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The Hunchback

The Hunchback (Sun. (16), 8-10 p.m., TNT) Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic; Rouen, France; and Budapest, Hungary by Alliance Communications and Adelson/Baumgarten Prods. Executive producers, Craig Baumgarten, Gary Adelson, Robert Lantos; producer, Stephane Reichel; co-producers, John Fasano, Peter Medak; director, Medak; writer, Fasano; based on Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"; camera, Elemer Ragalyi; editor, Jay Cassidy; production designer, Trevor Williams; art director, Jozsef Romvari; sound, Stuart French; Quasimodo makeup effects, David White, Sacha Carter; choreographer, Christina Hoyos; costumes, John Bloomfield; music, Ed Shearmur; casting, John Buchan, Iris Grossman, Noel Davis (U.S.); Rosalie Joseph, Laszlo Papp (Hungary). Cast: Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris, Salma Hayek, Edward Atterton, Benedick Blythe, Nigel Terry, Jim Dale, Trevor Baxter, Vernon Dobtcheff, Nickolas Grace, Matthew Sim, Cassie Stuart, Gabi Fon, Michael Mehlman , Olga Antal, Zoltan Ban, Scott Bellefeville, Gabor Csikos, Sean Fuller, Zoltan Gera, Kalman Hollai, Istvan Hunyadkurti, Zsolt Kortvelyessy, Levente Tamasi, Veronika Megyeri, Zoltan Palfi, Erika Sajgal, Bella Tanai, Richard Toth, Pal Turgonyi, Peter Gabor Vineze, Zsolt Zagoni. Quasimodo's back on film, this time for TV, and it's a lush, romanticized and talky edition. Though edging closer to the original Victor Hugo book, scripter John Fasano still fails to knock off one major character at the finale. Oh, well. In some ways cozier and prettier --- for instance, half of Quasimodo's face looks normal --- it's still a good, old-fashioned (reported) $ 8 million meller about two outcasts exchanging kindnesses. After a prologue in which a foundling's discovered on the rain-driven church steps in 1480, the tale jumps ahead 25 years. Quasimodo, raised inside Notre Dame itself, owes his life to his guardian, Dom Frollo. After countless performances of the drama with countless performers and countless ersatz French crowds, the story has become achingly familiar; no wonder it's so jauntily called "The Hunchback." (Actual reason for dropping "of Notre Dame" from the title is to spare confusion with other recent interps, including Disney's animated version last year.) This time around, dreadfully disfigured Quasimodo's played fairly enough by Mandy Patinkin. Thanks to the sharp makeup by David White and Sacha Carter, the hunchback's distorted upper torso, seen on the public scaffold, looks genuine, and the right side of his face with its lopsided eye looks hopelessly afflicted. The left side of the bell-ringer's face is OK, allowing director Peter Medak to conceal the ugliness at times when it would distract. Lovely Salma Hayek makes the dancing gypsy Esmeralda fetching if not fiery. When she ladles out water to Quasimodo on the scaffold, the two strike up a convincing interdependence. The ghettoized plight of gypsies is touched upon, but it's a light touch until Esmeralda approaches the king with a plea. The situation turns, in proper melodramatic fashion, a darker hue. A bald-headed, theatrical Richard Harris, decked out in long, black clerical outfits as Dom Frollo lusting after Esmeralda, stalks off with the acting cups, if any are being passed around. As Esmeralda's suddenly affianced Gringoire, Edward Atterton delivers a fresh interp, and Nigel Terry's every other inch a king. Fasano's flat adaptation hovers around other former versions, but does make a thrust here and there at fresher, more humane, touches. And there's the concern about Johann Gutenberg's printing press creating a stir between Frollo and liberals as the church is opposed to common folk reading Plutarch. Frollo's unholy yearning for Esmeralda galvanizes the piece into slow action. It's as though everything's so attractive --- the John Bloomfield costumes, the interiors of Notre Dame (actually Rouen's Notre Dame cathedral), the colorful atmosphere --- director Medak must pause to admire it. Trevor Williams' production design for the telefilm is a knockout. Williams and his team have artfully duplicated Paris' Notre Dame exterior with an 88-foot high, 98-foot wide, slate-blue facade complete with statues on the backlot of Budapest's Malofilm Studios. It's credible, with its public square, though the 1923 Universal and the 1939 RKO versions with their truly stone aspects had the advantage of being filmed in black and white, making the exteriors look more genuine. Elemer Ragalyi's camerawork is rich, even lustrous, and Jay Cassidy's editing is tops. A handsome if not thrilling production, "The Hunchback" goes dependably from plot point to plot point; and experienced viewers may nod in agreement or just nod. Maybe Quasimodo's rung one too many bells, swung too many times on the cathedral's ropes. At any rate, there's little suspense. It's a by-the-numbers retelling of a gal and a guy treating each other with utter kindness. Ed Shearmur's nearly constant, sympathetic score sustains the meller. The whole package suggests the production's determination to earn respect. If not heart. AU:Tony Scott

