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The Hunchback of Notre Dame


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23 minutes ago, Andrea Kosko said:

Quasimodo attempts to abduct Esmerelda because Frollo orders him to do so.  Quasimodo isn’t evil .... his impulses are good.  Yes, his appearance is horrific, but we soon learn he has a noble, gentle spirit.  This is drama, not horror.

Horror has many forms.  He does kill people with blocks of stone and molten lead (delighting in such actions as he performs them).  Pathos is often a significant portion of Horror stories.  He may have nobility, but he's not gentle. 

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On 8/17/2020 at 10:32 PM, Allhallowsday said:

Quasimodo himself admits he tried to carry Esmerelda away.  His behavior and appearance are "horrific".  The Hunchback has long been thought of as a "horrific" character... of course, great Horror has pathos, like the film FRANKENSTEIN (1931). 

Thank you, you’re quite right:  not gentle while resourcefully using molten lead and building blocks to destroy other humans!  However, his motivation is noble:  to protect the innocent Esmerelda.  And, as an unfortunate, mistreated “almost man”, he’s certainly is worthy of our pity.  Sounds like a good drama to me.

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13 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

One thing no one has mentioned is that Quasimodo is a cold blooded killer in this film. He tosses heavy objects on the crowd below killing several of them. He also throws another character from the tower. And he  also pours molten lead on the people below, killing what seems many more. I guess that is why it is considered horror. 

No, no!  Not cold-blooded at all.  Frightened, mistreated, in love with Esmerelda .... misunderstanding their intentions, he protects her from the mob he thinks is coming to hang her.  He throws Frollo from the tower because Frollo is obsessed with Esmerelda and wants to destroy her.  Quasimodo’s motivation is pure and noble.  He kills the bad guy (Frollo) to keep Esmerelda safe, only to sadly watch as she leaves with her new husband.  Heartbreaking.  A fine drama.

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30 minutes ago, Andrea Kosko said:

No, no!  Not cold-blooded at all.  Frightened, mistreated, in love with Esmerelda .... misunderstanding their intentions, he protects her from the mob he thinks is coming to hang her.  He throws Frollo from the tower because Frollo is obsessed with Esmerelda and wants to destroy her.  Quasimodo’s motivation is pure and noble.  He kills the bad guy (Frollo) to keep Esmerelda safe, only to sadly watch as she leaves with her new husband.  Heartbreaking.  A fine drama.

Another thing which might differentiate this film from your standard "horror" picture and thus make it more a "drama", is that it's one of the very few movies in which the "monster" lives at the end of it, and thus making for a happy ending IF you've been rooting for Quisimodo, and as you're supposed to do.

(...can anyone think of any other "horror" movie in which this happens?...I can't...not right off the top of my head anyway...seems to me it's almost a sure thing that the "monster" dies at the end of every TRUE "horror" movie)

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6 hours ago, Dargo said:

(...can anyone think of any other "horror" movie in which this happens?...I can't...not right off the top of my head anyway...seems to me it's almost a sure thing that the "monster" dies at the end of every TRUE "horror" movie)

Any of the ones where they leave it open for a sequel (is the monster dead or not?)

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7 hours ago, Andrea Kosko said:

I get that Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein aren’t intentionally malevolent .... but they aren’t natural, either.  They’re creations of the Doctor:  unnaturally formed by stitching dead body parts together and animating them with electricity.  That’s the evil, malevolent force:  Man tries to be God.  Quasimodo, pitifully deformed and disabled as he may be, is at least part of the natural world.  And we soon learn what a noble, courageous spirit he has.  Just my two cents:  this is a drama, not a horror film.

In fiction, hunchbacks are usually depicted as evil or creepy and worse than lepers, even though their plight is not through their own doing. A bit of an aside but I'm reading the Arabian Nights right now and it's a bit funny how in the story of Nur ed Din, it goes out of its way to describe the hunchback character as evil and malicious for marrying a pretty woman even though it was through no doing of his own anyway (it was the Sultan's). Quasimodo may be a bit creepy to the parisians below but he is probably one of the kinder depictions of hunchbacks in fiction.

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9 hours ago, Dargo said:

Another thing which might differentiate this film from your standard "horror" picture and thus make it more a "drama", is that it's one of the very few movies in which the "monster" lives at the end of it, and thus making for a happy ending IF you've been rooting for Quisimodo, and as you're supposed to do.

