The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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This second film version of the Victor Hugo novel Notre Dame de Paris (the first was a Theda Bara vehicle, The Dancer of Paris) was a super-duper-spectacular as only Hollywood of the 1920s could make them, but it is never so large that it dwarfs the contribution of its star, Lon Chaney. As the hunchbacked bellringer Quasimodo, Chaney adorned himself with a special device that made his cheeks jut out grotesquely; a contact lens that blanked out one of his eyes; and, most painfully, a huge rubber hump covered with coarse animal fur and weighing anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds. While Quasimodo is… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's a total physical transformation that's often stunning to behold, selling effective make-up effects and behavior extremes with real gusto."
‑ Brian Orndorf,
"Lon Chaney created a lot of twisted wretches, vengeful villains, and criminal masterminds, but Quasimodo remains his most sympathetic screen character."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"It opened at Carnegie Hall instead of a regular movie house, marking it as more than a movie--an event."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Absolutely chilling, sad, awesome Chaney"
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"An awe-inspiring achievement, featuring magnificent sets (built on the Universal backlot), the proverbial cast of thousands (the crowd scenes are mesmerizing) and an opportunity to catch Lon Chaney at his most commanding."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"This classic silent film will appeal to teens."
‑ M. Faust, Common Sense Media
"Lon Chaney's Quasimodo is one of early cinema's most forlorn and tragic movie monsters, on par with King Kong and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's creation."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"One of the best silent films ever made. Chaney's makeup is still incredible."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"From any facet or dimension, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a true classic in its own right due to its ambition, scope, scale and payoff. However, the real reason to see this film is the incomparable performance of one Lon Chaney."
‑ J.C. Mašek III, PopMatters
"Even though it diverts from the original novel, the film is still ultimately a tragic, triumphant story."
‑ Cole Abaius, Film School Rejects
"Of interest today strictly for Lon Chaney's bell-ringing performance."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
More reviews for The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Rotten Tomatoes