Monday, February 12, 2018

Disney's 1996 "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and a modern day casting controversy about a related stage play based on Victor Hugo's novel

The 1996 Disney animated feature “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, based on Victor Hugo’s novel (which we read in French class in 12th grade in high school), directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, has attracted controversy recently.

In Ithaca High School (New York state) a stage presentation of the novel was cancelled after organized protests of a casting decision.  I won’t analyze this here, but Sopan Deb has a detailed story in the New York Times Friday, February 9.  It got all the way to the Daily Stormer stuff.

In YouTube clips, Esmeralda does appear to be slightly darker than other characters, but it isn’t clear what this means. Gypsies could be of any race.

But what I remember is Quasimodo, the deformed character.  I thought his depiction had much more moral significance when I saw the film in a theater when it first came out.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Cornell by Horoiki, CCSA 3.0.  My most recent personal visit happened in October 1970, as I recall. 

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