(...can anyone think of any other "horror" movie in which this happens?...I can't...not right off the top of my head anyway...seems to me it's almost a sure thing that the "monster" dies at the end of every TRUE "horror" movie)

It depends upon which version of Hunchback you've seen. Quasimodo dies in the Chaney silent, for example. I can't remember how the Anthony Quinn version ended but at the end of Hugo's novel Quasimodo's breathing days are all over, too (not to mention those of Esmeralda).

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24 minutes ago, TomJH said:

It depends upon which version of Hunchback you've seen. Quasimodo dies in the Chaney silent, for example. I can't remember how the Anthony Quinn version ended but at the end of Hugo's novel Quasimodo's breathing days are all over, too (not to mention those of Esmeralda).

Good point, Tom.

Wiki says the following about the 1956 Quinn version:

The film is one of the few adaptations to use Victor Hugo's original ending; although Esmeralda is killed by a stray arrow rather than hanged. Esmeralda's last words were: "Life is wonderful" ("C'est beau, la vie"). A voiceover narration tells us at the end that several years afterward, an excavation group finds the skeletons of Quasimodo and Esmeralda intertwined in an embrace.

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Thank you, CHAYA.  For years I bristled whenever some idiot would refer to Dr. Fankenstein's monstrous creation as "Frankenstein".  As for Kahn's last name after marrying the creature?  Well, we may never know, but I have a suggestion......

As there is an Olympic track star named USAIN BOLT, and given the creature's two unique physical qualities, BOLT might be a fitting last name, eh?  ;) 

Sepiatone

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4 hours ago, TomJH said:

It depends upon which version of Hunchback you've seen. Quasimodo dies in the Chaney silent, for example. I can't remember how the Anthony Quinn version ended but at the end of Hugo's novel Quasimodo's breathing days are all over, too (not to mention those of Esmeralda).

It's been some time since I read the book (time to read it again!), but I recall Quasimodo with Frollo atop Notre Dame, seeing him laughing at Esmeralda dangling on the gallows, then in a rage gabbing and tossing him off the building.  I don't recall his dying, tho.

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4 hours ago, TomJH said:

It depends upon which version of Hunchback you've seen. Quasimodo dies in the Chaney silent, for example. I can't remember how the Anthony Quinn version ended but at the end of Hugo's novel Quasimodo's breathing days are all over, too (not to mention those of Esmeralda).

There is an early film version  of the Hugo novel entitled The Darling of Paris, starring Theda Bara as Esmeralda. In this take, Quasimodo has his hunchback surgically repaired by Claude Frollo (who is a doctor). Quasimodo and Esmeralda then live happily ever after. And I am NOT making this up.

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56 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

There is an early film version  of the Hugo novel entitled The Darling of Paris, starring Theda Bara as Esmeralda. In this take, Quasimodo has his hunchback surgically repaired by Claude Frollo (who is a doctor). Quasimodo and Esmeralda then live happily ever after. And I am NOT making this up.

Ah yes! I think I remember this one, Rich.

And didn't Theda Bara always say she thought all the later made sound versions were "vulgar"?

(...or have I just watched Singin' in the Rain way too many times?)  ;)

 

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1 hour ago, Vautrin said:

Going by those plastic models I glued together as a kid, Quasi-Modo was horror.

There was one of him right along with usual suspects Frankenstein and Dracula. 

Gosh, does this ever bring back a few memories of my youth, Vautrin.

While I was more into gluing together model cars and airplanes made by companies such as Revell and Monogram back then, Dennis, one of my childhood buddies was more into the whole gothic movie monster model thing. He also had the Hunchback of Notre Dame like the following one made by the Aurora Company and which I'll bet was the one you're talking about here...

s-l1600.jpg

...but also their Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, Wolfman and Creature from the Black Lagoon which he glued together and painted.

(...I think he also had the Invisible Man, but I could never see that one for obvious reasons...sorry, couldn't resist)  ;)

 

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3 hours ago, Dargo said:

Gosh, does this ever bring back a few memories of my youth, Vautrin.

While I was more into gluing together model cars and airplanes made by companies such as Revell and Monogram back then, Dennis, one of my childhood buddies was more into the whole gothic movie monster model thing. He also had the Hunchback of Notre Dame like the following one made by the Aurora Company and which I'll bet was the one you're talking about here...

s-l1600.jpg

...but also their Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, Wolfman and Creature from the Black Lagoon which he glued together and painted.

