Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Daniel » June 16th, 2021, 2:34 pm

Maybe because we already had a Disney character named Marie? ;)

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Dacey » June 16th, 2021, 3:03 pm

Or because Laverne simply suits her personality more.
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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Dacey » June 21st, 2021, 4:29 pm

Excellent oral history. Interesting how Schneider is pretty vocal on hating the film, though:

https://www.slashfilm.com/hunchback-of- ... l-history/

I will still defend the gargoyles, who I think are required for the reason of giving Quasimodo someone to talk to alone. And you can hardly fault any film of this sort for having a moment of levity with a musical number (heck, Les Miersables and Jesus Christ Superstar both do the same thing), so to expect for Disney to go straight-on "doom and gloom" for that long in a family animated feature is kind of ridiculous. Especially since I'd argue "A Guy Like You" actually helps increase the pain of what follows, as it sets Quasimodo's expectations the highest they've been for actually having a chance with Esmeralda romantically, only for his hopes to be immediately crushed (with the "heart" card from the song only impact what has transpired even further).

Now the goofy antics during Heaven's Light? That arguably could've worked as a "quieter" moment. But A Guy Like You (as a straight-up comedy number) is fine.
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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Ben » June 21st, 2021, 6:59 pm

Are you talking about Master Of The House? This is what’s known as an "eleven o'clock number", the easy to hum along to (or, worse, clap to) that everyone will come out being able to "do" when the show turns out, around or shortly after 11pm.

Superstar doesn’t really have an eleven o'clock, though Herod's is kind of the "comedy" number. I wouldn’t really cal Guy Like You an eleven o'clock, and as a comedy song it stands out like a sore thumb in HB's otherwise deeper than usual score (I think Heaven’s Light actually works quite well, but that’s as far as their antics really should have gone).

Song aside, the gargoyles themselves are perfectly in keeping with the book and the Laughton film: Quasimodo does indeed speak with them. The more goofy aspects are Katzenberg again thinking kids needed "funny" to keep entertained…in a film that, by A Guy Like You, has probably already traumatised them for life!

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Randall » June 21st, 2021, 8:42 pm

Levity is okay. But "A Guy Like You" just took it way too far, for me. I cringe all the way through that number. Too goofy, too juvenile, too much with the armpit noises. It just didn't fit. I hate that part, in a film that I otherwise love.

Having talking gargoyles was okay, as a concept. But they had a straight man, a goofball, and a cartoony old lady voice. Those last two failed to match the tone of the rest of the film.

As is, the gargoyles and that one song just feel like an obvious attempt to pander to kids, when it's not a kids' film.

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Dacey » June 21st, 2021, 9:48 pm

Yes, I was talking about Master of the House. And Herod’s Song can be extremely comedic, depending on the production (ironically, it falls completely flat in the 70s movie, but works wonders when it’s a more flamboyant number).

And maybe one reason I don’t mind the gargoyles is because I was a kid when this came out. :wink: So they did the job for me. Oddly enough, I think the only part of it that freaked me out was Frollo’s death.

Speaking of JK, I love the story of him hating beards—since both of the male leads in El Dorado (one of them voiced by Kline, funnily enough) ended up having facial hair.
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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Farerb » June 22nd, 2021, 12:18 am

I don't have a problem that there are gargoyles, I have a problem with the way they are handled, more specifically Hugo. They did not need to be over the top. In fact they mentioned a lot how back in the day Walt incorporated humor even in his "darker" films and his humor was more subtle than a comedian shouting unfunny lines (the issue with most Renaissance films in my opinion). Anyway the gargoyles weren't the only thing that ruined the tone of the film. You have a beautiful strong moment when Esmeralda shouts "Justice" and then it turns into a goofy Looney Toons cartoon when she tries to escape the guards, and that happens throughout the film quite a lot.

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by ShyViolet » June 22nd, 2021, 1:32 am

Dacey wrote:
June 21st, 2021, 9:48 pm
Speaking of JK, I love the story of him hating beards—since both of the male leads in El Dorado (one of them voiced by Kline, funnily enough) ended up having facial hair.
Sinbad did too. He didn’t early on in the film’s production and from the few bits of artwork I saw looked more like Proteus! JK should have gone with his instincts! :wink:
You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Ben » June 22nd, 2021, 5:08 am

Well the basic "trouble" with Hunchback is that it’s *Disney* making this otherwise very deeply sexual undertoned and socially violent story. It was never just going to be an animated version of the Laughton film at the very least. They had a kid audience — the audience that feeds these films and that they needed in order to make more of them — and there is no other option for Disney other than to "pander" to it.

If there’s to be a serious, as extreme as the book is version of Notre-Dame de Paris, then it’s not going to be made at Disney, which makes four quadrant movies for the entire family. It was brave enough for them to tackle it in the first place (surely a result of JK's chasing that Best Picture Oscar; I suspect many of the more cartoony elements snuck in later), and incredible that it came out as well, and as well balanced in retrospect, as it did.

As Dacey says, it worked for the kids of the time, but as everyone else says, including the filmmakers, the song tipped the gargoyles over into pure comedy territory as opposed the the levity they otherwise brought to as *Disney family film*. I love how Schwartz mentiones it has gone from the stage version, which *does* know it’s going for more of a Les Mis grown up Theatre crowd, and so can be a little more "adult" while retaining some of what those who know the film will be expecting.

