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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Sous-titres franais)
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Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (DVD) (Rpkg)
Of the many film versions of Victor Hugo's novel, this classic from Hollywood's golden year of 1939 remains the best, rivaled only by the 1923 silent version starring Lon Chaney. In his triumphant attempt to create a performance as memorable as Chaney's, Charles Laughton played the lovelorn Parisian hunchback Quasimodo under a disfiguring costume and gruesome makeup that rendered the actor almost unrecognizable. The result is a gripping and heartfelt portrayal of the misshapen bell ringer who falls desperately in love with the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda (played by Maureen O'Hara). The lavish production also greatly benefits from exquisitely moody black-and-white cinematography, brilliant medieval set design, and the atmospheric direction by German expatriate William Dieterle, whose style was heavily influenced by German films of the era. The DVD release includes the original theatrical trailer plus an additional audio track with authoritative commentary by film historian Paul Mandell. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
With huge sets, rousing scenes and a versatile throng portraying a medieval Paris of cutthroats, clergy, beggars and nobles. 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'  remains one of Hollywood's all-time grandest spectacles.
Charles Laughton endured a daily five-and-a-half-hour makeup session to become Quasimodo, the mocked and vilified bell ringer of Notre Dame. The result was one of his best performances: outsized yet nuanced, heartrending yet inspiring. Maureen O'Hara is the gypsy Esmeralda, whose simple act of pity frees the emotions within him. When she is wrongly condemned, he rescues her from hanging, sweeping all of Paris into a fight for justice.
FILM FACT: Award Nominations: Academy Award® for Best Original Music Score for Alfred Newman. Academy Award® for Best Sound for John Aalberg. For this production RKO Radio Pictures built on their movie ranch a massive medieval city of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the largest and most extravagant sets ever constructed. The characters of Claude Frollo and Jehan Frollo are changed as in the 1923 film: instead of being the bad archdeacon as in the novel. The only difference in this film is that Claude is portrayed as an archbishop and Jehan Frollo is portrayed as a judge.Read more ›
O'Hara's Esmeralda is sweetness personified. She is a lovely gypsy woman who unhappily catches the eye of a lecherous Chief Prosecutor, sanctimoniously played by Hardwicke, who commits a murder only to frame Esmeralda, who has rejected his advances. Hardwicke plays the Chief Prosecutor in a way that brings to mind every corrupt official who has ever been caught with his hand in the till. He sees nothing wrong with using the full weight of his office to humiliate and condemn a woman who has done nothing to deserve this. Enter Quasimodo, a hunchbacked and deaf bell ringer whose appearance frightens others to the same extent that Esmeralda's captivates these same others. Early on, she takes pity on him by giving him water after a savage lashing.Read more ›
- The Hunchback is to be rejected for his appearance, for what people see when they look at him. Jesus gets rejected because He has no status, no religious training, no formal schooling. Jesus also gets rejected for what He sees in people.
- The Hunchback does descend, is ridiculed, mockingly crowned king, then tortured. He does develop a friendship in the midst of the pain. Yet, when he asked him for help, his mentor turns his head away, magnifying the loneliness, the rejection. That also happened to Jesus. He developed friendships with the disciples, He cried out on the cross, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?!
- The Hunchback helps Esmerelda, a woman of ill repute. She befriends him, and helps him with his pain, later. The same is true of Jesus and Mary Magdelane.
- The Hunchback, in his part of the story after the crowning and release from the crowd, while accepted and trusted by only a few, is shown to be very loving. So was Jesus, after his crowning, death and release.
- The Hunchback is accepted at the end, first by a child, then by the crowd. Jesus tells us of a child-like faith that can accept him, and when he returns, he'll be accepted, too.
- Oh, back at the start, when they were born, their mothers were pursued, and in both cases there was an attempt to kill the baby. Who wanted to kill the baby? A combination of government and religion!
- Was Victor Hugo a closet admirer of Jesus Christ? I am not so sure, but he may have been influenced by the Christian saga more so than we have been led to believe!
Most recent customer reviews
At the odd time you may be able to spot the old style of acting, but this movie is not boring. The twists and turns and novelty of it is gripping. Read morePublished on June 21 2007 by plainlytruth.com
This version of "THoND" is in my opinion,the best ever made.Charles Laughton epitomizes all the sadness,frustration and anguish the Hunchback feels when he falls in love... Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by ellafan
Charles Laughton's performance of Quasimodo is excellent, instilling not only sympathy for the character, but also a sense of how the character's deformity caused him to be abused... Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2003 by Alan Beggerow
Charles Laughton delivers what is,unequivocally, one of Hollywood's greatest performances. His "Quasimodo" embodies all of an actor's craft. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2003 by Reginald D. Garrard
Unlike Lon Chaney's completely barbaric figure, Laughton's interpretation of Quasimodo is the type of character from a nightmare dropped into reality (of a sort); his portrayal... Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2002
Certainly the 1939 film version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is more of a love story than the classic silent film starring Lon Chaney. Read morePublished on June 12 2002 by Lawrance Bernabo
This is the most popular piece of French literary folklore by Victor Hugo. The film is a fair adaptation of the novel. Read morePublished on March 25 2002 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Even granting my utter lack of objectivity in evaluating this Hunchback after knowing it for 45 years (during which I must have seen it close to 50 times, including two viewings in... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2001 by Paul Frandano