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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly faithful, surprisingly good
Strangely, there has never been a bad film of Victor Hugo's classic tale, and while this is indeed less successful than Laughton, Chaney or Disney's versions, this French effort is still a surprisingly good and much under-rated film. To get the most out of it, you have to bear in mind that Hugo did not write a horror story but a tale of unrequited love and anguish. There...
Published on 13 Dec 2006 by Trevor Willsmer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Picture Size
My reason for buying this DVD was that it stars Gina Lollobrigida - to add to my collection of her other movies. She is magnificent, as usual. Although the picture quality is good, it only covers about 50 or 60 percent of the computer/TV screen when shown.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. D. Moore


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly faithful, surprisingly good, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Strangely, there has never been a bad film of Victor Hugo's classic tale, and while this is indeed less successful than Laughton, Chaney or Disney's versions, this French effort is still a surprisingly good and much under-rated film. To get the most out of it, you have to bear in mind that Hugo did not write a horror story but a tale of unrequited love and anguish. There is little of the Gothic on show here; rather, everyone is trapped by a desire for what they are denied. This is much more 'Notre Dame de Paris' (the novel's actual title) than 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame': Quasimodo probably gets less screen time here than in any of the other films, only dominating the drama in the last third. Instead, as with Hugo, it uses the cathedral of Notre Dame as the thread that binds all social stratas - Kings and beggars, thieves and soldiers, gypsies and alchemists, playwrights and aristocrats - giving a vivid portrait of a time and place half imagined, half real.

Quinn is more of a brute than we're used to seeing in our Quasimodos: unlike Laughton, he's no poetic soul trapped in a broken body but an animal who is given an inkling of what it means to be human. Lollabrigida fares better than usual as Esmerelda, and if their relationship is never moving, the ending, for once taken directly from the novel, is genuinely touching.

There are problems: the dubbing is at times irritating (and there is no French-language option on the disc), while Jean Danet is quite the most embarrassing Phoebus imaginable, stilted, impossibly smug and just plain odd-looking. Some key scenes are poorly staged, most notably Quasimodo's rescue of Esmerelda, while the hunchback is not given a strong entrance. But, if you're willing to take a chance and watch it with an open mind, the pleasant surprises outweigh them. While not the most lavish version, the scale and colour of the film, particularly in scenes such as the Court of Miracles, gives us a sense of a world around these characters, the addition of CinemaScope and some impressive sets helping to broaden the scale. Delannoy's direction is occasionally imaginative, with a good eye for the Scope frame. The script (co-written by 'Les Enfants du Paradis' Jacques Prevert) is often witty and doesn't shy from the darker tragic tone of the novel. Georges Auric's score, though ill-served by the original sound recording, is also a fine effort.

The transfer on the Region 1 NTSC DVD is good, with only a few edge enhancement problems, although it seems very slightly cropped in some shots, and the failings of the early CinemaScope lenses do result in an occasional loss of detail in some shots. The DVD even includes one brief torture sequence that has long been cut from many prints, as well as the original theatrical trailer.

Kept out of distribution for years (Disney bought the rights around the time they were working on their version and shelved it), the film has not been able to gain much of a reputation. Indeed, it continues to get short shrift from many critics - 'Time Out's film guide is particularly hostile. But, as they say in Britain, 'Time Out hated it, so it must be good.' And it is - not great, but certainly pretty good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars, that is not enough!, 14 May 2000
This is one of the most powerful musicals that I have ever had the priveledge to go to and listen. It is in French, but don't let that put yuo off. This recording is the best that there is. It is the full live performance as seen in Paris. It captures all the magic and emotion of the stage on two CD's with the original cast. The English version with Tina Arena just doesn't hold a candle to this one with Helene Segara. The music is extremel powerful and some of the songs just enchant you. Le temps des cathedrales is one of the best openers that one could ever have, and the way that Garou finnishes the performance with Danse mon Esmerelda is astounding, so much power and emotion - it is like the ending of La vita e Bella, you cannot help but hold back a tear. Wonderful! Amazing! Enchanting! Emotional! words are just not enough, you must buy this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, 1 Jan 2008
This review is from: Notre Dame De Paris (Audio CD)
This music is simply breathtaking. Just especially beautiful. I have both this version, the two-CD complete version, and the English. The two-CD set (I think 52 tracks) is the best. This is second best. The music in this abridged CD is not presented in chronological order, however, and sometimes, due to this and the missing tracks, there is something lacking. However, it's just gorgeous music.

