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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 29 December 1939 (USA)
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1:54 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

William Dieterle

Writers:

Sonya Levien (screen play), Bruno Frank (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:
Charles Laughton ... The Hunchback Quasimodo
Cedric Hardwicke ... Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Thomas Mitchell ... Clopin
Maureen O'Hara ... Esmeralda
Edmond O'Brien ... Gringoire
Alan Marshal ... Phoebus
Walter Hampden ... Archdeacon
Harry Davenport ... King Louis XI
Katharine Alexander ... Madame de Lys
George Zucco ... Procurator
Fritz Leiber ... Old Nobleman
Etienne Girardot ... Doctor
Helene Reynolds ... Fleur de Lys (as Helene Whitney)
Minna Gombell ... Queen of Beggars (as Mina Gombell)
Arthur Hohl ... 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:

Impact ! Power ! Pathos ! Drama ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

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

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM executive Irving Thalberg first presented the project to Charles Laughton in 1934. However, plans didn't materialize until Laughton signed with RKO and chose this film as his first assignment at that studio. 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

Clopin: We will now choose the King of Fools. Africans come forth. Men. Women. The ugliest face wins the crown. Ugly faces...! Ugly faces...!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Monsters Attack!: 25 Movie Collection (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
(1572) (uncredited)
Music by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Sung by mixed chorus during opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Touching story of Victor Hugo's poor bell-ringer.
8 September 2001 | by jonathandoe_se7enSee all my reviews

The 1939 version of Hugo's classic tale of beauty and the beast is definitely the definitive. It features a great performance by Charles Laughton as Quasimodo, dubbed the Hunchback of Notre Dame, because of his twisted appearance. It's pointless for me to talk about the story, because I'm sure everyone is familiar with it, it's one of the best works of literature ever produced. Id' just like to say this is a beautiful film about a beautiful person, cursed to be considered an out cast, "the king of fools"... Films like this and David Lynch's The Elephant Man really make you think a little differently about this so-called "beautiful" world. The Hunchback of Notre Dame has something for everyone to enjoy.


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