Clopin bought Esmeralda from the gypsies when she was young. Dancing in the square at the festival, Esmeralda is spotted by Jehan, the evil brother of the good archdeacon Claude Frollo. When he sets Quasimodo out to kidnap Esmeralda, Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, rescues her and captures Quasimodo. The courts sentence Quasimodo to be flogged, and the only one who will give him water while he is tied in the square is Esmeralda. After Clopin forces Esmeralda to leave Phoebus at the ball, she sends a note to Phoebus to meet her at Notre-Dame. In the garden, Phoebus is stabbed in the back by Jehan. Esmeralda is accused of stabbing Phoebus, convicted by the courts and sentenced to hang. When Esmeralda again rejects Jehan, he tells her that Phoebus is dead, even though it is not true. Clopin, Phoebus and Quasimodo all try different ways to save Esmeralda. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is the often filmed Victor Hugo classic tale of the tragic Quasimodo and his love for the lovely Esmeralda in 15th century Paris.
Lon Chaney in perhaps his greatest role, plays the title character to perfection. Even through the grotesque make up that he created for the character, he can still elicit the sympathy of the audience through his touching portrayal. Chaney is barely recognizable through the 40 pounds of make up and appliances that went to create Quasimodo for the screen. You have to remember that this was 1923 and Chaney did not have the benefit of today's make up techniques.
Patsy Ruth Miller brings youth, beauty and innocence to the role of Esmeralda, a perfect contrast to the hunchback. Norman Kerry plays Phoebus, the nominal hero of the tale who is Esmeralda's true love. Brandon Hurst is the chief villain, Jehan, who wants Esmeralda for himself. Ernest Torrence plays Clopin the "King of the Beggars". In the role of Gringoire is Raymond Hatton, who "B" western fans will remember as the comical sidekick in several westerns of the 30s and 40s.
However, this movie truly belongs to Lon Chaney. It is truly a pity that he died before he could manifest his genius in sound films. (He died in 1930 and made just one sound film).
After almost 80 years, Lon Chaney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" remains the definitive version and a true classic of American cinema.
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