Due to the nature of this bracket game, the round two match-ups can feel a little random. Perhaps none more so than today’s. What do Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Birdcage have in common? They are both based on French source material. Hunchback obviously is based on Victor Hugo’s famous novel and Birdcage is a remake of the French farce, La Cage aux Folles. And while it may not be immediately apparent, both movies have similar themes. In The Birdcage a gay couple pretends to be straight to help their son fit into his fiancée’s family. In Hunchback, an outsider sings of his desire to be “Out there” which many have interpreted as having a homosexual subtext.
Admittedly a stretch, but you try finding commonalities between these two movies!
Twenty years ago, the world of animation was going through a transitional period. Toy Story, the first-ever feature film animated by computers, had been released the year before. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the controversial head of Disney studios, had been chased out of the company by his former mentor, CEO Michael Eisner. Katzenberg set up shop at Dreamworks where he formed his own animation studio to compete with his former employer. It was a good time to be an animator. Everyone was still chasing the box office success of The Lion King and rival studios were paying big money to poach talent from the Mouse House.
In today’s bracket, we’re taking a look at two slightly dark children’s films released by Disney a year of change.
ummm…Wow. Almost 20 years later and “Hellfire” from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is still stunning in a way Disney pretty much never is. Of course finding it so high on this list is pretty stunning in and of itself. Judge Frollo is one of the more sadistic and twisted villains in any Disney film, much less the animated ones. This got a “G” rating? The themes of forbidden lust, guilt, sexual possession, capital punishment, and damnation are indicative of the film’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, as Disney appears to be pulling against itself in opposite directions.
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You will hear two different voices for Esmerelda in the above video, but that wasn’t always the intent. It was believed that the streetwise gypsy dancer should have a less dainty voice than many of the famous Disney female leads, so they invited Demi Moore to come in and work with songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz on the required vocals. Unfortunately, they found after several attempts that she was not feeling like she could accomplish the singing appropriately. Moore herself asked them to find someone else, but was retained to voice the speaking parts for the role.
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As will become very obvious in the coming days, Lebeau and I are both taking Disney-related trips later this month. Lebeau and family are taking their first Disney cruise while I am in Anaheim at roughly the same time. As such, Disney and vacations in general will dominate much of June here at Le Blog.
Instead of our typical bracket game, I’ve decided to fill the first three weeks of the month by writing about one song from an animated Disney feature film each day. You, our faithful readers, will have a hand in deciding which songs I will write about by ranking four different lists of songs provided below. Polldaddy only allows ten candidates in each ranking group, so I separated forty famous songs from the house of mouse into four different groups.