10 Things to Know About the Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a romantic gothic novel written by Victor Hugo in 1831, until of course Disney decided to make it into a film. The book is quite dark and even the film manages to take on topics such as lust, racism, and religion. Topics which are usually not seen in children films, however, it is the reason why it stands apart from the rest of Disney’s films.
Disney manages to keep the gothic topics and themes from the novel but twisting them slightly so that it also makes a wonderful and humorous family film. Here are ten things you might not know about this more mature Disney film.
1. Priest or Judge?
In the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Claude Frollo’s occupation is a judge. However, in the novel he was actually the archdeacon of Notre Dame. Disney decided to change his occupation to avoid offending any religious groups. Even though the film is filled with many controversial topics they were afraid having a priest as the villain would cause too many problems.
2. Singing Gargoyles
The three gargoyles that keep Quasimodo company in the bell tower were also in the book…only they were statues that didn’t move or speak. In the novel Quasimodo spoke to the gargoyles they just never answered back. But in the usual Disney fashion they expanded upon the idea of these gargoyles being his companions and decided to have them come to life, so they could talk…and sing back to him.
3. Surprise Rating
Because of the controversial topics in the film, Disney expected the MPAA to give it a PG rating, however, it somehow ended up getting a G rating…and only the MPAA will probably ever know why.
4. Character Cameos
In the film when Quasimodo is singing “Out There” the camera spans out on the streets of Paris and if you look closely enough you can spot some other Disney characters. You can see Belle as she walks down the street reading a book and you can also see a Parisian citizen shaking out Aladdin’s magic carpet!
5. The Best of Both Worlds
Before computer animation Disney films were drawn by hand. A single picture had to be drawn for every single movement which is one of the reasons why developing a film took so long. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, however, used both hand drawn elements and computer animation. Character animation was done by hand and the background animations was done by computers. This was a good way of saving time and supplies.
6. Almost fired “Hellfire”
Almost every Disney villain has their own song. A moment when they reveal their true desires or when they set up an evil plan. In the Hunchback of Notre Dame Frollo has a song intitled “Hellfire”. This song is well-known for being Disney’s darkest song. In fact, it was almost too dark, and Disney contemplated cutting it from the film.
7. Cover Song!
We can all remember the beautiful voice of Heidi Mollenhauer singing “God Help the Outcasts”, but did you know that there is a celebrity version of the song? There is…and it is sung by none other then the fabulous Bette Midler.
8. Quasimodo or Samson?
There are plenty of religious meaning within the film, but did you know that the scene when Quasimodo is chained up in the bell tower and he breaks free is a parody of Samson from the bible? I didn’t…and I’m not sure why I had never made the connection before.
9. Death of a Mother
In the beginning of the film we see Quasimodo’s mother die. Frollo pushes her to the ground and she hits her head, dying instantly. I was surprised to find out that in the novel this is actually how Esmeralda’s mother dies.
10. Death Does not Become Him.
One of the biggest differences between the novel and film is the ending. In the novel both Quasimodo and Esmeralda die. Esmeralda is hung and because of his feelings for her Quasimodo refuses to leave Esmeralda’s body and ends up dying of starvation. This was obviously too dark for a children’s movie, so the ending was changed. Quasimodo ends up saving Esmeralda and Quasimodo ends up being accepted into society.
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Hello Disney Fans! Janie here. I was a Disney kid growing up and now that I am an adult I love it even more. Whether its movies, music, parks, or games I just can’t get enough of it. I visit Disney World at least twice a year and even when I’m not there it’s all I can think about!