- fine, but could have been better 10/17/2005 12:00:00 AM by vironpride
With every different version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" that I have ever seen, I hope again that I will one day see a film that copies the novel exactly. Victor Hugo's novel is a tragedy all the way, and it does NOT have a happy ending, or even a semi-happy one! The only version that is most like "Notre Dame de Paris" is the 1977 film described elsewhere in this site. However, the 1982 version comes closer than the earlier ones, which, because of censorship, could not have an Archbishop feverishly pursuing a heathen gypsy female through the dark streets of Paris, laying aside his priestly vows to lust after her to the death. This dark, Gothic romance cries out for black and white--it just doesn't work in color, and the color here is gorgeous. See the 1939 Laughton version to see what I mean. And speaking of the Laughton version, Anthony Hopkins is obviously copying Charles Laughton's legendary performance, and does it quite well--one great actor's nod to another. Has Anthony Hopkins ever given a bad performance? Or has Derek Jacobi, for that matter? He succeeds in making Dom Claude what I have always considered this character to be--not a villain, but a pathetic, pitiable character torn between his holy vows and his forbidden lust for a beautiful gypsy dancer. Lesley-Ann Down is lovely, to say the least, as Esmeralda, and the supporting cast is solid. David Suchet as Clopin is fine in his own way, but it was a thankless task to try to follow Thomas Mitchell's great, over-the-top turn as the King of the Beggars in the 1939 version. Though this version is not as good as it could have been, it still is one of the best, and well worth your time.
- JACOBI IS COMPELLING. 7/20/1999 12:00:00 AM by peacham
This film shows us why derek jacobi is one of the greatest actors living. only he can turn a villian into the most sympathetic character in a film. his claude frollo bristles with lust, simmers with hate and all the while he feels tortured and guilty. still he can't resist his urges. he loves quasimodo but loves his own carnal pursuits more. this is indeed a tragic figure. Hopkins is also outstanding in the role of quasimodo,he is sicere and honest. david suchet and leslie anne-down offer strong support.
- Almost completely like the novel. 5/16/2000 12:00:00 AM by Ariel-28
This movie version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is superbly similar to the Hugo novel. Quasimodo looks exactly like it's told in the book, he is almost deaf, and in this movie we see yet another "little Esmeralda", who reminds us of the dancer in the Dieterle version.
I was quite surprised that even Frollo is rather good to Quasimodo - just like in the novel - but when he already at the beginning started to show his passion for Esmeralda, I knew that he is just like he must be. Honestly, I couldn't only hate him because he later seemed to be quite unhappy of being "bewitched" and that Esmeralda refused to answer to his feelings.
I was especially shocked that the film had even the torture scene of Esmeralda. Captain Phoebus, too, was surprisingly similar to the character of the book, and it was good that Gringoire tried to warn Esmeralda about him. It was also really moving to hear Quasimodo talk about his own ugliness.
The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the end; although it doesn't belong to the novel, I had started to hope that Esmeralda could see the truth about Quasimodo.
- Very well done, both as an adaptation and on its own terms 9/1/2011 12:00:00 AM by TheLittleSongbird
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
- a stinker 6/3/2007 12:00:00 AM by joanmarieherbers
How is it possible that such a brilliant cast could make such a bad adaptation of a classic novel? Anthony Hopkins is not allowed to put any real life into Quasimodo, and Derek Jacobi just barely lets us see into his tortured soul. Lesley-Anne Down is laughable as an actress, although breathtakingly beautiful. The real surprise here is David Suchet, who plays a character utterly unlike any we are used to -- a far cry from Poirot!
Why was I disappointed? The sound is terrible, the cuts between scenes disjointed, the scenery poorly constructed, and the actors are hemmed in by a terrible script. We are not given insight to the relationship between Quasimodo and the Archdeacon, nor between Pierre and Esmerelda. Tim Piggott-Smith has about the best character development, and he is a secondary character at best.
Cameos by such luminaries as John Gielgud and Nigel Hawthorne heightened the disappointment even more. This one is really a stinker and a waste of England's best talent.