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.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

Sonya Levien (screen play), Bruno Frank (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:
Charles Laughton ... The Hunchback Quasimodo
Cedric Hardwicke ... Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Thomas Mitchell ... Clopin
Maureen O'Hara ... Esmeralda
Edmond O'Brien ... Gringoire
Alan Marshal ... Phoebus
Walter Hampden ... Archdeacon
Harry Davenport ... King Louis XI
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 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:

TEN TIMES A THOUSAND THRILLS! (Print Ad- Brooklyn Eagle, ((Brooklyn NY)) 18 January 1940) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney Jr. screen-tested extensively to play the role that his father had originated. When it appeared that trouble with the IRS might prevent Charles Laughton from working in America, RKO Pictures promised the role to Chaney Jr. if Laughton's services could not be secured. Laughton, however, overcame his tax difficulties and made the picture. See more »

Goofs

Although the story is set in 1482 during the reign of Louis XI, Notre Dame Cathedral is shown with its 19th-century additions, including statuary. See more »

Quotes

Clopin: We will now choose the King of Fools. Africans come forth. Men. Women. The ugliest face wins the crown. Ugly faces...! Ugly faces...!
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

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

Great film, great cast,great music
11 August 1999 | by baz-15See all my reviews

I remember `Super Channel' showed this regularly about 10 years ago. The opening 1/2 hour is superb, with several outstanding scenes and very haunting music.The cast is brilliant, not only do you get Laughton but also Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke and Edmon O'Brien. And Thomas Mitchell is the man! All in all a most satisfying film: 8.5 out of 10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

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

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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