Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!
Such a frustrating disappointment
Good story, Not enough for a whole film
The performances transcend the film's tropes, grounding it in characters that feel more complete than this subgenre often produces.
Wallace Worsley is not a director who usually figures in any lists of Hollywood masters. In fact, Chaney himself (with whom Worsley worked on no less than five pictures-this is the last of them) once described Worsley as little more than "good as any of the second-raters or better." Well Hunchback is certainly better. A whole lot better! A staggeringly spectacular production, its huge crowds and sets are most artistically angled and photographed. If Wallace Worsley was responsible for these consistently pleasing arrangements of light and color, he is indeed a neglected master.
Ironically, it was due to the fact that he had worked successfully with Chaney at other studios that Worsley was hired in the first place, whereas Chaney's own preference was for Frank Borzage.
Although Hunchback was a rousing success, Worsley was not offered any more work at Universal. In fact, the studio's publicity department regarded Worsley as such a has-been, they didn't even bother to spell his name correctly on the elaborately colorful posters prepared for the film's general release. (They managed to get Lon Chaney's name right though).
In 1924, Worsley followed his Hunchback by directing a minor William Farnum/Lois Wilson vehicle, The Man Who Fights Alone, for Paramount. After that little stint, Paramount's publicity manager, B.P. Schulberg-who had Clara Bow under personal contract, plus his own personal production company(!)-releasing through Paramount of course-hired Worsley for The Shadow of the Law, a no-frills quickie that had only two claims to fame: It starred Miss Bow and was photographed by Ray June. And then came Worsley's final movie, appropriately titled The Power of Silence (1928), an out-of-date Belle Bennett silent from Tiffany-Stahl of Poverty Row.
In addition to his creative visual artistry, Wallace Worsley was also adept at drawing fine performances from his players. Chaney is most effective, Miss Miller utterly charming; while Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton and Brandon Hurst almost steal the movie. Tully Marshall would certainly figure on this list too if his role were larger. The only weak spots are Nigel de Brulier, who is mostly quite credible but inclined to overdo the dramatics at times, and Norman Kerry who yet makes his hero considerably less abysmal here than his later effort in Phantom of the Opera.
However it is not the actors, or even Mr Chaney, who constantly engage our attention. It is the overwhelming sets, filled with merry-making and murderous crowds-the whole medieval milieu in fact that Wallace Worsley brings so forcefully and dramatically to life.
AVAILABLE on DVD through Image in a beautifully tinted 117-minute print, well-worn in places but always admirably sharp.
I purposely gave this film a somewhat lower rating than one might expect or think that it deserves.This was done solely because I don't enjoy a film that focuses in on the likes of grubby, low-life peasants, be they from the 15th Century or from the present.My aversion to bottom-of-the-barrel peasants is directly associated with the fact that I live within "a-hop-skip-and-a-jump" away from Canada's skid-row capital, which is located at the intersection of Main & Hastings streets in Vancouver, BC.I think that if you lived down in these dregs, as well, you'd be pretty damn repulsed and fed-up with the realities of what peasant life is really all about. You certainly wouldn't appreciate seeing it being somewhat glorified in a 100-year-old movie like this one.Anyways - This film's story is pretty depressing with Quasimodo (the hunchback) contemptuously spitting on the peasants and the peasants, in return, spitting back at him. And pretty, little Esmeralda, the sweetest gypsy girl (with a heart of gold), being forced into the middle of things and being spit on from both sides, while all the hot-blooded guys (including hideous Quasimodo) wantonly eyeing her.Yeah. There's plenty of treachery & betrayal & revenge & whatnot thrown into the mix (for good measure). But its too much of a focus on the truly ugly side of human nature. So, this film, in turn, fails to serve as viable entertainment after a while.The Hunchback Of Notre Dame's story is just too mean-spirited to sustain one's interest for very long and, with that, I cannot give this film more than a 4-star rating.
Quasimodo is a deformed (deaf and half-blind) bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Jehan Frollo, the evil brother of Dom Claude Frollo, the saintly archdeacon of Notre Dame, prevails upon him to kidnap the fair Esmeralda, the adopted daughter of Clopin, who is the king of the oppressed beggars of Paris' underworld. The dashing Captain Phoebus rescues her from Quasimodo, while Jehan escapes and leaves him.This is Lon Chaney's breakout performance, and the most familiar version of "Hunchback" (besides the Disney cartoon). It is not a happy tale, with the hunchback being both abused and bitter against mankind. He is a very angry man at times, much more venomous than you would expect.Some of Chaney's acting seems a bit over the top and Vaudevillean. He overemphasizes, his gestures are wild, and the way he rings the bell is more like a chimpanzee than a man. It just further dehumanizes Quasimodo.The version I watched could have been of better quality, and the music was very repetitive, which grew annoying after a while. But, I suppose, if you want to see a piece of horror history and Lon Chaney's work, this is one to see.
The first of the oft filmed Victor Hugo classic featuring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo is filled with early epic quality and some heavy duty overacting in supporting roles not to mention the frightful state of the print which unfairly detracts from the films overall quality.Lon Chaney is an impressive bell ringer but aside from a few acrobatic moments amid the gargoyle seems restricted in his oppressive costume and make-up. Along with Phantom of the Opera this may be Chaney's most famous role but I feel not one of his greatest performances. Ernest Torrence as Clotin, King of the Beggars is far more effective and memorable than Chaney's posings .William Worsley's direction offers little as the rest of the cast overacts and the film's tempo wavers and becomes disjointed (blame here may once again also be affixed to the horrendous shape of the print). When it comes to the big crowd scenes Worsley is no Griffith in building a fever pitch. Shying away from graphic violence and the unbridled rebellion DW puts together in Orphans of the Storm made two years earlier and dealing with the same locale. Worsley offers some neat overheads of Quasimodo's gargoyle eye view of things but some of his "massive crowd" scenes are sparse such as the scene of the impending execution of Esmeralda. It look's like the blood lusting rabble of Paris slept in that day as stragglers can be seen meandering up to the scaffold in what is normally a shoulder to shoulder SRO event. Historically significant The Hunchback of Notre Dame deserves attention but when put into context by comparison with the other epic of that year (Orphans) you wonder what the hullabaloo was all about in the first place.