THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
starring Lon Chaney and Patsy Ruth Miller
MOTION PICTURE CLASSIC
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (Universal) is unforgettable - made so by Lon Chaney's fearsome, frightful portrayal of the title role. He has carried out this design without the least semblance of restraint - and his ape-like bellringer of the famed cathedral will be catalogued as the most hideous sketch ever shown on screen and stage.
Universal sets forth in the program: "We find it necessary to eliminate a great deal of gore." Yet here is Chaney in his uncanny study to counteract that statement. It seems to be a picture of all the tortures which can be inflicted upon a human being. It out Hugos Hugo in this respect. These gruesome details could have been softened a bit, and the vigor of the story would have remained just the same.
Technically it is finely executed. Its views of the cathedral are impressive and carry the suggestion of solidity and massiveness. Also, the streets of Paris of yesteryear are well designed, tho they should have been "dirtied" up a bit to bring more realism. A good deal of the story has been buried beneath solid masonry - so much so that the romantic part is lightly considered.
To us the most picturesque personage is Clopin, the king of the beggars, played in a commanding manner by Ernest Torrence. This actor is in the best scene which shows him leading the half-starved mob against the cathedral.
If you don't mind a grotesque figure too sharply defined, you will like this picture. It has Hugo's atmosphere and settings, and the handling of the crowds is highly interesting.
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