The Hunchback of Notre Dame Reviews
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.
Film is set in 15th century France, a gypsy girl Esmerlada (Maureen O'Hara) is accused of being a witch and practicing sorcery-she is framed for murder by CJ (Chief-Justice). Her fate lies in the hands of deformed ugly looking Notre Dame Cathedral bellringer Quasimodo (Charles Laughton).
As soon as I laid my eyes on first-appearance of Laughton, I was mesmerized with aghast makeup, done on him. His lanky postures and body-shivering performance. Very touchy film, balances the equal shift of subplots on both sides 'love'/'humane feelings'/'fair justice'. Although, I haven't seen the other versions (and I do plan to see), I believe Charles has cemented the big nail into earth with big blow (his performance).