The Hunchback of Notre Dame Reviews
the message beneath this fable is the condemnation upon human's vain judgements upon the outward looks. hunchback is mercilessly scorned and harshly bashed by the heartless citizens as some stirring public sensationalism while they witness hunchback as the king of the fools as well as some exhibition for their simmering cruelty. the preacher who frames the gypsy beauty is also another disguise of evil menace hidden beneath christian piety. the gypsy girl would be prime example of inner kindness reflected upon the beauty, and her chaste virginity is another stereotyped consecration of madonna/whore complex which inspires the gallantry from the handsome aristocratic general as her prince charming that delineates an archetyped picture of ideal coupling.
lon chaney's hunchback is sexless without any covet for our beauty here, and the presence of the ghetto poet as well as the boiling tumult of mob violence is diluted to construct a less disturbing set without the sexual suppression and the fanatic acid of hatred in charles laughten's version, so the 20s "hunchback of notre dame" is more of an idealistic picture to elucidate the virtue behind a disfigured shell as well as the innocent romance of angelical beauty and dashing nobleman.
The movie is about a deformed outcast who lives in the Parisian catherdral Norte-Damm. He gets involuntarily mingled up in an intruige over the love of a Gypsy Woman, named Esmeralda.
As stated above, a few scenes of the movie are very drastic considering the time it was released. The whipping of Quasimodo, the Hunchback, sent shivers down my spine. Second, there is a scene where Esmeralda gets tortured (questioned, as the inquisition used to phonycall it) with a spanish boot.
Another scene, where a guard wooes Esmeralde is even quite raunchy, for he pulls down her skirt, blanking her shoulder to hint a sexual intension.
The most important thing however is Lon Chaney, who is not as well known as the trinity of monster actors, Karloff, Lee and Lugosi, but unlinke Karloff for example Chaney was very well able to act very intense under masks, see Karloffs good but obviously "undead" performances in Frankenstein and The Mummy. Just like in "Phantom of the Opera" Chaney's eyes glow with the agony of a heartbroken monster. Furthermore, his portrait of the hunchback is, oddly enough considering the nature of his role, very artistic. He jumps and strolls, expressing his feelings. Chaney wore braces to make his legs look deformed, which actually gave him injuries for the rest of his life. His makeup should also be complimented.
The rest of the cast is rather unshiny. The two leads, both male and female, the antagonist villain are very standard and, like in many silent movies, you can clearly see the lack of camera training the artists had in those days, still exaggerating their emotions and outrageous to an distorted extent.