Tag Archives: Quasimodo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “God Help the Outcasts” (1996)

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After successfully evading Frollo’s soldiers, Esmeralda unexpectedly finds herself a veritable prisoner inside Notre Dame. While Frollo concedes that he can’t arrest the gypsy inside the cathedral, the moment she steps outside his men will be waiting. Esmeralda is rightfully frustrated, but the Archdeacon points out that maybe Someone in the cathedral can help her (hinting that she should turn to prayer). Esmeralda does indeed begin to pray, and the result is “God Help the Outcasts,” one of the best songs to come out of this film. It actually replaced another song named “Someday” (which you can hear over the end credits) when the directors wanted a quieter song for the scene.

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For the song, Esmeralda is voiced by Heidi Mollenhauer (Demi Moore provides her speaking voice). The song is quiet and somber, as Esmeralda reflects on the plight of outcasts like herself, asking for God to help them since nobody else will.

I don’t know if You can hear me
Or if You’re even there
I don’t know if You would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to You
Still, I see Your face and wonder
Were You once an outcast, too?

God help the outcasts
Hungry from birth
Show them the mercy
They don’t find on earth
God help my people
We look to You, still
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will

Esmeralda’s prayer for the outcasts is in stark contrast to the rest of the people praying in the cathedral. While Esmeralda prays for others, the wealthy parishioners pray for themselves, asking for wealth and glory. These scenes are intercut with some gorgeous animated shots of the interior of the cathedral and its stained glass windows (the animators spent a lot of time studying the real Notre Dame to make it as accurate as possible).

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I ask for wealth
I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can possess
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

Undeterred, Esmeralda insists that she herself wants nothing. Meanwhile, as this is going on, Quasimodo is slowly making his way down from the bell tower, lured by Esmeralda’s song. In all his life, I don’t think he’s ever heard a prayer like this before. The notion that someone would want to pray for people like him, I think this is the moment when Quasimodo really starts to fall in love with her.

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and downtrod
I thought we all were
The children of God
God help the outcasts
Children of God

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One of my favorite details in this song is that Esmeralda finishes while standing beneath one of the famed Rose Windows. Given the intricacies of the stained glass, it’s replicated in stunning detail, including its colorful shadow cast on the cathedral floor. I’m hoping that someday I can go to Paris and see these beautiful windows for myself.

“God Help the Outcasts” is one of those songs that almost always has me crying by the end, because it’s such a beautiful moment. What do you think of this song? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Bells of Notre Dame” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Out There” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Topsy Turvy” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Heaven’s Light/Hellfire” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Court of Miracles” (1996)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Out There” (1996)

Quasimodo has one of the most dysfunctional and abusive upbringings in the Disney canon (even worse than Rapunzel’s, because while it’s true Mother Gothel kidnapped the princess and mentally abused her so she’d stay in the tower, she didn’t kill either of Rapunzel’s parents). After causing the death of Quasimodo’s mother, Judge Frollo (Tony Jay) nearly drowns her baby before the Archdeacon of Notre Dame stops him and orders him to raise the child as his own as penance for what he has done. Frollo translates this to keeping Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) locked up in the bell tower for the next twenty years, raising him to believe he is a monster that his mother abandoned.

 

As a young man, Quasimodo spends most of his days observing the residents of Paris (when not ringing the church bells) as they go about their daily lives, longing to walk among them. He especially wants to participate in the annual Feast of Fools and his friends the stone gargoyles encourage him to go. When Frollo learns that the bell-ringer tried to leave (again), he reminds Quasimodo that he is a monster and if he goes outside he’ll be reviled as such. The only way he can remain safe is to stay in the tower and do exactly as Frollo says. While Quasimodo acquiesces to his master’s wishes, his desire to experience life outside the cathedral remains and this is the theme for “Out There.”

