- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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I saw this movie as a young child on television and it has always touched the core of my being. It began with the authenticity in all of the performance especially Charles Laughton. When he was crowned King of the Fools he for moment had a regal bearing....then moments later humiliation as he is belittled by Cedric Hardwick as Frollo. Laughton holds on to the stirrup of the horse as a child holds a parents hands and holds the crown which gave him recognition and status from the crowd.I am not a scholar but have seen Quasimodo as a Christ figure....A Palm Sunday moment....he is cheered by the crowds then mocked and whipped publicly and thirsts... ...and fell three times as he goes back to Notre Dame. (Christ fell under the cross 3x) Love story is good. Characters good. Much to learn from each character in the time and evolution to reason over superstition and fear. Maureen O'Hara is amazing for such a young woman learning about love and life and compassion. The ending was a shock for me and broke my heart for Quasimodo. Every time I see the movie the deaf I think the deaf judge looks like Thomas Mitchel in make up playing the role tongue in cheek but I think it isn't him.
Superb Compared To Silent Classic
Hardwick was hard-a__ as Frollo.Too bad they refused to release Rathbone from a true horror film,which he hated,to star opposite Chuckie.The moguls were real stinkers,holding their "prizes" for ransom.Rathbone missed out on great parts:here as Frollo,Dorian Gray as the part that went to George Sanders.
- craig a couldwell
A truly great performance,whilst protraying the tragedy and hopelessness of the main character with just the right amount of pathos.Laughton knew how easy it would have been to over act the part thereby rendereringa sentimental and banal performance.Some films and performances do not lend themselves to remakes, this is one.
Would someone explain to me why this film is listed in the "Horror" genre on TCM? It's a historical drama, albeit fictional. As for the film itself, the acting is simply unrivaled and the story is riveting. Few films ever stay with you your entire life as this one will. Charles Laughton could never have made another film and he would still be remembered for this film alone. He is that good!
Although the director could not handle Hugo's vicious and tragic ending, he did an incredible job with this film! The acting was incredible, even unbeatable. The make-up, costumes, and set were supreme. It was close to the book mostly until the ending, but that was so brilliant I almost wished Hugo would have done it! Wonderful proof romance, wonderful movie! The scenes at the battle at Notre Dame were especially stunning. Wonderful watch!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Dashiell B.
This magnificent version of Hugo's novel is considered the best adaptation of his novel. Laughton deserved a Best Actor nomination as Quasimodo, U.S. debut of O'Hara & debut film for O'Brien, each are magnificent as the lovers. Grand recreation of 15th-century France is superb with striking details & haunting atmosphere. A great film overall. I give it a 4.5/5.
Unforgettable and Memorable
RKO's signature picture of 1939 is a triumphant adaption of the Hugo classic. Charles Laughton is totally brilliant as Quasimodo and the entire cast shines. Maureen O'Hara is excellent and SO beautiful. Great set designs!
Laughton shined in this movie.Wonderful performances,but Charles is deserving an award for Quasi,prefer this one to the Silent,which is excellent,but the story is created for this rendition.Too bad Basil wasn't his nemesis in the film as Frollo
Laughton's performance is great and O'hara is just lovely.
I am Quasimodo...
- Greg Jarnigan
Anyone who has ever felt ugly & unloved will relate to Quasimodo. The abuse he endures, his unrequited love for Esmeralda, his determination & courage in spite of it all, make him an unforgettable character. Truly a great movie.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
- Mark Sutch
Chaney's Perfect Successor.
- Frank Harris Horn
Charles Laughton becomes the first actor to succeed Lon Chaney in the role of Quasimodo in this first talking remake of Chaney's 1923 silent film version of Victor Hugo's classic novel. Laughton as Quasimodo rescues the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda, portrayed by a then-18-year-old Maureen O'Hara from being hanged for witchcraft. The make-up artistry has changed since Chaney's day and Laughton gives a superb performance of his career. A magnificent atmospheric studio recreation of 15th-century Paris. The movie marks Maureen O'Hara's U.S. film debut. Also starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell, Edmond O'Brien (in his film debut), Walter Hampden, Alan Marshall, Harry Davenport, George Zucco, Curt Bois, George Tobias & Rod La Rocque. Remade again in 1957.
"Why was I not made of of stone like thee"
Charles Laughton should've won the Oscar for best actor in 1939 - with all due respect to "Chipping".
Hey Gay, Get Real...
- Steve Steinfeld
No screenwriter could improve upon Hugo's classic novel - this a screen adaptation. This is TCM, remember, w/ the emphasis on the "M" for movies...If u wanna do a book review go to a site where they review books!Sorry Gay, I don't intend to get down on you but we are suppose to reviewing movies not books' e.g. this is Edmond O'Brien first movie and he's a thin and a very young man who's performance is well done.This is Ms. O'Hara's 2nd film (both) w/ Sir Charles Laughton and is she stunning or what as the gypsy, Esmeralda - HELLO!!!And Thomas Mitchell who made 4 films in Hollywood's glorious year and why, becasue he's was one dependaple character actor. Like, Walter Brennan, the studio knew what they got when they hired Mitchell.Would Hugo be amazed or horrified if he was alive when this film was made - I really don't know - perhaps he would've been the technical advisor.At any rate, a must see film w/ many other fine performances by very fine actors.
Most memorable ending.
- Stephen Maher
I was about 9 yrs. old when I first saw this film on TV. It has always been a favorite. The ending : when the camera pans up to the Hunchback hugging a gargoyle and saying " Why couldn't I be made of stone... is one of the best in all of film.
What a travesty!
- Gay Griffin
Some screenwriter had the conceit to believe he could improve over Victor Hugo!The only commendable elements in this bastardized production are Charles Laughton's make-up and his brilliant performance.
Is there more you could ask for?
This film is near to flawless as can be.All the pathos and drama, brilliant performances, wonderful set and costume design and a beautifully integrated soundtrack.I doubt there is an actor alive todaywho could equal Laughton's tenderinterpretation. A "must love" movie.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
- Jay Higgins
Charles Laughton is absolutely brilliant as Quasimoto, what a genius he is and will always remain one of my favorite actors. Tragic, poignant, wonderfully produced with excellent art direction and cinematography. A brilliant classic.
A new Favorite for me.
This is the first time for me to see this wonderful movie. I loved it in every way.Much to learn from this film and it was so well done. I just loved it! It touched my heart. I just loved it so much.
I LOVE this story. I have seen BOTH this version AND the 1923 version with Lon Chaney Jr. many times and they are GREAT movies.
Charles Laughton at His Best
- Jeffrey Kenison
This is one of my favorites of Charles Laughton's films. I once heard this is one of best performances and they weren't kidding.