actually) swings across the plaza, scoops up Esmeralda (the gorgeous Maureen O'Hara) and swings back into the church. Quinn just shinnies down a rope and yanks Lollo into the church. More probable, perhaps, but not so exciting.
It's a gorgeous, colorful widescreen epic, nicely served by the DVD release. It's not a sentimental movie; neither is the novel. And it's worth a kind look.
This is a movie that has all the trappings of an epic, but isn't. But it is still a credible rendition of the Victor Hugo classic, with Gina Lollobrigida giving a strong performance as Esmeralda. The weak part of the movie is Anthony Quinn's performance as Quasimodo. Mr. Quinn's portrayal is not believable. Quasimodo is supposed to generate feelings of pathos; that does not happen in this movie. As a result, the plot becomes flat. The intensity of the relationship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda is lacking. Between Mr. Quinn's mumbling of his lines, and the treatment of the poet Gringoire as a buffoon, the movie teeters on the brink of cinematic collapse. Yet, it is saved by staying faithful to the original story and by good performances by some of the supporting cast, as well as by the essential power of the original story. The story of the hunchback and the gypsy girl is classic; read the book.
Slow and sometimes boring retelling of the Victor Hugo novel that packs
an all-star-cast and spectacular scenes . The timeless tale of the
seductive gypsy Esmeralda and the tortured hunchback Quasimodo with
Anthony Quin in a overacting and tragic performance along with
bombshell Gina Lollobrigida who displays a little credible
interpretation . It is set in fifteenth century Paris, 1482 . Today is
the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square
outside Cathedral Notre Dame . Among jugglers and other entertainers is
Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida ,this was the first time she spoke her
lines in French with a strong Italian accent) and her goat (co-female
star of the film with Gina Lollobrigida, was insured for two million
francs) . From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo (Alain Cuny
stealing the movie as an old cleric) , an alchemist and archdeacon ,
gazes at her lustfully . The hot-blooded young gypsy is accused by
Church officials of being witch and the deformed Parisian bellringer
provides her sanctuary . The freakish hunchback named Quasimodo , falls
in love with the young gypsy queen, Esmeralda, who in turn is in love
with Phoebus, a gentleman soldier and a rogue with the ladies . Unknown
to him, his love is dangerous, because Frollo has lustful obsession for
Esmeralda and is willing to kill the handsome soldier to possess her.
But the hunchback will tolerate no harm coming to her , not even if it
comes from his own master . Meanwhile , the gypsy king plots to foment
a peasant revolt, which eventually leads to the peasants storming the
Cathedral of Notre Dame .
This French of Victor Hugo's ever popular novel with classical characters such as an appropriately gypsy and a deformed bell ringer . Best French retelling infused with sadness , sweep , intense drama , and an attempt at capturing a degree of spirited Hugoesque detail . Good performance from Anthony Quinn , famous for his contortions and expressive gestures via make-up . Quinn gives a textured , pre-Zorba , the Greek interpretation of Quasimodo , the Hunchback in Hugo's eponymous novel ; however , he displays a lot of gesticulation . Mediocre acting by Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy who performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. Great performances all around at charge of a good support cast . Shot simultaneously in French and English-speaking version, but it looks as if the English one was not used . The scene of Quasimodo's coronation was shot twice for each version of the film. For the original French-language version, he is crowned 'Pope of Fools', as in the novel, and wears a mock Papal tiara , for the English-language version, he is crowned 'King of Fools', and wears a royal crown ; this was because the American Hays Code forbade mocking of the clergy . This properly melodramatic flick packs a colorful cinematography filmed entirely in France in Cinemascope by Michel Kelber ; being necessary a right remastering . The sweeping musical score was provided by the classic Georges Auric . The motion picture was professionally directed by Jean Delannoy , but with no originality .
