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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1982)

Decent retelling of the famous Victor Hugo novel although it is no more faithful to the novel than the rest of the many filmed adaptations of the book. Once again, a relatively romantic ending is put in place instead of Hugo's tragic finale (which is actually more romantic than any of the film versions). Anthony Hopkins makes for a subdued Quasimodo which allows Derek Jacobi as the tortured Archdeacon battling for his soul against his lust for the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda (Lesley Anne Down) to take center stage. The storming of Notre Dame by the thieves of Paris is very well done due in no small part by the handsomely atmospheric production design by Oscar winner John Stoll (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA). Alan Hume (RETURN OF THE JEDI) is responsible for the sumptuous cinematography. With John Gielgud as a sadistic inquisitor, Robert Powell (miscast) as the vain Phoebus, a swarthy robust David Suchet (almost unrecognizable as the man who would later play Poirot), Nigel Hawthorne, Rosalie Crutchley, Roland Culver, Tim Piggot-Smith and Gerry Sundquist.

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