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Western Animation / The Secret of the Hunchback

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The Secret of the Hunchback is a 1996 Direct to Video Animated Musical made by UAV Entertainment. It tells the story of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked, bell-ringer of Notre Dame, who longs for love and acceptance from those around him despite his deformed appearance.

As usual for UAV, this film is another mockbuster of the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


  • Adaptational Badass: Pierre was a cowardly Non-Action Guy in the original book, but here, he's able to hold his own in fights against multiple trained soldiers. For bonus points, his opponents are generally armed and armored, while he generally isn't.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Instead of being a member of the clergy, Frollo's the High Sheriff of Paris.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the original book Quasimodo and Pierre have little interaction, with Pierre being shown to be jealous when Quasimodo receives more attention than him during the King of Fools ceremony. Here Pierre immediately accepts and befriends Quasimodo despite his deformities, trying to stop Frollo from whipping Quasimodo and even trying to rescue him when he's hanging from the roof in the climax.
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  • Adaptational Villainy: Frollo is not depicted as the noble Archdeacon who adopts Quasimodo (with most of his good character being given to the unnamed Archdeacon) and is a jerk from the start.
  • Adaptation Species Change: While Quasimodo was human in the book, he's (probably) an angel here.
  • Adapted Out: Quasimodo, Gringoire, Frollo, Pierre, and Esmeralda are the only characters who avert this trope.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Due to her literary counterpart having been an example of Ambiguously Brown, it is uncertain if this portrayal of Esmeralda is truly a Race Lift or still an example of Roma by adoption with her backstory having been cut.
  • Anachronism Stew: The doctor in the beginning has a stethoscope, a device that wouldn't be invented for over 300 years.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Brother Labas is worried about Quasimodo when he's missing, but calls him a "thoughtless ingrate" when he returns.
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  • Animated Musical: Like all UAV productions.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The narrator says that The Bible mentions that you shouldn't judge anyone for their looks.
  • Badass Preacher: The Archdeacon does have his moments e.g. calling out Frollo in the first act and unlocking his prison cell using his cross medallion.
  • Bad Habits: One of the evil gypsies impersonates a priest to force the marriage between Frollo and Esmeralda.
  • Beard of Evil: Frollo sports a chin curtain and pencil mustache combo.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Among the gypsies. Esmeralda is beautiful and kind (although somewhat greedy), while the other gypsies who range from plain-looking to ugly are evil.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: The male gypsies form this trio.
  • Broken Aesop: Despite the main point of the story being seeing past people's looks, Pierre knows Esmeralda's good because of her looks, despite not knowing anything about her yet. The audience is supposed to assume Esmeralda as good just because she is beautiful without presenting her good qualities before.
  • Carpet of Virility: Frollo has some rather thick chest hair.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: The fattest gypsy dresses up as a belly dancer in order to lure Quasimodo into a trap.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frollo has his moments.
    LeFaux: A monster? Creating panic and fear? Who does that make you think of?
    Frollo: My first wife?
  • Death by Looking Up: Lord Frollo's belt gets stuck in a gargoyle, which breaks off and crushes Frollo.
  • Decomposite Character: As with some other versions, Frollo and the Archdeacon are two different characters.
  • Deus ex Machina: An egregious example. In the ending, Quasimodo seems to fall to his death, but then... he grows wings and flies away.
  • Dirty Cop: Frollo is the Sheriff of Paris, and abuses his authority to make himself rich by demanding protection money.
  • Disguised in Drag: The fat gypsy attempts to disguise himself as Esmeralda. Key word being "attempts".
  • Disney Villain Death: It's Quasimodo and not Frollo who almost suffers this.
  • Expy: Frollo seems to be a mix between Gaston, Jafar, and Scar instead of the actual Frollo, with a touch of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Though the Gaston elements are not quite as blatant as the Golden Films version.
  • Fan Disservice: The Belly Dancer scene is done by the fattest, ugliest gypsy.
  • Fat and Skinny: The Archdeacon is skinny and Brother Labas is considerably fat.
  • Fat Bastard: Two of the gypsies. They're fat and greedy.
  • Has Two Mommies: Quasimodo has two daddies: the Archdeacon and Brother Labas.
  • Healing Hands: Quasimodo has these, which is probably meant to be foreshadowing for the fact that he's actually an angel.
  • A Hero Is Born: The story begins when Quasimodo is left at the cathedral.
  • In Name Only: This has nothing to do with the book, except for the cathedral and a few characters.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Frollo fakes remorse and willingness to give up, and later, he almost makes Quasimodo fall to his death.
  • "I Want" Song: Esmeralda's song. It's somewhat greedy.
  • Instant Sedation: Frollo's goons use chloroform to subdue and capture Quasimodo.
  • Jeweler's Eye Loupe: Frollo uses one to examine one of the church's goblets.
  • Lost in Imitation: The decomposition of Frollo so the villainous Frollo is not a cleric comes from two films and the Disney version.
  • MST: Here, courtesy of Musical Hell.
  • No, You: After Frollo accuses the Archdeacon of keeping a monster in Notre Dame, Brother Labas responds by saying Frollo is the only monster in the cathedral.
  • Obviously Evil: Much like the Disney version, Frollo. His evil smile, Sinister Schnoz, pencil moustache, and Beard of Evil just screams cartoon villain, and that's before you get to his deep voice and Evil British accent. Downplayed however as, unlike his Disney counterpart and most other examples of this trope, no one is stupid enough to trust him.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They look like deformed folk.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Or sing the blues, to be more precise.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The biggest of the male gypsies disguises himself as Esmeralda (or more accurately, tries to). Later, the leader impersonates the Archdeacon.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Like the 1939 and 1982 films before it and the 1997 film after it, this film also promotes Pierre Gringoire to the position of Esmeralda's love interest.
  • Sinister Minister: Averted with Frollo. He's a sheriff in this version.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Frollo has a rather large hooked nose.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Quasimodo and Esmeralda.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Frollo laments this shortly before his Villain Song.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Quasimodo is flogged, and Esmeralda gives him water.
  • Tears from a Stone: One of the gargoyles (in stone form) cries while Quasimodo is getting whipped.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Esmeralda's eyes are pink.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: There is one at the Day of the Innocent festival. Quasimodo plays one and he is so strong that he breaks the device.
  • Token Good Teammate: Esmeralda among the gypsies.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Frollo clearly had ample time to dodge that falling gargoyle.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: The big secret of the film.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: In the book and most other adaptations, Frollo is Quasimodo's adoptive father figure. In this film, due to the Decomposite Character trope mentioned above, Frollo and Quasimodo do not interact directly until their fight on the balcony in the finale.
  • Villain Song: Frollo gets one.
  • Whip It Good: As it turns out, Frollo has considerable skill with a whip.


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