I wish I had read Mark Silver’s piece before I followed the advice of the G rating and took my 3- and 5-year-olds to see “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (“ ‘Hunchback”: Sex, Lies--and Videotapes Too,” June 23). It is unbelievable that the people responsible for movie ratings considered the film appropriate for all ages.
I did not mind the sensual aspects of this version as much as the violent content. I knew that Disney had completely altered the original story to have a happy ending and thought they might have tempered the violence as well. Instead, they added new violent acts not in the original.
I don’t know if Silver has any training in child psychology, but he is obviously a caring, responsible adult who recognizes the power of the media and the power of critics to direct attendance at the movies.
As a child and adolescent psychiatrist and father of two children, I disagree with Silver’s contention that the movie is not good for younger children. I would take a child of any age to this film.
“Hunchback” is about hope, about the universality of our “deformed” inner images and the potential for freedom through the hands of a capable feminine. “Hunchback” is about overcoming bigotry. It speaks to that part in all of us that feels unlovable, the outsider and ashamed.
“Hunchback” does our children good by exposing them to the good and bad in all of us in a way that is developmentally appropriate for children of all ages.
S. ROBERT MORADI
Some of the points brought up by Silver in his think piece on the latest Disney “animated classic” are well-taken (the subservient role of women, the somewhat dull hero vs. the interesting-male-we’d-rather-see-our-heroine-end-up-with) but there are a few things I’d like to bring up. For one thing, the women in “Beauty,” “Aladdin” and “Mermaid” ultimately end up in marriage, but they are originally setting out for something better than what their society has planned for them, and they all end up with it.
Second, that “parents have been trusting the education and entertainment of their children to Walt Disney for generations” seems to abdicate responsibility for the actions of the children to a huge conglomerate. If these parents have not been watching what their children have been watching to see that it fits what they want the children to know, then blame them, not the Walt Disney Co. No film or other bit of media for children should be trusted sight unseen.
The last time I checked, the rating G for general audiences didn’t exclude adults. The studios and the theaters are not responsible for your children. You are.
Silver’s commentary really struck a chord with this granny of two wonderful, special grandchildren who she hopes will develop into thoughtful, sensitive, responsible grown-ups like their parents.
Granny’s favorite tales are “The Little Red Hen” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Granny thinks Mark Silver likes “The Emperor’s New Clothes” too! Thank God there is another soul out there who’s not afraid to tell it like it is in this world of social confusion, commercial bombardment of young minds for adult profits and a perpetual message to us all to strive for mediocrity while calling it excellence.
MARGIE E. MUNDY
The filmmakers, though not stringently adhering to the plot, have captured the essence of Victor Hugo’s classic story of unrequited love, passion, hypocrisy and social upheaval--and appropriately for all ages.