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Bound to suit the admirers of Theda Bara

Author: deickemeyer from Chicago
2 February 2015

In preparing this five-reel screen version or Victor Hugo's romance of medieval Paris. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which the Fox Film Corporation has produced under the title of "The Darling of Paris," an attempt has been made to avoid arousing any religious feeling against the picture by changing the priest, whose passion for Esmaralda brings on the tragedy, to a man of science. Another radical departure from the original is to transform the misshapen dwarf Quasimodo to a handsome young chap of powerful physique who wins the gypsy girl at the final scene. The wisdom of these changes is without question, if the commercial returns from the picture are to decide the matter. Such an arrangement is bound to suit the admirers of Theda Bara, who plays the heroine, however much it detracts from the strength of the story. To anyone not familiar with the Hugo romance, the Fox screen version presents a well put together photoplay, rich in picturesque incident, strong character drawing, authentic reproduction of an age long past, dramatic situations in abundance and a climax of thrilling worth. To this array of meritorious features must be added the excellent performance of Esmaralda given by Miss Bara, and the fine support of the rest of the cast. It is doubtful if the star has ever done anything better than her acting in this picture. She looks the character, and retains something of the untamed spirit and warmth of passion which must have belonged to a gypsy girl of the Middle Ages. Walter Law as Claude Frallo, Glen White as Quasimodo and Herbert Hayes as Captain Phoebus, are the more important male members of the cast and are well equipped for their tasks. Carey Lee, Alice Gale, John Webb Dillon and Louis Dean also deserve pleasant mention. The production is pretentious and impressive. J. Gordon Edwards, the director, has handled his material of every description with authority, and the average follower of the screen will find "The Darling of Paris" very much to his taste. – The Moving Picture World, February 10, 1917

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