Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Quasimodo is ugly, Esmeralda is hot, the archdeacon's brother is evil, Quasi is told to kidnap the gypsy, gets punished, gypsy chick shows him kindness, class struggle, Sanctuary, Sanctuary, nobody ever asks for whom the bell tolls. Roll credits.

The term "Silent Epic" doesn't totally stir in me what it might, but I'm a complete Lon Chaney junkie, and this was the first film he had a major influence in creating. He suggested the story and had a hand in casting. His makeup was state of the art and the scale grand. Still, bit of a snooze-fest.

Wow, am I done? There must be more to say. Little disappointed that there wasn't more Chaney in it. He reveled in the unrequited love theme and it's in there, but not highlighted. The archdeacon was a good guy in the movie because the studios didn't want a clerical villain. Apparently he was evil in the book. Don't really know. Victor Hugo wasn't on my summer reading list.

So, that's it. AMRU 3. Not bad. Would be nice if a quality copy was found. The surviving copy is real rough and has about fifteen minutes missing. It was the first Hollywood version and it would take 79 years and Disney to do a sequel. Bad idea. And knowing people who experienced Gypsies when living in Europe, Hollywood totally white-washed their reputation. I wonder how the 1939 version is ...

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