Quasimodo, the hunchback bellringer of Notre Dame's cathedral meets a beautiful gypsy dancer, Esmeralda, and falls in love with her. So does Quasimodo's guardian, the archdeacon of the ... See full summary »
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>
Strict confinement to the brace that held his legs together reportedly caused Lon Chaney to suffer severe pain for the rest of his life. The contact lens he wore in the film also caused tremendous vision loss. See more »
The hair on the back of the Hunchback's hands appears early in the film and later disappears. See more »
A Memorable Atmospheric Version With a Fine Performance By Chaney
This classic silent version of the often-filmed story of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" features good atmosphere and one of Lon Chaney's many fine renderings of an unusual character. Between Chaney and the ponderous medieval settings, it really seems like a strange and unusual world. The rest of the cast helps out as well, and makes this version well worth seeing despite the many newer adaptations that have had the advantages of later technologies.
Chaney is ideal for this kind of role, since he not only creates an interesting and suitable look for the character, but also conceives of the right gestures and expressions to make the character come alive. On the silent screen, Chaney was able to portray characters like Quasimodo and the Phantom with a believability and humanity that few of today's actors can even approach, much less surpass, despite all of their advantages.
While Chaney is the main highlight, the rest of this production works well also. The portrayal of the Parisian underworld, the atmosphere in the great cathedral, and the portrayals of most of the main characters are also strengths. Among the supporting cast, Patsy Ann Miller as Esmerelda and Ernest Torrance as Clopin are particularly good. It fits together well, and creates a satisfying version of the classic story.
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