Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Everyone wants a piece of Esmeralda, including Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Nortre Dame.  Directed by Wallace Worsley and produced by Universal Pictures, this is epic storytelling on a grand scale.  There is literally a cast of thousands and Lon Chaney Sr. leads the way in yet another remarkable performance as Quasimodo.  His make up was so masterful for its time that many film patrons believed that the actor playing the title character truly appeared in real life as he did on film.  Thanks to great editing it appears as if Chaney does all his own stunts.  However, stuntman Joe Bonomo did many of the scenes where the Hunchback was climbing down the face of Notre Dame [Impressive, indeed.]  There is no CGI here.  Just incredible strength and agility on display.
Veteran silent film actress Patsy Ruth Miler plays Esmeralda with great emotional vulnerability.  She starred in over 70 films during the Silent Era as well as a few talkies.  Her ability to convey emotion without words is impressive as her many loves fight for her attention and her heart.
This is classic filmmaking at its best.  It's not so much a horror film as it is a love story.  Still, I found it to be very enjoyable although a bit too long for modern audiences.  However, in it's defense it tells a big story and big stories take time.  This one is a must just to see Chaney's performance alone.  An impressive effort indeed.  There have been many remakes of this film but this is the one that started it all.  I still think it's the best.
RATING: Very Good.
Download a copy of the film from Archive.org
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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