The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) is a silent film directed by Wallace Worsley and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. It tells the story of Quasimodo, an ugly and deformed bell-ringer at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris who falls in love with a gypsy girl named Esmeralda.
The the hunchback of notre dame (1923 blu-ray) is a 1923 American silent film directed by Victor Fleming. It tells the story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame in Paris who falls in love with Esmeralda, an unattractive gypsy girl.
The original silent version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with its grandiose production design and compelling performances, especially by Chaney, who fully immerses himself in heavy makeup and costume, establishes a high bar and standard from which to follow.
Plot: A half-blind and deaf hunchback falls in love with a gypsy lady, but must compete for her with her suitor — and the whole city of Paris.
Quasimodo, a half-blind, deaf, and deformed hunchbacked man, dwells high above the alcoves and gothic gargoyles of Notre Dame cathedral (Lon Chaney in a career-defining performance). He stares down on the inhabitants of Paris, who have no clue he exists, until the Court of Fools, a citywide festival, takes place. Jehan, the archdeacon’s brother, lures him down and uses him as a pawn to stage the kidnapping of a young gypsy girl named Esmerelda (Patsy Ruth Miller) so that Jehan can rescue her and appeal to her, but Quasimodo has no idea that he’s been set up to be tortured in the middle of the city in front of everyone in Paris. Esmerelda takes pity on the hunchback and scorns Jehan, and Quasimodo is enslaved to her for the rest of his life. Jehan’s desire for Esmerelda becomes so strong that he frames her for the murder of a captain of the guards called Phoebus, but it’s all a ploy to have her cry for forgiveness so that Jehan may take her away in his warped benevolence. Quasimodo is always in the foreground, saving Esmerelda from lynching, and when he takes her to the top of Notre Dame, he effectively traps them there as the people of Paris stage a violent siege on the cathedral, forcing the hunchback to fight back by throwing beams of wood and molten steel down on the crowd below.
The original silent version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with its grandiose production design and compelling performances, especially by Chaney, who fully immerses himself in heavy makeup and costume, establishes a high bar and standard from which to follow. The sets are enormous, as are the audience and Chaney’s high-wire acrobatics, which he (or his stunt double Joe Bonomo) masterfully moves up and down the cathedral gargoyles and ropes. It’s an amazing picture, and seeing it on a large screen must have been a sight to see at the time. It seems to be very genuine and realistic, and it’s a great feat of filmmaking. Wallace Worsley directed the film.
While the film has been in the public domain for many years and various quality editions have been released over the years, Kino Classics has just released a Blu-ray edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and while the film has been in the public domain for many years and various quality editions have been released over the years, this edition does its best to be the definitive edition. While certain sequences are a little rough (not Kino’s fault; the years and source materials have taken their toll), the transfer looks fantastic. A film critic’s audio commentary, a booklet with an article, a newsreel, a 16mm home movie of Lon Chaney, and more are among the extras.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a classic tale of love, tragedy, and redemption. One of the best films ever made, it tells the story of Quasimodo, who lives in the bell tower of Notre Dame Cathedral. Reference: legend 2 disc limited edition blu-ray.
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