I know, I know. "The film's nearly 80 years old"; "what did I expect??"; "there's only so much you can do to restore old films..." I've heard it all, and this transfer from Image still gets only 3 stars. Why? Because I've seen better transfer elements on VHS, for crying out loud, elements that possessed far better image clarity than we're given on this disc. In several areas, the image is nearly washed out, leaving only tiny black pixels in its stead. Clearly, this is a problem with the version that Image has chosen for the transfer, and is not a problem that is attributable to the age of the picture. Having said that, however, it should be noted that there are no truly superb prints of this silent "Hunchback," and that the picture is worth spending a few hundred thousand-or a million or two-bucks to restore, if not with an entirely new negative, then at least via digital means. It is a fine rendition (I won't argue the point of whether Laughton's fine portrayal is 'better'...this is in the eye of the beholder) of Hugo's novel, and Lon Chaney's characterization is one of the most startling ever put on film. Mr. Chaney's use of his hands conveys subtleties that his face does not, providing us with one of the silent silver screen's most moving performances. He is Quasimodo, the hunchback, just as he was Erik, the Phantom, Blizzard, the underworld mastermind, and the tough sergeant in "Tell It To The Marines." If you're looking for a film with a thrilling story that is punctuated by pathos, and the kind of catharsis that can only come from witnessing the triumph of love and the human spirit, there is no better viewing than the 1923 "Hunchback of Notre Dame." Just be ready for the inevitable "who dragged this print through the Liquid Paper factory" question you'll be asking yourself when you view this DVD. PLEASE, Image, or Criterion--do something to rescue this classic movie so that my grandchildren can enjoy it, too.