Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939). Director: William Dieterle.

Charles Laughton [in outstanding make up] gives another superb portrayal as Quasimodo in this fine filmization of Victor Hugo's classic story. Sir Cedric Hardwicke is also excellent as Frollo, the jealous villain of the piece, who lusts for Esmeralda (an equally fine Maureen O'Hara) with an unholy passion. A very young Edmond O'Brien plays the nominal hero, Gringoire, and he's fine in a role that one might not have thought him suitable for. Thomas Mitchell and George Zucco also give notable performances. Fine score and photography by Alfred Newman and Joseph August. Great whipping scene! If there's any problem with the movie is that the pace does tend to drag at times.

Verdict: Another memorable film from 1939. ***.

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