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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Romance | 6 September 1923 (USA)
In 15th-century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

Director:

Wallace Worsley

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), Perley Poore Sheehan (adaptation) (as Perley Poor Sheehan) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lon Chaney ... Quasimodo
Patsy Ruth Miller ... Esmeralda
Norman Kerry ... Phoebus de Chateaupers
Kate Lester ... Madame de Condelaurier
Winifred Bryson Winifred Bryson ... Fleur de Lys
Nigel De Brulier ... Don Claudio (as Nigel de Brulier)
Brandon Hurst ... Jehan
Ernest Torrence ... Clopin (as Ernest Torrance)
Tully Marshall ... El Rey Luis XI
Harry von Meter ... Mons. Neufchatel (as Harry Van Meter)
Raymond Hatton ... Gringoire
Nick De Ruiz Nick De Ruiz ... Mons. Le Torteru (as Nick de Ruiz)
Eulalie Jensen ... Marie
Roy Laidlaw Roy Laidlaw ... Charmolu
Ray Myers ... Charmolu's Assistant (as W. Ray Meyers)
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Storyline

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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Universal Production See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's World Premiere was on 2 September at the Astor Theatre in New York. (Evening Telegram, ((New York, NY)) 28 August 1923) See more »

Goofs

The hair on the back of the Hunchback's hands appears early in the film and later disappears. See more »

Quotes

Jehan: Why do you struggle? You are mine, now!
Esmeralda: Never! God will protect me!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tully Marshall is billed erroneously as "El Rey Luis XI" which is Spanish for "King Louis XI". He should have been billed as "Le Roi Louis XI" which is French for "King Louis XI". See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2006, Film Preservation Associates, Inc. copyrighted a 117-minute version of this film with a music score compiled by Donald Hunsberger and performed by the Robert Israel Orchestra (Europe), Robert Israel conducting. See more »

Connections

Featured in Scream Greats, Volume I: Tom Savini (1986) See more »

User Reviews

 
Beautiful…but I hope you have a wide attention span!
12 March 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

This early version of the legendary story is (so far) the oldest film I've ever seen. Personally, I find it fascinating to purchase movies made before my grandparents were even born. The entire concept of cinema as a form of art is scarcely out of the egg it all still looks so grotesque. I did learn something from this film…these ancient milestones aren't necessarily brilliant but impressive beyond belief. The Hunchback of the Notre Dame often gets referred to as one of the first ‘horror' classics but much more than that, it's a historical spectacle with massive sets and groundbreaking elements. The actual plot is so easy to summarize but you get so much more than that! Like a very detailed and imaginative portrait of Paris in the 15th century, the variety of social classes and an idea of medieval interpretation of the law. At some times in this film, you almost get the idea Quasimodo and Esmeralda are just second-class puppets in what is primarily a historical and educating documentary. Magnificent without a single doubt…but time-consuming and ponderous to sit through…Although, I have to say I hunt down the extended version, furnished with a stained musical track and lasting 140 minutes.

The actual plot and the presentation of Quasimodo's personality is still unparalleled and touching beyond comparison. Lon Chaney is simply outstanding as the unworldly and deformed ‘freak' who's willing to sacrifice his life unconditionally to rescue the girl who once treated him in a human way. He might be hideous, but he's the only who's pure, honest and free of prejudices. Lon Chaney's facial make-up and hunch are early horror triumphs. Along with his natural charismatic appearance, the Quasimodo portrayal provided Chaney with the immortal status of horror-cinema icon. Even though he already starred in over a hundred films before The Hunchback, he'll always be remembered starting from this point of his career. Like none other actor, Chaney gave a face to Quasimodo and that is not exaggerated! Multiple other well-respected actors gave image to Quasimodo after Chaney (like Charles Laughton, Anthony Quinn and Anthony Hopkins) but only he will truly be remembered for it. Same goes for Lon's personification of Erik in `Phantom of the Opera' which is his greatest achievement in cinema along with Hunchback.

The Hunchback of the Notre Dame is over eighty (80!) years old now and it still stands as one of the most overwhelming heavyweights in cinema ever. Some of the sequences shown here are pure mythical inheritance. Like Chaney acrobatic movements while tolling the massive bells…or his descent off the Notre Dame's walls! Still, this film might not be for all tastes as it's too bombastic all together and Woresly's direction is kind of rough and ponderous. He surely put too much energy in it, as it was the most ambitious project of his career. Therefore, it's hard to stay focused continuously as the shots of Medieval Parisian streets seem to be endless


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

6 September 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Ontario) | (TCM Print) | (2006 alternate) |

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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