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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
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In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

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(screen play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
...
...
...
Alan Marshal ...
Walter Hampden ...
...
...
Madame de Lys
George Zucco ...
Procurator
Fritz Leiber ...
Old Nobleman
Etienne Girardot ...
Doctor
Helene Reynolds ...
Fleur de Lys (as Helene Whitney)
Minna Gombell ...
Queen of Beggars (as Mina Gombell)
Arthur Hohl ...
Olivier
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Storyline

King Louis XI is a wise and old king and Frollo is the Chief Justice. Frollo gazes on the gypsy girl, Esmeralda, in the church during Fool's Day and sends Quasimodo to catch her. Quasimodo, with the girl, is captured by Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, who frees the girl. 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. Later, at a party of nobles, Esmeralda again meets both Frollo, who is bewitched by her, and Phoebus. When Phoebus is stabbed to death, Esmeralda is accused of the murder, convicted by the court and sentenced to hang. Clopin, King of the Beggars; Gringoire, Esmeralda's husband; and Quasimodo, the bellringer, all try different ways to save her from the gallows. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BIG beyond words!...Wondrous beyond belief!...Magnificent beyond compare! (Title lobby card). See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Victor Hugo's Immortal Classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

RKO specifically wanted to outdo the 1923 silent version of the story, so a vigorous campaign that spared no expense was undertaken. Much attention was given to advance publicity; no pictures of Charles Laughton in full Quasimodo makeup and costume were allowed to be seen so that a first-time viewing would be a guaranteed shock. Also, the studio hired (at Laughton's request) leading makeup artist Perc Westmore to supervise makeup. Unfortunately, Westmore and Laughton had heated quarrels before a final image for Quasimodo was agreed upon. See more »

Goofs

While examining the new invention of a printing press, the king is grasping a pendant around his neck. A moment later, his hands are down. See more »

Quotes

Quasimodo, the bell-ringer: [holding Esmeralda over his head, to the crowd] Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
See more »

Connections

Version of Hunchback (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
(1572) (uncredited)
Music by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Sung by mixed chorus during opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The best of the myriad different film versions of a most excellent novel
9 January 2001 | by (Tucson AZ) – See all my reviews

The best of the many versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for my money, is this one, although Lon Chaney's is a close second. Despite a Hollywood tendancy to change the novel's ending so as not to depress the cash customers (although, pray tell, if you're going to change the ending, why does no one ever see Quasimodo sailing off to Tahiti with the girl? Rule # 1: strong, handsome poets beat out disfigured cripples every time, even if they're heroes. This is more true in real life than in the movies. Take my word for this, I know from painful experience *sigh*)

Charles Laughton is exceptional and Maureen O'Hara would make any man swoon and is perfect for the part of Esmerelda. The support includes the usual suspects-Thomas Mitchell, Harry Davenport and many other familiar character actors. Strike up the band and start the parade. Thunderous applause. Most highly recommended.


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If they remade it without all the liberties... GW1988
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