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The Forgotten: Jean Delannoy's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1956)

14 December 2016 11:17 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

The Lon Chaney silent The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an important document, and a pretty good movie, especially if you can see it projected. William Dieterle's 1939 film with Charles Laughton is an outright classic, with iconic casting in every role, but in a way it, like its predecessor, is as much a travesty of Victor Hugo's story as the Disney version. Tragedy is softened, hard edges blurred. (And actually there's a lot to admire in the cartoon: an epic cinematic scale and vision, use of humor that doesn't actually wreck the serious aspects. It's just that, starting with Quasimodo not being deaf—because he has to sing, you see—means you're not filming Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo at all.)So it was perhaps inevitable that the French would one day have to show us how it's done, and present a more faithful rendering of the book. »

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