Nicely done rendition of the classic melodrama, with Mandy Pantinkin taking a turn as Quasimodo, the bellringer of Notre Dame. Salma Hayek is marvelous as Esmeralda, with Richard Harris quite good as the wicked Monsignor Frollo, supported by a nice score by Edward Shearmur. The film stays faithful to the Victor Hugo storyline, while adding a new subtext about the new printing press' threat to the power of the Church, which adds to the story's existing political class substory and fuels the behind-the-scenes politics between Frollo and the King, within which the story of Esmeralda, Quasimodo, and the idealist Gringoire (quite competently portrayed by Edward Atterton, although both his role and that of Phoebus - a blasé Benedick Blythe - are quite abridged in this adaptation) play out. Jim Dale (reader of the Harry Potter audiobooks) is also quite notable as Clopin, King of the Thieves, whose presence throughout gives the story quite a fine dynamic. Small budget lessens the story's epic impact - and the setting resembles more of a rural farm than the center of Paris, but like most TVMs the story centers on the characters and this focus remains effective and likable. There have been many capable versions of the classic story - none of which have come close to matching the spectacle of the original silent version with Lon Chaney as Quasimodo; however this, along with the Charles Laughton version, is a worthy successor and was very nicely helmed by Peter Medak.
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