With:
Cast: Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris, Salma Hayek, Edward Atterton, Benedick Blythe, Nigel Terry, Jim Dale, Trevor Baxter, Vernon Dobtcheff, Nickolas Grace, Matthew Sim, Cassie Stuart, Gabi Fon, Michael Mehlman, Olga Antal, Zoltan Ban, Scott Bellefeville, Gabor Csikos, Sean Fuller, Zoltan Gera, Kalman Hollai, Istvan Hunyadkurti, Zsolt Kortvelyessy, Levente Tamasi, Veronika Megyeri, Zoltan Palfi, Erika Sajgal, Bella Tanai, Richard Toth, Pal Turgonyi, Peter Gabor Vineze, Zsolt Zagoni.

The Hunchback (Sun. (16), 8-10 p.m., TNT) Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic; Rouen, France; and Budapest, Hungary by Alliance Communications and Adelson/Baumgarten Prods. Executive producers, Craig Baumgarten, Gary Adelson, Robert Lantos; producer, Stephane Reichel; co-producers, John Fasano, Peter Medak; director, Medak; writer, Fasano; based on Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”; camera, Elemer Ragalyi; editor, Jay Cassidy; production designer, Trevor Williams; art director, Jozsef Romvari; sound, Stuart French; Quasimodo makeup effects, David White, Sacha Carter; choreographer, Christina Hoyos; costumes, John Bloomfield; music, Ed Shearmur; casting, John Buchan, Iris Grossman, Noel Davis (U.S.); Rosalie Joseph, Laszlo Papp (Hungary). Cast: Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris, Salma Hayek, Edward Atterton, Benedick Blythe, Nigel Terry, Jim Dale, Trevor Baxter, Vernon Dobtcheff, Nickolas Grace, Matthew Sim, Cassie Stuart, Gabi Fon, Michael Mehlman , Olga Antal, Zoltan Ban, Scott Bellefeville, Gabor Csikos, Sean Fuller, Zoltan Gera, Kalman Hollai, Istvan Hunyadkurti, Zsolt Kortvelyessy, Levente Tamasi, Veronika Megyeri, Zoltan Palfi, Erika Sajgal, Bella Tanai, Richard Toth, Pal Turgonyi, Peter Gabor Vineze, Zsolt Zagoni. Quasimodo’s back on film, this time for TV, and it’s a lush, romanticized and talky edition. Though edging closer to the original Victor Hugo book, scripter John Fasano still fails to knock off one major character at the finale. Oh, well. In some ways cozier and prettier — for instance, half of Quasimodo’s face looks normal — it’s still a good, old-fashioned (reported) $ 8 million meller about two outcasts exchanging kindnesses. After a prologue in which a foundling’s discovered on the rain-driven church steps in 1480, the tale jumps ahead 25 years. Quasimodo, raised inside Notre Dame itself, owes his life to his guardian, Dom Frollo. After countless performances of the drama with countless performers and countless ersatz French crowds, the story has become achingly familiar; no wonder it’s so jauntily called “The Hunchback.” (Actual reason for dropping “of Notre Dame” from the title is to spare confusion with other recent interps, including Disney’s animated version last year.) This time around, dreadfully disfigured Quasimodo’s played fairly enough by Mandy Patinkin. Thanks to the sharp makeup by David White and Sacha Carter, the hunchback’s distorted upper torso, seen on the public scaffold, looks genuine, and the right side of his face with its lopsided eye looks hopelessly afflicted. The left side of the bell-ringer’s face is OK, allowing director Peter Medak to conceal the ugliness at times when it would distract. Lovely Salma Hayek makes the dancing gypsy Esmeralda fetching if not fiery. When she ladles out water to Quasimodo on the scaffold, the two strike up a convincing interdependence. The ghettoized plight of gypsies is touched upon, but it’s a light touch until