The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • PG
  • William Dieterle (1939)
  • US
  • 111 min
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

For many, Charles Laughton is the cinema's definitive Quasimodo, and his poignant performance here reveals more subtleties with every viewing. Laughton captures the tragic soul of Notre Dame's famous bell-ringer, and both his make-up and speech patterns are truly convincing. This is a splendidly full-blooded RKO enterprise, with spectacular crowd scenes (although the detail will inevitably be dwarfed on television) and superb supporting performances, notably from a sensual Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda the gypsy and a callow Edmond O'Brien as the youthful romantic lead. Thomas Mitchell - best known as Scarlett O'Hara's father in Gone with the Wind - is marvellous, too, as the king of the beggars. Two major future directors had a big hand in this epic - Jacques Tourneur handled the crowds and Robert Wise was the film editor.

Plot Summary

Classic Gothic drama starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara. In Paris during the Middle Ages, Quasimodo, the lonely hunchbacked bell-ringer of Notre Dame cathedral, falls in love with Esmeralda, a beautiful gypsy girl. However, Esmeralda also arouses intense feelings among the ruling authorities, and is soon on trial for her life.

Cast and crew

Cast

Quasimodo
Charles Laughton
Esmeralda
Maureen O'Hara
Frollo
Cedric Hardwicke
Clopin
Thomas Mitchell
Gringoire
Edmond O'Brien
Phoebus
Alan Marshal
Claude
Walter Hampden
Louis XI
Harry Davenport

Crew

Director
William Dieterle

Other Information

Language: 
English
Black and White
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG
Distributor:
Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd
Categories
Drama