The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Impressive (and very expensive) sets, but statically rendered by director William Dieterie. This version takes significant liberties with Victor Hugo’s novel, not necessarily a bad thing if the end result is strong in its own right, and the characters and plot mechanics often come across as facile or clumsy.
King Louis XI is an extraordinarily enlightened fellow and spends his time waxing lyrical about how printing presses will change the world for the better. Cecile Hardwicke is strong as Frollo, but his motivations are insufficiently clear. Charles Laughton is aided by an impressive make-up job as Quasimodo but transitions jarringly from simple grinning fool to insightful tortured soul. Maureen O’Hara is okay as Esmeralda, but the dialogue she’s given does her no favours.