Today! Because I had a little trouble with the fireplace –
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Directed by Gary Trousdale (x2) and Kirk Wise (x2)
Starring Tom Hulce, Demi Moore (x3), Kevin Kline (x4), Tony Jay (x2), Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough (x2), Mary Wickes (x2), Paul Kandel, David Ogden Stiers (x3), Bill Fagerbakke, Jane Withers, Frank Welker (x3)
There are certainly cooler, rarer, and better posters for this movie than the one I used above, but I wanted to emphasize how the movie was marketed. This, an animated Hunchback of Notre Dame – with all the molten lead battles, deformity shaming, uncontrollable lust, eternal damnation, and murder – had McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. I mean, they understood the subject matter, but they were still Disney, so they forged ahead the only way they knew how!
Not pictured: guards burning to death, implements of public torture
Today! Because I don’t recognize the right of this committee to ask me these kind of questions. And furthermore, you can all go fuck yourselves –
The Front (1976)
Directed by Martin Ritt
Starring Woody Allen (x3), Zero Mostel (x2), Herschel Bernardi, Michael Murphy (x2), David Margulies, Charles Kimbrough, Andrea Marcovicci, Lloyd Gough, Danny Aiello, Remak Ramsay, Marvin Lichterman, Joshua Shelley
A markedly serious film despite the starring comedians, The Front features Woody Allen in a non-Woody Allen movie, and a drama at that (an extreme rarity), playing a cashier roped in by blacklisted writer friends to submit television scripts on their behalf, to enable them to keep earning, in the McCarthy Communist witch hunt of the early 1950s. And while there are funny bits here and there, the film attempts to explore the subject more or less straight, to devastating effect.
But people have had some tonal problems with the movie over the years – the television programs are largely comedies, and Zero’s Hecky Brown, in attempts to keep making money, does continue to perform live comedy acts. Because of this, some take issue with The Front for not taking the whole matter more seriously, but without this – I propose – you’d end up with Guilty by Suspicion, which is a fine movie in its own way, but a touch too unbearable and infuriating (and equivocating in its message and source facts). The Front works all the better because of the lighter moments – the sad clown is almost always going to be a more impactful character.