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Hunchback of Notre Dame [VHS] (1923)

Lon Chaney , Patsy Ruth Miller , Wallace Worsley  |  Unrated |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Kate Lester, Winifred Bryson
  • Directors: Wallace Worsley
  • Writers: Edward T. Lowe Jr., Perley Poore Sheehan, Victor Hugo
  • Producers: Carl Laemmle, David Shepard, Irving Thalberg
  • Format: Black & White, EP, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Madacy Records
  • VHS Release Date: September 25, 1997
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304819293
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,265 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

This is not the classic Disney animated version.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite The "Ultimate Edition"... October 9, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
...although this new Image release which replaces their 1999 edition is likely the best that we'll see until someone can afford to do a full scale restoration. David Shepard and Film Preservation Associates are to be commended for making this look as good as they have considering the limited funds they have to work with (Shepard once said that Kevin Brownlow and Photoplay Productions spend on one reel what he spends on an entire film) and the source material which appears to be 16mm. There is no significant new footage here but the film has been speed corrected which accounts for the longer running time. The print seems to be the same as the 1999 release with lots of scratches throughout but the image is sharper and the toning of certain scenes is better.

Aside from the condition of the print what really keeps this from being the "Ultimate Edition" is the score by Donald Hunsberger. Hunsberger is a fine conductor (check out his Eastman Wind Ensemble recordings) but the music he compiled is too lighthearted overall and not sombre or medieval enough to enhance what's going on during the movie especially toward the end (the compiled score used for the 1999 version was far more appropriate). A darker score like the one Ennio Morricone did for the 1912 RICHARD III would help to undercut the melodramatic elements of the story and some of the performances. Once again a score can make or break a silent film.

Lon Chaney remains a marvel as Quasimodo, fully inhabiting the character beneath the makeup and the natural speed transfer restores his performance to what it should be. The medieval sets and vast army of extras also continue to inspire awe 80+ years later. The disc comes with program reproductions, 3-D glasses for old stills, and commentary from Chaney scholar Michael F. Blake.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This IS The Expanded Restoration That Was on TCM July 23, 2007
Good: By a long shot, this is the most clear print EVER; for the first time the actor's facial expressions are clearly visible.
They've added over 20 minutes from any previous edition

Bad: No scratch removal.I assume they didn't have the funding for it; but as this is such an important piece of American history, it should have been done right. At least in the future, someone can load this dvd into a professional pc with scratch removal software & fix it right.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Sub-Standard Film Elments November 13, 2001
By A Customer
I know, I know. "The film's nearly 80 years old"; "what did I expect??"; "there's only so much you can do to restore old films..." I've heard it all, and this transfer from Image still gets only 3 stars. Why? Because I've seen better transfer elements on VHS, for crying out loud, elements that possessed far better image clarity than we're given on this disc. In several areas, the image is nearly washed out, leaving only tiny black pixels in its stead. Clearly, this is a problem with the version that Image has chosen for the transfer, and is not a problem that is attributable to the age of the picture. Having said that, however, it should be noted that there are no truly superb prints of this silent "Hunchback," and that the picture is worth spending a few hundred thousand-or a million or two-bucks to restore, if not with an entirely new negative, then at least via digital means. It is a fine rendition (I won't argue the point of whether Laughton's fine portrayal is 'better'...this is in the eye of the beholder) of Hugo's novel, and Lon Chaney's characterization is one of the most startling ever put on film. Mr. Chaney's use of his hands conveys subtleties that his face does not, providing us with one of the silent silver screen's most moving performances. He is Quasimodo, the hunchback, just as he was Erik, the Phantom, Blizzard, the underworld mastermind, and the tough sergeant in "Tell It To The Marines." If you're looking for a film with a thrilling story that is punctuated by pathos, and the kind of catharsis that can only come from witnessing the triumph of love and the human spirit, there is no better viewing than the 1923 "Hunchback of Notre Dame. Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars accept only the ultimate March 17, 2011
The 'ultimate edition' of this film is just that, the best, as far as I know, available. All other representations I have seen of this film appear to originate from the same tired masters. This particular edition is the 'bees knees'! There have been no 35mm elements available for years, but this edition is probably the closest we will get, it's a 16mm print taken from a 35mm element and is as sharp and clear as 16mm can be under the circumstances. The grey scale retains it's integrity which means you won't miss any details, and it has been slightly framed so that you wont miss anything at the edges. Yes, there are plenty of scratches and blemishes, but I imagine that this would be very costly to remove.
Extras include; a copy of the original programme, an interesting and informative commentary, a film of Lon Chaney visiting the set, an extract from another Chaney film, and 3D photographs taken on the set at the time, that you can view through supplied glasses ! What more could you ask?
A note for any modern Philistine types considering this purchase; this is a black and white silent film, and Lon Chaney aint gonna talk!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful complete print of this classic
Image Entertainment, did a wonderful job of restoring this classic film from the silent movie era.
The film has been put back together in its entirety and it really makes a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Juan Cardona, Jr
3.0 out of 5 stars melodramatic
Really a product of its time... silent era... and extreme melodramatic performances, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Chaney's Hunchback was super.
Published 9 months ago by Joan Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film!!!
One of the best of the best classics. I recommend EVERYTHING Lon Chaney ever did. He's a master. There's no one like him.
Published 9 months ago by HisArtisticDaughter58
5.0 out of 5 stars The David Shepard Stamp of Excellence
Scratches notwithstanding, David Shepard did a wonderful job on this movie. Mr. Shepard and his Film Preservation Associates know how to present silent cinema on video. Read more
Published 13 months ago by D. Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars When Movies Had Heart
I'm in my early thirties, so I don't know what impact silent films, and even films in the black and white era (for that matter), had at the time of their release. Read more
Published 14 months ago by amerk
3.0 out of 5 stars great
just like old movies and this is great is kept on my shelf and watches every now and then wonderful
Published 16 months ago by T. Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I love this storyline, a love story. I have seen other versions of it. I have never seen the original version.
Published 18 months ago by Gwenda Naylor
1.0 out of 5 stars Okay movie
this was my first time watching a silent movie. it was okay but lon chaney's performance of quasemodo. but that was the only thing i liked about the film. Read more
Published on April 5, 2011 by David
5.0 out of 5 stars moving, frightening, historic
This is one of the great early films, in which Lon C establishes an identity so complete and grotesque yet unrecognizable as him. Read more
Published on March 27, 2011 by Robert J. Crawford
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Worsley)
Format: Movie
Director: Wallace Worsley
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: September 2, 1923

With the exception of the 1996 Disney version this... Read more
Published on February 15, 2011 by Knoll360
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