“The bells, the bells!” Victor Hugo’s classic novel was filmed five times during the silent era but this 1939 outing was the first to hear Notre Dame’s toll.
Charles Laughton dons ugly make-up and a 4lb aluminium hump to play Quasimodo as he clambers across the rooftops of medieval Paris (actually a lavish 190ft set built in the San Fernando Valley).
While ladling on the Gothic atmosphere, this RKO blockbuster also captured contemporary concerns, the story of Quasimodo’s love for downtrodden gypsy Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara) reflecting the then-current persecution of the Jews in Nazi Europe.
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