This is a remake of several earlier films , including the followings : 1923 silent vintage retelling by Wallace Wolsey with Lon Chaney Sr ; classic version by William Dieterle (1939) with Maureen O'Hara , Charles Laughton , Edmond O'Brien and Cedric Hardwicke . And subsequently realized for TV as 1982 rendition with Anthony Hopkins , Derek Jacobi and Lesley-Anne Down and 1998 by Peter Medak with Salma Hayek and Mandy Patinkin . Finally , Walt Disney cartoon recounting by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale with voices by Tom Hulce , Demi Moore and Kevin Kline , it was followed by another Disney sequel .
Non -French users may find it hard to believe it,but Jean Delannoy is
despised by almost everybody in his native country.The NOuvelle Vague
clique,on H.M. JL GOdard's service ,was always putting him down.That
was (and is) certainly unfair cause Delannoy made two great "Maigret"
and some of his works "la Symphonie Pastorale " Dieu A Besoin des
Hommes" or "les Amitiés Particulières" are certainly worth a watch.His
"secret de Mayerling" which is hard to find is certainly interesting
Lit classics were also one of his favorite genres: abetted by Jean Cocteau,he updated "Tristan and Iseut" (as "l'Eternel Retour" ).Later he would transfer Madame de La Fayette 's "La Princesse de Clèves" (1961) with commendable results -the critics slagged it off- Here he tackles "Notre Dame de Paris" ,with a big budget (wide screen , color and an international cast were not so common in 1956 in France).His version is academic ,as would be Le Chanois's -another Bete Noire of the Nouvelle Vague- "les miserables " (1958).It's icily impersonal ,and it's the actors who save the movie from tedium:although too old ,Lollobrigida has beauty,charm,sensuality and even wit going for her;Quinn is a good -but not as outstanding as Charles Laughton-Quasimodo;Robert Hirsh is excellent as Gringoire;On the other hand,Jean Danet is a mediocre Phoebus.
Although inferior to Dieterle's version ,Delannoy's work is more faithful to the novel (the ending notably) but there's a problem concerning Claude Frollo:why has he become a layman?Part of the reason might be found in the director's belief.Jean Delannoy is a true believer: in "Dieu a Besoin des Hommes" he showed spiritual concern.And recently,he released two religious movies in a row " Bernadette" (Soubirous) and "Marie de Nazareth".So maybe ,he changed Hugo's character because it was unbearable to him that a priest should desire a woman.
Alain Cuny,whose portrayal of FRollo is a bit monotonous, had a brilliant career ,from Carné's "Les Visiteurs du Soir" to Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" and "Satyricon".
No matter if critics seem to prefer the 1939 version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, I thoroughly enjoy this one. Anthony Quinn avoids taking the Laughton path and doing Quasimodo as a monster; his is a painfully realistic performance. Gina Lollobrigida is ever so beautiful as Esmeralda. Her gypsy is a young woman who is "a queen", as her fellow Court of Miracle friends know very well. She is sensual and yet decent and pure in her actions, even as she gives herself to Phoebus. The great cast includes several legendary French actors (Valentine Tessier, Alain Cuny, Madeleine Barbulee, among others). The final scenes are indeed touching, especially in the Italian version, in which Lollobrigida speaks in her native language. A must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The opening of this film relating the finding of the word 'Ananké'
(which the English-language narrator irritatingly mispronounces as
'Anankh'!) on the wall of the cathedral signals that Jean Delannoy
has given us the best cinema version of 'Notre Dame de Paris' yet. It
is the closest in spirit to the book in picaresque colour and in its
final tragedies. *Some spoilers follow, comparing the book and the
film, and touching upon other film adaptations.*
While international distribution (especially in the US) meant that Delannoy still had to be circumspect about Claude's priesthood (he is addressed as "Maître/Master Frollo"), his sober dress and the fact he works in Notre Dame make it implicit indeed, obvious to anyone familiar with the book, as French audiences are. His younger brother Jehan is thus restored to his (im)proper and impish self as a mischievous student (Maurice Sarfati), who, indeed, first appears dressed as an imp for the Feast of Fools. (In the 1923 and 1939 versions, Jehan became a middle-aged substitute for his brother in his relationship with Esméralda.) There are, nevertheless, differences between the French and English versions. Because of the Hays Code, Quasimodo is made *King* of Fools, *not* Pope, in the English-language version, the scene being shot with two different styles of crown. The French version also gives us an additional scene with Pierre after Esméralda's arrest, and an extended scene of Claude's breakdown, returning to La Falourdel's, and corresponding to the book's chapter 'Fièvre'. Presumably these were cut because the English title overemphasises Quasimodo.
Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida have top billing for international audiences, but it is Alain Cuny who quietly dominates the film as the tragic romantic lead, Claude. This is as it should be: he, not Quasimodo, is the chief focus of the novel (the popular English title is highly misleading). Although about a decade too old for the role, Cuny has the right air of anguished intensity and repressed, self-destructive passion. Even as he brings suffering on others, he himself suffers still more deeply, all haunted eyes and strong cheekbones. (An acquaintance observed that his hairstyle is far too 1950s, but the anachronism is less of an issue than the fact he has so much hair at all: book-Claude is balding and tonsured!) This is the only film version that gives attention to his alchemy, and sets Louis XI's incognito visit, as 'Compère Tourangeau', in his laboratory, rather than in his rooms in the cloisters. This atmospheric scene captivated me when I first saw the film on TV as a child. My chief regret is that (as usual) we do not get the passionate confrontation in prison from 'Lasciate Ogni Speranza': he is certainly handsome enough for some chest-baring cassock-ripping He gives us the film's most memorable moments: his rapt face framed by the broken window of the Grande Salle of the Palais de Justice, while in the adjacent pane we see the reflection of what grips his attention Esméralda dancing; how he intones her name over his experiments (which reminds me of Ezra Pound's marvellous 'The Alchemist: Chant for the Transmutation of Metals': "Midonz, gift of the God, gift of the light,/gift of the amber of the sun,/Give light to the metal"); his torment at La Falourdel's, watching Phbus (Jean Danet, suitably smug and flashy) seduce Esméralda; scratching 'Ananké' on the wall, watched by an uncomprehending Quasimodo; returning to the cathedral by moonlight, and crossing himself (a detail cut from the English-language version) when he sees Esméralda in ghostly white. In his last moments, he stretches out his arms, crucified by his forbidden desires, before falling. It is a superb performance, unshowy, but emotionally wrenching.
Gina Lollobrigida is somewhat mature and overtly sexy to be entirely convincing as a virginal teenager, but she has glamour, vitality, and (with choreography by Massine) dances better than most screen Esméraldas. It is believable that an otherwise ascetic and intellectual priest could be driven to crime and madness for such a beauty. Of course, with such a bright and spirited Esméralda, the question remains as to how she can be so stupid as to fall for Phbus's smarmy charms, but that is part of the tragedy of the book and, indeed, such calamities happen in life. Her comic relationship with Pierre Gringoire (Robert Hirsch) is delightful, with a very cute Djali as the third party in their 'marriage'. It is wonderful to see so much of Pierre, without him being rewritten as a conventional romantic lead (as in 1939 and 1982). Clopin is played somewhat younger than usual by Philippe Clay: Villon-esque, a figure from Bosch or Breughel. Quinn is the best film Quasimodo: alarming and touching by turns, unsentimentalised, and believable. Unlike Chaney or Laughton, whose deformities were far too exaggerated, he looks as if he could have survived childhood in 15C. He is deaf, and apparently brain-damaged, probably by the vibration of the bells. Fleur-de-Lys (Danielle Dumont) and her friends, in their henins and colourful gowns, look as if they could have stepped out of an illuminated manuscript. Phbus's character is given a hint of warmth by being made to express regret that he could not have saved Esméralda himself (in the English dub, at least), but otherwise he retains his shallow obnoxiousness.
The last part of the story is truncated because of the running-time, hence the change in the events at the Bastille, and in the circumstances of Esméralda and Clopin's deaths. However, it is still far more effective than the bowdlerised 'happier' endings imposed by the 1923, 1939, 1982, 1996 and 1997 versions. The conclusion at Montfaucon is retained, and is movingly portrayed. All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film, which gives a better impression of the novel than any other cinema adaptation to date, and confirms my belief that French literature usually fares best in the hands of French film-makers.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|