When I was but a young Monster Kid, I watched this version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE- DAME on TV. I'm guessing it was my first exposure to Quasimodo, and of course I would have the Aurora model kit with James Bama's Anthony Quinn Quasi on the box art (and the model looking nothing like any of the versions!).
Now, I have to tell you, I haven't watched it in years, but I remember it being a pretty fair film. Quinn did a decent job as Notre Dame's bell-ringer. Then there was Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda. What can I say? Latin women are among the most beautiful in the world, especially those from Italy, IMHO. Of course, I'm biased -- I married one!
This version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME was a French/Italian production, funded by Paris Film Productions and Panitialia. Directed by Jean Dellanoy, it was shot in French and released in Europe on 19 December 1956 as NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS. It wouldn't be until nearly a year later, 3 November 1957, when a dubbed version was released in the US. Budgeted at about $1 million, the film grossed almost $5 million.
Here are a few "Hunch-facts" about the film (from IMDB):
- It was shot partly at the original Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris.
- Director Jean Dellanoy wanted Jose Ferrer in the role of Quasimodo.
- Gina Lollobrigida made several French films, but this was the first one where she spoke her own lines.
- Esmeralda's goat that played in the film was insured for $2 million!
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME GALLERY
Look for the comic book adaptation of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME later today!