(...I think he also had the Invisible Man, but I could never see that one for obvious reasons...sorry, couldn't resist)  ;)

 

That's the one. It's been such a long time I had forgotten the name of the company. I was really into that

stuff. I guess I had close to a dozen of those things. There was even one for The Munsters TV show. I would

put them together and my grandfather, who was a pretty good amateur painter, would paint them. When

I looked at the Hunchback it seemed something was missing. Yeah, he had chains attached to his two wrists.

Without them he looks like a drunk who's trying to go under a unseen limbo bar at the local tavern. I think

I gave them away to some other kid when I got older. They sure could be dust collectors. Yeah, any kid who

was dumb enough to buy The Invisible Man kit deserved to get ripped off. 

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I haven't seen anyone supply what I think is the actual explanation for the horror designation. TCM doesn't seem to have enough separate classifications. It seems like many times in the past, I've seen science fiction classified as horror as well. I guess the idea was that the Hunchback was a "monster", but that seems a poor reason for that genre classification for what's clearly a drama.

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On 8/19/2020 at 12:06 AM, Dargo said:

Another thing which might differentiate this film from your standard "horror" picture and thus make it more a "drama", is that it's one of the very few movies in which the "monster" lives at the end of it, and thus making for a happy ending IF you've been rooting for Quisimodo, and as you're supposed to do.

(...can anyone think of any other "horror" movie in which this happens?...I can't...not right off the top of my head anyway...seems to me it's almost a sure thing that the "monster" dies at the end of every TRUE "horror" movie)

Excellent point!

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18 hours ago, Sukhov said:

In fiction, hunchbacks are usually depicted as evil or creepy and worse than lepers, even though their plight is not through their own doing. A bit of an aside but I'm reading the Arabian Nights right now and it's a bit funny how in the story of Nur ed Din, it goes out of its way to describe the hunchback character as evil and malicious for marrying a pretty woman even though it was through no doing of his own anyway (it was the Sultan's). Quasimodo may be a bit creepy to the parisians below but he is probably one of the kinder depictions of hunchbacks in fiction.

Interesting parallel.  I suppose having a hunchback or any disability, for that matter, is seen as a curse from God.  What a terrible burden to bear:  not only the physical ailment, but also the stain of sin and judgment.   No wonder hunchbacks in literature are thought of as evil!  That’s the real horror:  blaming the victim.

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4 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I haven't seen anyone supply what I think is the actual explanation for the horror designation. TCM doesn't seem to have enough separate classifications. It seems like many times in the past, I've seen science fiction classified as horror as well. I guess the idea was that the Hunchback was a "monster", but that seems a poor reason for that genre classification for what's clearly a drama.

Thank you!  Makes sense to me.  You’ve answered my question.

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19 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Going by those plastic models I glued together as a kid, Quasi-Modo was horror.

There was one of him right along with usual suspects Frankenstein and Dracula. 

Really?  They had plastic models of Dr. Frankenstein one could put together?  Did it look anything like COLIN CLIVE?  ;) 

Or is this yet another case of someone confusing the monster with the maker?  ;)  :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

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15 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I haven't seen anyone supply what I think is the actual explanation for the horror designation. TCM doesn't seem to have enough separate classifications. It seems like many times in the past, I've seen science fiction classified as horror as well. I guess the idea was that the Hunchback was a "monster", but that seems a poor reason for that genre classification for what's clearly a drama.

I agree that the various film versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame should be classified as a drama instead of horror,  especially since the Hunchback isn't a "monster" (a creature that actually doesn't exist),  but there has always been a gray area here.

E.g.   House of Wax (Vincent Price - 1953);   This is labeled "period horror" but there is no "monster" in this film.    No out-of-this-world occurrences (magic,  voodoo,  etc...).

Of course there are many other examples.

Having just seen the 1939 film one thing watched for was the Hunchback's right eye.    It 'moved' (was in a slightly different location on his face) and looked different in various scenes.    E.g. sometimes the eye was 95% closed, other times a lot less closed.         I only mention this because often 'horror' is defined by grotesque looking character even if they aren't "monsters".

 I also wondered if TCM ever discussed how long it took to apply the make-up on  Laughton;   E.g.  2 hours each morning before filming began?     He deserves an Oscar just for putting up with that!

 

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