MOVIE REVIEWS

Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

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8/10 NR 01 hr 56 min

December 29, 1939

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By John Chard January 30, 2017

Incredible film-making, bravo for real classics.

What a truly lavish and gorgeous film this is, thematically it pulls the emotions in different directions, and as a story it's as sharp as a tack. Boasting a quite incredible performance from Charles Laughton as the tragic bell ringer Quasimodo (no nomination Academy, are you flipping sure?), and sets that are simply out of this world, this film to me defines classic cinema.

Into the mix we get a radiant Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda who lights up the screen in every scene she is in, it's a very special performance in view of it being her first lead US turn. However, really the film's triumph lies with its script, a very aware piece of writing encompassing political goings on and the corruption of the church set around the hunchback's tragic love. The make up of Laughton leaves an indelible image when brought into focus with the great detail of the surroundings, and the score is mightily appropriate.

All in all this film cost 2 Million Dollars for RKO Studios, one of their most expensive outlays, but they were rewarded in spades as the film was a monster success and here in the modern day age of cinema the film still stands up as a benchmark for great movie making. 9/10

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