Quasimodo, the hunchback bellringer of Notre Dame's cathedral meets a beautiful gypsy dancer, Esmeralda, and falls in love with her. So does Quasimodo's guardian, the archdeacon of the cathedral, and a poor street poet. But Esmeralda's in love with a handsome soldier. But when a mob mistakes her for a witch, it's up to Quasimodo to rescue her and claim sanctuary for her in the cathedral. Written by
Very well done, both as an adaptation and on its own terms
I love the book, and I love the 1939 film which I found beautifully made, memorably performed and very poignant and the Disney film for while it is not a true adaptation the animation and music more than make up for me and Frollo is one of Disney's most interesting characters.
This Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation is not as good as these two in my view, but it is one of the truer adaptations of the book especially in its depiction of Frollo. Two scenes didn't work for me, the Festival of Fools scene which was in need of much more jollity and the Court of Miracles scene which while well acted and set lacked intensity.
However, two scenes in particular did stand out as very powerful, the angry mob scene which is one of the more vivid depictions of that particular scene of any film based on the classic novel and the ending which killed me emotionally.
This Hunchback of Notre Dame does look gorgeous with excellent photography and sumptuous costumes and settings, though I kind of agree that black and white would have given it a more Gothic tone. The story still maintains its emotional impact, the script is thoughtful and literate and Ken Thorne's music is memorable and never too obtrusive.
The acting is spot on. Lesley-Anne Downe is a breathtakingly beautiful and sensual Esmeralda and David Suchet in a role completely different to his Poirot persona(quite a shock if you ask me) is a grotesque Clopin. Anthony Hopkins is a poignant Quasimodo, but it was Derek Jacobi who nails his tortured and complex character that made the adaptation for me.
In conclusion, very well done. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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