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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Horror, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
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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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King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall
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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:

Drama Unparalleled ! Spectacle Beyond Belief ! ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,270,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,877,900
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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. See more »

Goofs

As Quasimodo decides to pour molten metal on the rioters, he dances around the cauldron saying "Molten metal" three times. However, his mouth never moves. See more »

Quotes

Louis XI, King of France: Doctor, lend me half a livre.
The King's Physician: Half a livre?
Louis XI, King of France: Afraid I won't repay you?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cool It: Episode #2.3 (1986) 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

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User Reviews

 
The best of the myriad different film versions of a most excellent novel
9 January 2001 | by llltdesqSee all my reviews

The best of the many versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for my money, is this one, although Lon Chaney's is a close second. Despite a Hollywood tendancy to change the novel's ending so as not to depress the cash customers (although, pray tell, if you're going to change the ending, why does no one ever see Quasimodo sailing off to Tahiti with the girl? Rule # 1: strong, handsome poets beat out disfigured cripples every time, even if they're heroes. This is more true in real life than in the movies. Take my word for this, I know from painful experience *sigh*)

Charles Laughton is exceptional and Maureen O'Hara would make any man swoon and is perfect for the part of Esmerelda. The support includes the usual suspects-Thomas Mitchell, Harry Davenport and many other familiar character actors. Strike up the band and start the parade. Thunderous applause. Most highly recommended.


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