The Hunchback of Notre Dame

1923

Drama / Horror / Romance

12
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 4565

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
January 01, 2020 at 03:34 AM

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
987.3 MB
968*720
English 2.0
NR
21.578 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S 2 / 7
1.73 GB
1440*1072
English 2.0
NR
21.578 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S 0 / 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ron Oliver 10 / 10

Medieval Menace

Deaf and half-blind, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, feared & rejected by the people of Paris, becomes the unlikely protector of a poor gypsy girl.

Lon Chaney, master of disguise, solidified his celebrity with his portrayal of Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer, who is forever cut off from any semblance of a normal life. Although his makeup is certainly horrific, Chaney's role is not really monstrous: he is a lonely human desperately misused by Fate. Chaney's face speaks for him, communicating the tormenting anguish of his soul. While not quite as poignant as Charles Laughton's interpretation 16 years later, Chaney still makes of the role a Silent hallmark which has stood the test of time.

There are fairly lengthy segments in which Chaney does not appear and plot elements not explored in the longer Laughton version. Here the story dwells on the gypsy dancer Esmeralda, played by Patsy Ruth Miller, and her burgeoning romance with the brave Phoebus, Captain of the Guard, played by Norman Kerry. Both performers do very well with their 'normal' roles -- her innocence contrasting well with his initial lust -- even though the viewer is doubtless anxious for the return of the Hunchback.

A handful of excellent character actors from the era add their assistance: gaunt Nigel de Brulier as the saintly Archdeacon, defender of the Hunchback; beefy Ernest Torrence as Clopin, King of Thieves, ruling over the Court of Miracles; prissy Raymond Hatton as the effete poet Gringoire; and feeble Tully Marshall as a suspicious Louis XI.

Special mention must be made of Universal's splendid attention to detail which they lavished on the film. Most especially commendable is the representation of Notre Dame's West Facade, the only real angle from which the Cathedral's exterior is depicted. To see Chaney clamber down, swinging from pinnacle to gargoyle to statue; or, to watch Quasimodo defend Esmeralda from the crowd of beggars he thinks has come to kill her, dropping stones, beams and molten metal on their heads below from the Cathedral's ramparts, is to enjoy two of Silent Cinema's great visual moments.

Reviewed by sddavis63 8 / 10

Deserves To Be Called A Classic

A very good version of the classic story from the silent era of movie making. The highlight of the movie is clearly Lon Chaney's performance as Quasimodo, the hideously deformed resident of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in the 15th century. One first has to offer kudos for the superb makeup. Chaney is completely unrecognizable in this role. Director Wallace Worsley does a good job of building up sympathy for the Hunchback throughout, and the image of Chaney gleefully swinging off the rope to ring Notre Dame's bells is one that will stay with anyone who has ever seen this film.

Although Quasimodo is the title character, much of the story actually revolves around Esmeralda, who is the object of the affection (some romantic, some fraternal) of almost every male character in the story. The role is played superbly by Patsy Ruth Miller, who possesses both a beauty and an innocence that fit the character perfectly.

Director Worsley also does a marvelous job of creating a dark and ominous feeling around the Paris of that era, as tension between the social classes rises. Ernest Torrence is especially convincing as Clopin, the "King of the Poor" in Paris, and foster-father to Esmeralda, who feels betrayed when Esmeralda falls in love with a member of the nobility (an "aristocrat" as Clopin contemptuously calls him.)

The movie suffered a little bit from what I found at times to be a less than appropriate musical score, and the quality of the film is not especially good (at least when I saw it) but that is hardly surprising given its age. Overall, though, this is a very interesting film that easily holds a viewers' attention.

8/10

Reviewed by lugonian 8 / 10

For Whom the Bell Tolls

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (Universal, 1923), directed by Wallace Worsley, takes an important step in cinema history. While Victor Hugo's classic novel, published in the 1830s, had been transferred to the screen on several occasions prior to this 1923 adaptation, one of mention titled THE DARLING OF Paris (Fox, 1917) featuring Theda Bara, this production ranks one of the first lavish spectacles Universal had produced thus far, as well as a truly challenging performance for Lon Chaney (1883-1930) in the role of the deformed bell-ringer named Quasimodo. Remade several times thereafter, with the most famous being the 1939 adaptation starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara for RKO Radio (interestingly not by Universal!), no two versions are exactly alike. In fact, the more recent adaptation transferred to the screen became the 1996 feature length animation musicalized version, but many of the remakes then and now do owe a lot to Chaney's artistic achievement of long ago.

