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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 6 September 1923 (USA)
In fifteenth century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

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(novel), (adaptation) (as Perley Poor Sheehan) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Kate Lester ...
Winifred Bryson ...
Nigel De Brulier ...
Don Claudio (as Nigel de Brulier)
Brandon Hurst ...
...
Clopin (as Ernest Torrance)
...
Harry von Meter ...
Mons. Neufchatel (as Harry Van Meter)
Raymond Hatton ...
Nick De Ruiz ...
Mons. Le Torteru (as Nick de Ruiz)
Eulalie Jensen ...
Roy Laidlaw ...
Charmolu
Ray Myers ...
Charmolu's Assistant (as W. Ray Meyers)
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Storyline

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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

6 September 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Notre-Dame-i toronyőr  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Ontario) | (TCM Print) | (2006 alternate) |

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James L. Howard, who helped make the teeth for Lon Chaney in this film, was actually Chaney's personal dentist. Howard was born in 1880 and died in 1962 in Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

The hair on the back of the Hunchback's hands appears early in the film and later disappears. See more »

Quotes

Quasimodo: [title card] Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tully Marshall is billed erroneously as "El Rey Luis XI" which is Spanish for "King Louis XI". He should have been billed as "Le Roi Louis XI" which is French for "King Louis XI". See more »

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User Reviews

 
evocative Hugo adaptation
16 March 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This superior silent movie (even when viewed in a substandard print as the one I saw) blossoms as one of the finest literary adaptations to appear on the screen.

Quasimodo, the repulsive deaf hunchback who rings the bells for Notre Dame Cathedral, is played by the multi-faceted Lon Chaney, and he puts the different aspects of the character across very well - fear, hatred, betrayal, longing, kindness. This is a misunderstood 'freak' who has much of the human spirit intact within him despite the betrayals of those who should protect him.

Patsy Ruth Miller is an effective Esmeralda, pretty and compelling whether in her gypsy dance or at the finale where she watches the battle between the turrets of the Cathedral and the square below as her people try to battle their way into Sanctuary.

Also of note are Nigel de Brulier as Claudio, Ernest Torrence as gypsy king and Esmeralda's foster father Clopin, Tully Marshall as a bored Louis XI, Norman Kerry as a posturing Phoebus, Brandon Hurst as a cunning Jehan, and Raymond Hatton as a twittery Gringoire.

There are nice touches in the staging, too - as Esmeralda and Phoebus lunch at an inn, a spider sucks a fly into her web; while the gypsy band at the steps of Notre Dame get showered with a rain of molten lead as Esmeralda hides in safety in the cathedral tower.

The version I saw used music and sound effects to accompany the pictures and titles, which was done very well. The film may seem a little long, and could spend more time on Chaney and less on Miss Miller, but it is a good piece of work.


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