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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:
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Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Madame de Lys
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Procurator
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Old Nobleman
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Doctor
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Fleur de Lys (as Helene Whitney)
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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

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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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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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

Well aware of the war raging in Europe, Charles Laughton chose a lull in the day's shooting to recite, in full Quasimodo costume, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, as he had done in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935). As in the previous film, it stunned the cast and crew for the rest of the shooting day. See more »

Goofs

In this story set in 15th century France, a character wears glasses kept in place with strings that loop around the ears. That type of eyeglasses was invented in Spain during the reign of Philip II in the 16th century. See more »

Quotes

Quasimodo, the bell-ringer: I never realized till now how ugly I am, because you're so beautiful... I'm not a man! I'm not a beast! I'm about as shapeless as the man in the moon! I'm deaf, you know, but you can speak to me by signs.
Esmeralda: Why did you save me?
Quasimodo, the bell-ringer: You ask me why I saved you? Oh, I tried to carry you off, and the next day you gave me a drink of water and little pity.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Public Eye (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

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