The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

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Movie Info

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.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Victor Hugo, Sonya Levien, Bruno Frank
On DVD: Oct 28, 1997
Runtime:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Cast


as Quasimodo

as Esmeralda

as Gringoire

as Phoebus

as Archdeacon

as Louis XI

as Procurator

as A Nobleman

as The King's Physician

as Queen of Beggars

as Olivier

as Phillipo

as Court Clerk

as Ugly Man

as Beggar
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Hunchback of Notre Dame

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Laughton is excellent as the misshapen bellringer, cowering in the presence of that patron saint of today's Men's Rights Activists, the misogynistic hypocrite Frollo (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).

Full Review… | June 11, 2015
Creative Loafing

Director William Dieterle manages a difficult task well, creating a film of both great sweep and remarkable intimacy.

Full Review… | December 26, 2014
Cinemania

Charles Laughton gives a riveting, haunting perfromance in this atmospheric, Oscar-nominated version, previously shot in 1923 with Lon Chaney and in 1957 with Anthony Quinn.

Full Review… | June 4, 2012
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Victor Hugo's classic tale of a fated love between a hunchback and a gypsy girl.
Hugo's eye for characterization, complex interconnected plots, revolutionary fervor, the healing power of religion, social outcasts, and love is on full display in this film adaptation of his novel Notre Dame de Paris. The script gives the basics, the skeleton, that the novel fills out, but considering Hugo's loquaciousness, the screenplay is nonetheless an achievement. Charles Laughton is at his most affecting. The burly character actor becomes Quasimodo with the same alacrity that he became Henry VIII. Comparable to Phillip Seymour Hoffman of our time (though a talent truly to say beyond compare), Laughton was his era's artist.
Overall, this is a thrilling and emotional adaptation of an excellent novel.

hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

Medieval drama about a gypsy girl who comes to Paris and the physically disfigured bell ringer she befriends. The narrative's success derives from how it captures the tragic plight of our bell ringer in Paris' legendary church so perfectly. Society's tendency to build someone up one minute only to tear them down the next is brilliant paralleled in Quasimodo's story arc. First being crowed "King of Fools" at the festival one moment then they're publicly whipping him in the town square the next.

The quality of the performances is what elevates this to a work of art. Charles Laughton gives the definitive performance of Quasimodo, the deformed hunchback of Notre Dame. A delightfully atypical choice to play a sympathetic role, for an actor often type-cast as people with arrogant or unscrupulous qualities. His expressive face speaks volumes. Indeed for the first third, he doesn't utter a word. He's supported by a stellar cast. Maureen O'Hara is radiant as Esmeralda, a lovely gypsy who inspires passion in several men. Her touching act of kindness toward Quasimodo at one of his darkest hours is a beautifully acted gesture filled with poignancy. At the other end of integrity is Frollo played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. A villainous tour de force, he is a stern, deeply flawed individual consumed by earthly desire and a lack of accountability. Also worth mentioning is Edmond O'Brien in his film debut . Esmeralda's chemistry with him as the slightly goofy poet-playwright Gringoire is sweet.

Performances and set design combine perfectly to create a sweeping historical epic for the ages with a surprising amount of human intimacy. Whether it's 15th century France or elsewhere modern world, the film's themes transcend time and place.

hobster1
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

½

Laughton is great and the picture is a high quality production the only negative is the complete absence of anything but American accents which can be distracting. Screen debuts for both O'Hara and O'Brien who is so young and slender at first he's not recognizable both acquit themselves well though.

jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quotes

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