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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

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Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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Archdeacon
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Madame de Lys
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Procurator
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Old Nobleman
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Fleur de Lys (as Helene Whitney)
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Queen of Beggars (as Mina Gombell)
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Olivier
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Storyline

King Louis XI is a wise and old king and Frollo is the Chief Justice. Frollo gazes on the gypsy girl, Esmeralda, in the church during Fool's Day and sends Quasimodo to catch her. Quasimodo, with the girl, is captured by Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, who frees the girl. The courts sentence Quasimodo to be flogged, and the only one who will give him water while he is tied in the square is Esmeralda. Later, at a party of nobles, Esmeralda again meets both Frollo, who is bewitched by her, and Phoebus. When Phoebus is stabbed to death, Esmeralda is accused of the murder, convicted by the court and sentenced to hang. Clopin, King of the Beggars; Gringoire, Esmeralda's husband; and Quasimodo, the bellringer, all try different ways to save her from the gallows. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Drama Unparalleled ! Spectacle Beyond Belief ! ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Victor Hugo's Immortal Classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which Quasimodo rings the cathedral bells for Esmeralda was shot the day World War II began in Europe. The director and star were so overwhelmed, the scene took on a new meaning, with Charles Laughton ringing the bells frantically and William Dieterle forgetting to yell "cut." Finally, the actor just stopped ringing when he became too tired to continue. Later, Laughton said, "I couldn't think of Esmeralda in that scene at all. I could only think of the poor people out there, going in to fight that bloody, bloody war! To arouse the world, to stop that terrible butchery! Awake! Awake! That's what I felt when I was ringing the bells!" See more »

Goofs

The Cathedral is shown as having a full flight of steps up to the front doors. Notre Dame has always been more or less level with the square (le Parvis). See more »

Quotes

Gringoire: Your hands are like ice. You're not afraid are you?
Esmeralda: Not now oh Gringoire, Why did I ever come to Paris?
Gringoire: Don't cry darling
Esmeralda: I keep thinking and thinking How I came here to soften the king heart towards my people until my silly heart betrayed me for that I deserve to die.
Gringoire: You will not! I will get you free
Esmeralda: You will look out after my people when I am gone
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Connections

Version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
(1572) (uncredited)
Music by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Sung by mixed chorus during opening credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The best of the myriad different film versions of a most excellent novel
9 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

The best of the many versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for my money, is this one, although Lon Chaney's is a close second. Despite a Hollywood tendancy to change the novel's ending so as not to depress the cash customers (although, pray tell, if you're going to change the ending, why does no one ever see Quasimodo sailing off to Tahiti with the girl? Rule # 1: strong, handsome poets beat out disfigured cripples every time, even if they're heroes. This is more true in real life than in the movies. Take my word for this, I know from painful experience *sigh*)

Charles Laughton is exceptional and Maureen O'Hara would make any man swoon and is perfect for the part of Esmerelda. The support includes the usual suspects-Thomas Mitchell, Harry Davenport and many other familiar character actors. Strike up the band and start the parade. Thunderous applause. Most highly recommended.


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