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Safe behind these windows and these parapets of stone
Gazing at the people down below me
All my life, I watch them as I hide up here alone
Hungry for the histories they show me
All my life, I memorize their faces
Knowing them as they will never know me
All my life, I wonder how it feels to pass a day
Not above them
But part of them

And out there, living in the sun
Give me one day out there, all I ask is one
To hold forever
Out there, where they all live unaware
What I’d give
What I’d dare
Just to live one day out there

Out there among the millers and the weavers and their wives
Through the roofs and gables I can see them
Every day they shout and scold and go about their lives
Heedless of the gift it is to be them

If I was in their skin
I’d treasure every instant

Out there, strolling by the Seine
Taste a morning out there, like ordinary men
Who freely walk about there
Just one day and then, I swear
I’ll be content
With my share

Won’t resent
Won’t despair
Old and bent
I won’t care
I’ll have spent one day out there!

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Quasimodo expresses the wish of many Disney heroes and heroines: “I don’t like how my life currently is, but if I can just do this one thing I will be happy forever.” The song is practically a staple in Disney musicals but that isn’t a bad thing if it’s done properly and “Out There” is one of my favorite Disney songs. During the scene, Quasimodo clambers all over Notre Dame, letting you see the beautiful sculptures and architecture that make the cathedral so famous. The animators took a special trip to Paris to sketch the building and it really shows throughout the film.

Of course, if you’ve been keeping up with Disturbing Disney then you know Quasimodo’s first trip into the outside world will end badly. Despite that, it’s so easy to feel for the bell-ringer as he sings; to be that close to a bustling medieval city that you’re not allowed to visit would leave anyone feeling lonely and depressed (it’s amazing that Quasimodo grows up relatively well-adjusted).

What do you think about “Out There”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Bells of Notre Dame” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Topsy Turvy” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “God Help the Outcasts” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Heaven’s Light/Hellfire” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Court of Miracles” (1996)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Disturbing Disney #20: Quasimodo is crowned ‘King of Fools’ (1996)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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It’s a trope that’s almost guaranteed to appear in any Disney film: the young hero/heroine is admonished by an authority figure NOT to do something; they do it anyway and as a result they end up in big trouble. Such is the case in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). The sweet Quasimodo is compelled to live in the bell tower of the cathedral by his reluctant guardian Frollo on the grounds that the outside world is evil and dangerous (a similar argument is used by Mother Gothel years later on Rapunzel). Quasimodo wants more than anything to go out among the people, so when the annual ‘Feast of Fools’ comes around, the bell ringer can’t take it anymore and sneaks out to join in the festivities.

 

From the moment I watched this film in the theater, I knew something bad was going to happen at some point. Either Quasimodo was going to get caught, locked up, or something. And when Frollo arrived in his carriage, I thought the moment was imminent. But then…nothing seemed to happen. True, Quasimodo was found out, but instead of being rejected, he’s crowned ‘King of Fools’ by the audience and paraded around the city (much to Frollo’s displeasure, though it seems he can’t do anything about it for the moment). For a brief moment, I actually believed that things were going to be okay…and then the real trouble started.

Suddenly, two guards lob tomatoes at Quasimodo, prompting the rest of the crowd to join in (I’m not sure if this is an annual thing or if this is just a case of mob mentality). So far the scene has just turned cruel; what makes it disturbing is when the crowd ties Quasimodo down to the platform when he tries to run away, spinning him around so everyone can get a good shot at him. Even the colors turn darker (starting when Quasimodo is tied down and his hump is exposed), highlighting how wrong and terrible this situation is.

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As someone who suffered from a lot of bullying in school, this scene has never failed to trigger me. Quasimodo’s perspective of viewing these people who were cheering him minutes ago and are now hurting him and laughing while they do it is just heartbreaking. It gets even worse when Frollo forbids Phoebus from intervening, stating that “a lesson needs to be learned here.” I don’t know why I felt surprised at Frollo’s actions; on further consideration, it’s likely he felt the crowd’s treatment was far worse than any punishment he could have devised for Quasimodo.

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While it’s true that Esmeralda steps in to stop the abuse, the damage has already been done. The Quasimodo that stumbles back into the cathedral is broken now in a way that he wasn’t when the film started. Before, he at least had his dream of someday going out among the people, now he doesn’t even have that.

This scene is a classic example of why I started the Disturbing Disney series and it makes for a fitting entry (the 20th in the series!)

What do you think of this scene? Does it disturb you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a good day!

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)