Thursday, September 20, 2018

Only now does it occur to me... THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Only now does it occur to me... that it took––no joke––twenty-five writers and a lyricist in order for the 1996 animated film THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME to improve upon the 1831 Victor Hugo novel of the same name. And how did they improve on said material, beyond lending it the ol' Disney happy ending?

Not pictured: the melancholy mingling of our dead protagonists' ashes.

Well, I'm going to point out one scene in particular, whereupon the French Roma dancer Esmeralda (voiced by Demi Moore) performs for an enthusiastic crowd by twirling acrobatically on a vertical pole (in actuality, a well-placed spear)––

and is subsequently showered by the audience with appreciative gold coins.

This strikes me as a clear––albeit as PG as humanly possible––reference to the 1996 Demi Moore masterpiece STRIPTEASE (which was certainly in the zeitgeist––it was due to be released exactly one week after HUNCHBACK). Driving the point home is that she is performing in part for a corrupt politician––the Archdeacon Claude Frollo––who soon develops a violent, flagellant's fascination with her.

This, naturally, stretches the STRIPTEASE comparison even further, as there's clearly a parallel between Frollo and corrupt Congressman Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds), who, in the latter film, pines for and slobbers over Demi Moore in a quite similar manner.

(In closing, please allow me to take this moment to sing the praises of STRIPTEASE, a trashterpiece that's equal parts Elmore Leonard and Menahem Golan––essentially OVER THE TOP except with striptease instead of arm-wrestling. It also features a performance by Ving Rhames and a tiny monkey sidekick that would be right at home in the Disney movie of your choice.)

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