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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
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 ...
...
Katharine Alexander ...
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 Quasimoto to catch her. Quasimoto, with the girl, is captured by Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, who frees the girl. The courts sentence Quasimoto 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 the Husband of Esmeralda, and Quasimoto, 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:

Drama Unparalleled ! Spectacle Beyond Belief ! ! 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

To turn Charles Laughton into the deformed bell ringer, Perc Westmore covered half his face with sponge rubber, adding a protruding eyeball lower than the average. Laughton's other eye was covered with a milky contact lens. The hump consisted of an aluminum framework stuffed with four pounds of foam rubber, and the rest of Laughton's torso was padded with rubber to create a sense of the muscles developed from pulling on the bell ropes. It took two and a half hours to apply the makeup. See more »

Goofs

The Cathedral is shown as having a full flight of steps up to the front doors. Notre Dame has always been more or less level with the square (le Parvis). See more »

Quotes

[Last lines]
Quasimodo, the bell-ringer: [to one of the stone gargoyles] Why was I not made of stone - like thee?
See more »

Connections

Version of Quasimodo d'El Paris (1999) 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

 
Best film version of Victor Hugo's classic tale
25 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

This version of "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is the finest film version that I've ever seen and the critics normally agree that it's the best screen adaptation of the classic novel. Charles Laughton is unforgettable as the pathetic, misshapen bellringer who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl. He brings such a range of emotions and expressions to his role that he will always be instantly recognizable, in his make-up, as Quasimodo and his performance will always be lauded as one of the best on the screen. Maureen O'Hara is stunning (in her first American film) as Esmeralda, the gypsy girl. She is lovely to look at in each one of her scene's and shows a special sort of kindness and sympathy toward the hunchback that other actresses who have played the role have failed to convey in the role (albeit, Patsy Ruth Miller was very good in the Lon Chaney silent version). There are many touching scenes in this film; Esmeralda bringing Quasimodo water while he's on the pillory, the rousing saving of Esmeralda from the gallows and the bittersweet finale (which makes one melt like butter) are all cinematic gems. Also, there is the splendor of many memorable mob scenes and a beautiful reconstruction of medieval beggar ridden Paris. See this version. It's the best one to date and is yet another one of the many jewels in Hollywood's 1939 crown!


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