Esmeralda approaches the king with a plea. The situation turns, in proper melodramatic fashion, a darker hue. A bald-headed, theatrical Richard Harris, decked out in long, black clerical outfits as Dom Frollo lusting after Esmeralda, stalks off with the acting cups, if any are being passed around. As Esmeralda’s suddenly affianced Gringoire, Edward Atterton delivers a fresh interp, and Nigel Terry’s every other inch a king. Fasano’s flat adaptation hovers around other former versions, but does make a thrust here and there at fresher, more humane, touches. And there’s the concern about Johann Gutenberg’s printing press creating a stir between Frollo and liberals as the church is opposed to common folk reading Plutarch. Frollo’s unholy yearning for Esmeralda galvanizes the piece into slow action. It’s as though everything’s so attractive — the John Bloomfield costumes, the interiors of Notre Dame (actually Rouen’s Notre Dame cathedral), the colorful atmosphere — director Medak must pause to admire it. Trevor Williams’ production design for the telefilm is a knockout. Williams and his team have artfully duplicated Paris’ Notre Dame exterior with an 88-foot high, 98-foot wide, slate-blue facade complete with statues on the backlot of Budapest’s Malofilm Studios. It’s credible, with its public square, though the 1923 Universal and the 1939 RKO versions with their truly stone aspects had the advantage of being filmed in black and white, making the exteriors look more genuine. Elemer Ragalyi’s camerawork is rich, even lustrous, and Jay Cassidy’s editing is tops. A handsome if not thrilling production, “The Hunchback” goes dependably from plot point to plot point; and experienced viewers may nod in agreement or just nod. Maybe Quasimodo’s rung one too many bells, swung too many times on the cathedral’s ropes. At any rate, there’s little suspense. It’s a by-the-numbers retelling of a gal and a guy treating each other with utter kindness. Ed Shearmur’s nearly constant, sympathetic score sustains the meller. The whole package suggests the production’s determination to earn respect. If not heart. AU:Tony Scott

The Hunchback

Sun. (16), 8-10 p.m., TNT

Production: Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic; Rouen, France; and Budapest, Hungary by Alliance Communications and Adelson/Baumgarten Prods. Executive producers, Craig Baumgarten, Gary Adelson, Robert Lantos; producer, Stephane Reichel; co-producers, John Fasano, Peter Medak; director, Medak; writer, Fasano; based on Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame";

Crew: camera, Elemer Ragalyi; editor, Jay Cassidy; production designer, Trevor Williams; art director, Jozsef Romvari; sound, Stuart French; Quasimodo makeup effects, David White, Sacha Carter; choreographer, Christina Hoyos; costumes, John Bloomfield; music, Ed Shearmur; casting, John Buchan, Iris Grossman, Noel Davis (U.S.); Rosalie Joseph, Laszlo Papp (Hungary).

Cast: Cast: Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris, Salma Hayek, Edward Atterton, Benedick Blythe, Nigel Terry, Jim Dale, Trevor Baxter, Vernon Dobtcheff, Nickolas Grace, Matthew Sim, Cassie Stuart, Gabi Fon, Michael Mehlman, Olga Antal, Zoltan Ban, Scott Bellefeville, Gabor Csikos, Sean Fuller, Zoltan Gera, Kalman Hollai, Istvan Hunyadkurti, Zsolt Kortvelyessy, Levente Tamasi, Veronika Megyeri, Zoltan Palfi, Erika Sajgal, Bella Tanai, Richard Toth, Pal Turgonyi, Peter Gabor Vineze, Zsolt Zagoni.

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