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The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Ultimate Edition)

4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Lon Chaney stars as the gentle outcast Quasimodo in the first film version of Victor Hugo's classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Paris of 1482 was meticulously recreated on the back lot of Universal Studios for this powerful drama that turned Chaney into a screen legend -- now presented in the ultimate special edition of this timeless classic.

Mastered in high definition from an original multi-tinted print.

New symphonic score compiled by Donald Hunsberger, adapted and conducted by Robert Israel. Recorded in Europe in digital stereo. Insert essay and optional audio essay through the film, both by Michael F. Blake, author of two books on Lon Chaney. Facsimile reproduction of original souvenir program.

Gallery of Original 3-D stills (3-D viewing glasses are included with this DVD). Extensive gallery of 2-D stills including production shots, scenes and advertising materials. Behind-the-scenes footage of Lon Chaney out of makeup on the set.


Special Features

None.

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: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Silent, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TEUSI6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,346 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Ultimate Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD
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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