The acoustics are amazing. I'm not sure if this is really noticeable unless you hear it immediately before or after the English version. The cast is absolutely amazing. There is so much emotion in their voices.

I'm surprised there is so little about Richard Cocciante, the composer. This music is some of the best I've heard. I would have thought there was an abundance of music written by Richard Cocciante that I haven't heard. From what I can find out online, there isn't. This is just a masterpiece.

There are many reviewers who mention the translation issue. If you think of this as a popular musical, I can see that the translation may be an issue. However, think of it as an opera-- which it also is (not in the classical sense). We don't concern ourselves with the translation of La Traviata, La Boheme. Same with this. . . just enjoy the music.

If you can possibly find the 2 CD complete set (sometimes available for download elsewhere, find it before purchasing this. But, if you can't find it, get this. Also, as a side note. . . the DVD has the entire libretto included and offers English subtitles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away... All round!, 22 May 2012
By 
J. Rixon (Krefeld, Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Notre Dame le Paris (DVD Audio)
Notre Dame de Paris (2001) (Full Uncut) (Region 2/4) (DVD + Book) (PAL) (UK Format) (European Release)
I got this as a present for my girlfriend who was raving about it non-stop. She has fond memories of Paris and had always wanted to see this show. She has the music on CD and enjoys listening to it a lot. It's often on in the background. I wasn't a great fan of French films or musicals but as it was her birthday weekend I watched it with her. I was spellbound from start to end. The music is epic, the action and acting is gripping and the overall effect had my spine tingling. I enjoyed it so much that I listened to the CDs all the way back from Kerry to Cork and was bawling along with the French singing when I could join in - the tracks really are that memorable and catchy. I'm now hooked on it. I hope to see it live on stage one day!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 1 Jan 2008
I was not lucky enough to see the original production of this show. But, after listening to the 2 CD version over and over again, I finally bought this.

It's a wonderful show. I do think some of the camera work wasn't great. For instance, the acrobats and dancers are an integral part of this show. They aren't clear here, and are not given equal camera time here. I have heard this show is similar to Cirque de Soleil's shows, but it's impossible to see this when viewing the DVD.

Some of the criticism with this show was that the storyline isn't completely clear. I don't find this to be the case, but I'm familiar with the story. I do think most of it is clear, and viewing the show made me love the music all the more. All of the characters (save Esmeralda, who I'll get to in a minute) are multi-dimensional and, in the 1 1/2 hour showtime, you really get a feel for the anguish these people are all going through. Frollo, in particular, was a real surprise. Instead of being pure evil, one really sees his mental torture. He's even sympathetic at times, except you know all along he will do the wrong thing and cause death and destruction at the end.

Garou (Quasimodo) and Daniel Lavoie (Frollo) are just EXCELLENT. Lavoie's voice is amazing. Patrick Fiori (Phoebus) has a gorgeous tenor. They are all just a pleasure to listen to and watch. Bruno Pelletier, in his role as Gringoire, is perfect.

Fleur de Lys (Julie Zenatti) is wonderful in her small role.

The only real problem I had with the casting was Esmeralda. Her voice is beautiful and she conveys the right emotion in the music. However, part of the problem with this show is that she is supposed to be a gypsy who dances most sensually. It's talked about over and over again. . . the men literally become transfixed watching her. . .mesmerized. We never get to see her dance. Ever. She walks around stiffly and doesn't really move sensually at all. In one of the first numbers she has, "Bohemienne", there is a point where she raises her hands as if she will go into a gypsy dance, but then she doesn't. And, this is a bit of a let down. Is this the director's fault? Is this because Helene Segara cannot dance at all? If she can't dance, then they really needed to show a gypsy dance with one of the cast dancers playing Esmeralda for the interval. This one thing was noticeable enough for me to reduce the 5 stars this show would have received to the four that I gave it.

