The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 – Not so well remembered

Unlike the classis 1939 film with Charles Laughton on brilliant form as the Hunchback, this remake does not seem to be remembered and nor does it seem to appear on Television – in fact I can’ t remember it ever been shown in England on TV.

It starred Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda – this picture above is taken from the front cover of Picturegoer of 14 November 1959 – so by this time the film had come and gone without causing too many ripples on the water by the sound of it.

Anthony Quinn played the Hunchback and apparently was very good in the role giving a different interpretation than had been previously done.

The film was made in France with a French Director and cast – apart that is from the two leading roles. It did prove very successful at the Box Office in France when released – and did quite well elsewhere.

Maybe it is not shown much because it is a French film although I can’t think why that would be unless the initial promotion was not as good.

ABOVE – A shocking scene as Quasimodo is mercilessly whipped. This really is terrible to see such cruelty

This version apparently is pretty faithful to the Victor Hugo novel

Unlike other  film versions though, this is the first known version where Esmeralda dies. However unlike the book her death is different. As the Court of Miracles attacks Notre Dame and Quasimodo defends it, Esmeralda goes to the door and meets the Court. They triumphantly carry her out but then the King’s guard fires an arrow at them. Esmeralda turns to run back inside Notre Dame but she is shot by an arrow and dies.

This was filmed in Cinemascope and EastmanColor – this was the very first version in colour – and I have always loved the Cinemascope format – doesn’t fit the TV screen so well though – but that does not mean anything because this film was made to be shown in the Cinema on that big screen – like so many more films were

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