THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923 U.S.) D: WALLACE WORSLEY W: PERELY POORE SHEEHAN/EDWARD T. LOVE JR. P: CARL LAEMMLE/IRVING THALBERG
After the shorts ESMERALDA (1905 and 1922 versions), THE HUNCHBACK (1909), HUGO THE HUNCHBACK, THE LOVE OF A HUNCHBACK (both 1910), NOTRE DAME DE PARIS (1911) and THE DARLING OF PARIS (1917), Lon Chaney starred in this great first (silent) feature version. Chaney`s make-up is real good, as are the (expensive) sets. It`s not completely faithful to Victor Hugo`s novel (which is quite the trudge to read nowadays), but does bring out some of the interesting, complex politcial and social themes. Chaney (who`s stunts were performed by Joe Bonomo) manages to be sympathetic and scarily demented. Patsy Ruth Miller is Esmeralda. With Brandon Hurst, Norman Kerry, Raymond Hatton, Nigel De Brulier, Harry Von Meter, Eulalie Jensen, Kate Lester, Gladys Brockwell, John Cossar, Harry Holman, Bob Kortmann, Gene Roth, Charles Farrell, Elmo Lincoln, George MacQauerrie and Rolfe Sedan. William Wyler was an Assistant Director and Edgar G. Ulmer was one of the set decorators. The print i saw was (mostly, but not all) tinted, had an effective minimal piano score and ran 96 mins. It was originally over two hours. Before the next Hollywood adaptation in 1939, there were two Indian versions (NAV JAWAN and DHANWAN) in 1937 (and there was a British one-reeler the same year as this).

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