Also, I thought Helene Segara was made up to look a bit too old for the part. There was just so much makeup, that she didn't look young and innocent. She looked older and harder-- although she is supposed to be young and innocent and unaware of her beauty and the effect she has on those around her. She IS beautiful, yes. But, she she doesn't carry off the innocence at all visually. Noa, who sang Esmeralda on the CD version of this, visually could have carried off the role of Esmeralda even though she's less "classically" beautiful. She's more lithe and dark and has that sensuous body movement that Helene Segara lacks.

Regardless of my criticism here, this is an excellent show and one worth having on DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding musical, 6 Dec 2009
By 
B. Allen "Yellow Car Rules" (NUNEATON, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
From the moment I heard one of Frollo's tracks via Youtube, I have become entranced with this beautiful French-Canadian musical, and have found two new favourite singers: Daniel Lavoie (who plays Frollo) and the amazing Garou (who plays Quasimodo).

The music is amazing, rhythmic, and often very moving, as is the lyric. The French language seems to have more edge (in this case anyway) than the English translation, so I would urge anyone toying with the idea of getting the English soundtrack to stop and listen to the French version first, then maybe get the English version later, as I have done.

The dancers on stage are breathtaking, as are the great moving columns and gargoyles representative of the cathedral itself.

Treat yourself to this extraoridnary piece of musical genius - honestly, you will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 29 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Notre Dame le Paris (DVD Audio)
My sister had seen this before me and I managed to borrow her copy at one point. I ended up watching it every day and not get bored of it. I was gutted when I had to give it back and was desperate for a copy of my own. The music is beautiful and I've had it stuck in my head for a few weeks now. The whole show is amazing and I wish I could see it live.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic original live version of NDDP!, 6 Aug 2001
I bought this CD after seeing the version in London 4 times!!! I was advised by a friend to buy this original French full recording of the play,which you can't buy in English.It is definitely one of the best soundtracks to a theatre musical you can possibly buy.If you've seen this show performed live in London or France,you have to buy it.It is full of emotion and the casts voices are so strong and powerful.It actually made me cry at the end when Quasimodo sings"Dance My Esmerelda" The booklet that comes with it also has lots of great pictures and it has all the words,so you can sing along too!!!!! You'll be humming along like me!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, 1 Jan 2008
This music is simply breathtaking. Just especially beautiful. I have both this version, the two-CD complete version, and the English. The two-CD set (I think 52 tracks) is the best. This is second best. The music in this abridged CD is not presented in chronological order, however, and sometimes, due to this and the missing tracks, there is something lacking. However, it's just gorgeous music.

The acoustics are amazing. I'm not sure if this is really noticeable unless you hear it immediately before or after the English version. The cast is absolutely amazing. There is so much emotion in their voices.

I'm surprised there is so little about Richard Cocciante, the composer. This music is some of the best I've heard. I would have thought there was an abundance of music written by Richard Cocciante that I haven't heard. From what I can find out online, there isn't. This is just a masterpiece.

There are many reviewers who mention the translation issue. If you think of this as a popular musical, I can see that the translation may be an issue. However, think of it as an opera-- which it also is (not in the classical sense). We don't concern ourselves with the translation of La Traviata, La Boheme. Same with this. . . just enjoy the music.

If you can possibly purchase this 2 CD complete set, rather than the condensed 1 cd version, definitely get it. Also, as a side note. . . the DVD has the entire libretto included and offers English subtitles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie, 4 Feb 2012
By 
M. Gallagher-jones (middx. england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In my husbands opinion this is the best version of this well known story. Anthony Quinn is superb in the lead role. I have to agree.
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