Yes, HB as a film can be a little uneven, and some elements clearly don’t belong, again in retrospect, but the song apart, those wilder extremes are quite well contained and sporadic enough not to be anything other than brighter spots in what is still a very dark and atypical Disney movie. After all, this was in the "hip and groovy", pre-9/11 90s! If they made that film today — if the even could make that film today — it would be a very different version!

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by EricJ » June 22nd, 2021, 2:11 pm

Ben wrote:
June 22nd, 2021, 5:08 am
(surely a result of JK's chasing that Best Picture Oscar; I suspect many of the more cartoony elements snuck in later)
...
I love how Schwartz mentiones it has gone from the stage version, which *does* know it’s going for more of a Les Mis grown up Theatre crowd, and so can be a little more "adult" while retaining some of what those who know the film will be expecting.
Story goes that, just as the studio was celebrating moving Beauty & the Beast to Broadway, Katzenberg put in an order for more earthbound humanoid projects that would be easier to adapt to the stage, although, at the Pocahontas phase, they were still thinking in terms of the park stage shows...Which MIGHT go to Broadway.
We know which of the two was Hunchback's chief storytelling priority. :roll:

That's one reason they started looking at classic literature (like the abandoned Don Quixote, or the Jules Verne that became "Atlantis"), and why their story-adaptation eyes became bigger than their stomachs.

And it wasn't until trying to explain the audience's Great Hercules Tantrum that we began to look back on the idea that conventional wisdom was starting to come forward and deal with the traumatic realization that Hunchback was not a good movie. The braver even looked back at Pocahontas, and pondered the radical notion that BOTH movies since Lion King had not been very good.
But one thing we agreed on at the time was that Victor, Hugo & Laverne had pretty much buried the Timon & Pumbaa wacky-sidekick trope as "reliable" unless done well. Next, we had to sort out our feelings on Frollo, and the "Sniffy-fey villain with a persecution complex bug about our hero" trope that Gov. Ratcliffe had already stunk up a year earlier.

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Ben » June 22nd, 2021, 4:03 pm

Haha…it’s so funny what you don’t know you think you know. ;)

JK wasn’t actually bothered about stage shows — that was Tom Schumacher — but was, you’re right, insistent on more human character stories so as to try and top B&TB. That was his goal, hence The Ten Commandments being the first film tackled at DWA. He wanted an animated film to win Best Picture so bad, but eventually had to make do with BAF, which he was a big part of, behind the scenes, in initiating, kind of putting himself out of the running in the process after Shrek's inaugural win in 2002.

Hunchback is a great movie. Hence why we are still talking about it. Pocahontas, true, not so much.

As soon as JK went, lots changed at WDFA, and many long-cherished projects that had been filmmaker instigated but staved off by JK were given greenlights based on past successes. Hence why Ron 'n' John finally got to to Hercules (and made JK the villain!), and Trousadale and Wise got to do their big Verne-inspired yarn. Nothing to do with chasing literature, or else they would have made Journey To The Centre Of The Earth…

And the one you missed out on — and that reversed JK's will the *other* way — was Aida, which started as Elton John and Tim Rice's next after Lion King. Once JK left, that got canned for WDFA, but not before Schumacher nabbed it direct for Broadway (and a pretty amazingly cool show it wound up being too).

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by EricJ » June 22nd, 2021, 4:21 pm

Ben wrote:
June 22nd, 2021, 4:03 pm
Haha…it’s so funny what you don’t know you think you know. ;)

JK wasn’t actually bothered about stage shows — that was Tom Schumacher — but was, you’re right, insistent on more human character stories so as to try and top B&TB. That was his goal, hence The Ten Commandments being the first film tackled at DWA.

and Trousadale and Wise got to do their big Verne-inspired yarn. Nothing to do with chasing literature, or else they would have made Journey To The Centre Of The Earth…
Oh, well, see, that's more stuff I thought I knew: I kept hearing that "Prince of Egypt" was Spielberg's boardroom idea, now that he had gotten the Lion King Guy as his very own, to not only remake his favorite movie, but do a really, really JEWISH cartoon project!
(Like he did when he first bought the Secret of NIMH Guy as his very own, to make "An American Tail".)
PoE at DWA, of course, had Broadway ambitions dripping from it--as we all groaned during Steve Martin & Martin Short's number :roll: --but that was more trying to copy post-B&B Disney's licks, and nowhere near the level of Hunchback's three-set claustrophobia.

And then that stuff about "Trousdale & Wise claimed they were 'bored' with Journey/Center, and wanted an original Verne-esque project with 'more monsters' in it, but the animation budget/schedule was strapped to just the robot lobster scene". You know how these rumors get about.

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Re: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live-Action)

Post by Ben » June 22nd, 2021, 4:47 pm

Maybe POE ultimately feels like a Disney picture…because half the crew was pinched from Disney! I’ve basically always referred to the film as "Disney Does Moses" in terms of its production and personnel.

Yes, El Spielbergo suggested The Ten Commandments, *after* JK outlined was his endgame was.

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