Set in fifteenth century Paris, Quasimodo "deaf, half blind", is a deformed soul attending the gathering of the Festival of Fools. Among the celebrants are Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller), a gypsy girl, "a child of mystery," who enters the city of Notre Dame and dances for the crowd, and Gringoire (Raymond Hatton), a poet-playwright attempting to act out his allegorical play with little success. The crowd encounters the hideous face of Quasimodo, and instantly acclaimed him as the King of the Fools. Normally regarded a monster, Quasimodo has his moment of glory becoming the center of attention before Dom Claude (Nigel De Brullier), the saintly priest, has him return with him to the cathedral. The evil Jehan (Brandon Hurst), has one thing in mind, his lust for the gypsy girl. He sends Quasimodo to abduct her, as witnessed by Phoebus (Norman Kerry), a captain of the guards ("men yielded to his sword, and women to his smile"), rescuing her from the hunchback. After Quasimodo's capture and punishment through flogging, it is Esmeralda, no longer fearing him, to grant him his request for water. Jehan continues his abduction plot on Esmeralda, but because of her love for Phoebus, makes her the accused and sentenced through execution for the stabbing of Phoebus, leading Quasimodo to repay the favor by coming to Esmeralda's aide.

The other members of the cast of thousands include: Ernest Torrence (Clopin, "King of the beggars, enemy of the king" and Esmeralda's "foster father"); Tully Marshall (King Louis XI, "whose dungeons are always full, whose executioners always kept busy"); Kate Lester (Mademoiselle de Gondelaurier); and Gladys Brockwell (Godule, the mysterious reclusive woman who feels gypsies "should all be cursed").

With Chaney's many early screen performances starting in 1914, along with hundreds of characters and thousands of faces, he actually didn't reach true star prominence until after achieving the kind of success long overdue him with THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. In spite of his feature billing, grotesque makeup and sympathetic gestures, Chaney's participation in this production is actually a supporting one. Much has been written about Chaney's makeup, a misshapen face with an eye that droops almost out of its socket, mouth with jagged teeth and twisted legs, wavy hair, but it's his character behind that makeup who really brings out his sympathy and human dignity. Not essentially a horror film, but rather a love story of two misunderstood characters, the hunchback and the gypsy girl. Unlike Victor Hugo's novel, this screen version details very little about Quasimodo's background, yet, spends more time bringing out the true heritage of Esmeralda. This carefully constructed production captures the simplicity of 19th century Paris, from the authentic Notre Dame cathedral down to the costumes, making this one a true classic of the silent screen.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) remain two of Lon Chaney's most famous screen roles. During the early years of video cassette distributions, these two silent features, which have become public domain titles, were the easiest to obtain. Released through various distributors means alternate versions, ranging from bad video transfers with no musical scoring, to clear picture quality with various types of underscoring, ranging from organ to orchestral, with the majority with the average time frame from 97 to 123 minutes. Blackhawk Video's version contained a Lee Irwin orchestral score with flute sounds, ringing church bells and cathedral chanting. Republic Home Video, along Critic's Choice contained organ scores, color tints and new title cards for its opening introduction. The only debit with Republic's home video transfer is having the final scene as Quasimodo ringings the church bell of Notre Dame for the last time, abruptly ending in freeze frame as the priest (De Brulier) walks towards him, not showing what follows. The print with the abrupt conclusion was the one used in the 1971 presentation of the 13-week series of THE SILENT YEARS as hosted by Orson Welles on public television. At present, many other video and/ or DVD transfers, do feature the original opening title credits and the complete finish focusing on the bell as it slowly stops swinging back and forth before stopping with the THE END (or rather FIN) title card reaches the screen.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME occasionally appears on cable television's Turner Classic Movies as part of its weekly Silent Sunday Night presentations hosted by Robert Osborne. Due to a renewed interest into the life and career of Lon Chaney, "The Man of a Thousand Faces," this best known version to the Victor Hugo classic should be the one film to consider and study. (***)

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