Hunchback of Notre Dame
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Flicker Alley, in association with the Blackhawk Films Collection, is proud to present THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo, looking as if he had just stepped out from the original illustrations of Victor Hugo s novel. This new Blu-ray edition is pictorially much better than earlier video releases and represents the most sharp, most scratch-free condition in which this landmark film survives today.
HUNCHBACK is a huge production: the sets depicting 15th-century Paris covered nineteen acres of Universal Pictures back lot and included the façade of Notre Dame Cathedral. Filming took six months and the climactic sequence employed two thousand extras, but it s Lon Chaney s performance that makes the character unforgettable. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME premiered at New York s Astor Theatre on September 2, 1923. The success of the film was immediate; it made Carl Laemmle and Universal Pictures a fortune, and turned Lon Chaney into a screen legend.
This edition is mastered from a multi-tinted 16mm print struck in 1926 from the original camera negative. (The film apparently does not survive in 35mm). Visible wear in the source material is diminished via the latest tools in digital restoration. A new symphonic score arranged by Donald Hunsberger was recorded in the Czech Republic by full orchestra conducted by Robert Israel.
Bonus materials include an essay and an optional audio commentary by Chaney scholar Michael F. Blake; rare footage (in standard definition) of Chaney out of makeup on the Cathedral set; a 1915 film, ALAS AND ALACK, in which Chaney plays a hunchback; a brand-new, dynamic HD photo gallery with over 100 original production and publicity stills; and an exciting, detailed digital reproduction of the original souvenir program.
This edition produced by David Shepard and Serge Bromberg; Special Contents Copyright 1991, 1996, 2007, 2014 by Film Preservation Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Whilst there is a lot of lines here and there, as could be expected, the image is sharp and the best it has ever looked. That it is from 16mm could not be detected. The score is a delight to listen to.
There is also an extensive booklet supplied in the package and some extra bits & pieces of film.
The 1939 RKO-Radio release of the Charles Laughton sound version is a good match and would make a perfect double film collection.
This movie has been restored from an old 16mm print that had been struck in 1926 from the original camera negative so it won't look as sharp as today's movies on blu-ray. It still looks rough, as if one is looking through rain, so one shouldn't expect a pristine picture. Contrast isn't super high overall either, however, this is evidently the best restoration yet of the film. This set comes with a twelve page booklet with a history of the film. Special features include "Alas Alack" a 1915 (13 minute film) with Lon Chaney where he also plays a hunchback, an audio commentary with Michael Blake, some short rare footage of Chaney out of costume, a digital reproduction of the original souvenir program, and an HD photo gallery with production and publicity stills.
Happily, the performances and the filmmaking are captivating enough that the relentlessly imperfect image quality is less of a distraction than it could be. The score, ported over from Image's Ultimate Edition DVD, helps a lot too. I must respectfully disagree with those who find it inappropriate. Musical styles and instrumentation are consistently tailored to the tenor or setting of the scene, while avoiding being too on-the-nose in terms of matching the onscreen action. It's my personal favorite "Hunchback" accompaniment that I've heard, and I was glad to see it had been retained.
My only complaints are trifles: the cover art is kind of ugly whereas the DVD cover art was really nice-looking, and the original promotional 3D stills included on the DVD aren't included here.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a silent film but has added music. It begins at the famous cathedral.Read more