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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame(1957)

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  • Hunchback? Where?

    • Kurt
    • 8/8/16

    I remember seeing this version of Hugo's story as a child. At the time I thought it was pretty good; however, that was before I saw the Laughton and Chaney versions. Anthony Quinn either was very impatient in the make-up chair, or the make-up artist never read Hugo's description of Quasimodo in the novel or saw a previous version, because Quinn's incarnation of Quasimodo is neither ugly nor hunchbacked. Gina Lollobrigida is probably the sexiest Esmerelda ever seen until Salma Hayek played the role in the 1997 Turner production, but she also missed the essence of Hugo's depiction of Esmerelda in the novel. This version should have been the best ever, after all it was filmed in Paris and did follow Hugo's novel more closely than any other version, but something just didn't click. The major scenes just didn't have an impact like previous versions did. For instance, the flogging scene in this version literally had no impact at all. Most of it was shot from a bird's eye view from the bell tower of Notre Dame. We do not get to see the pain on Quasimodo's face as he endures the savage flogging. In fact, after the flogging is over, Quasimodo appears to smile! When Esmerelda give him water, there is barely an interaction between the characters, no emotion whatsoever. Later, when Quasimodo saves Esmerelda from the Hangman, there is no exciting action. Quasimodo simply slides down a rope, pushes the Hangman down and carries Esmerelda into the Cathedral. I could go on ad nauseum but you get the gist of my point: this version is as bland and generic as they come. Poor make-up, no chemistry between characters, no impact in major scenes and a lackadaisical directing effort is a discredit to Hugo's novel and the previous classic versions. Also, there is a problem with dubbing, as only Quinn and Lollobrigida spoke their lines in English. I suppose the only redeeming factor is that this version is in vivid color. See it if you're a fan but be prepared to be disappointed.

  • This film needs to be shown on TCM

    • pedro saez
    • 8/20/08

    Hunchback of Notre Dame (1957) with Gina Lollobrigida and Anthony Quinn is a film I remember from my childhood days. The only version TCM keeps showing from time to time is the original Charles Laughton film from the 30's which is in black and white and is not as visually appealing due to the age of the film. Why not bring back the 1957 flick which also features two renowned actors? Does TCM have it in stock? TCM has such a large stock of films, why do some films keep getting repeat showings while others never make it even once?

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