Entertainment

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Where Were the Key Filming Locations for the 1939 Adaptation?

By

Manya

The 1939 adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” directed by William Dieterle and starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara. They brought Victor Hugo’s captivating tale to life. They paid attention to every detail. Most importantly, they take care of filming locations as they spend thousands of dollars on building as well as modifying the filming set to record the scenes as per the narrative.

Additionally, they construct special buildings and sets which are still recognized with the name of the “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” film. Do you want to know about such locations? This exploration delves into the key filming locations and the creative efforts that made this adaptation a classic.

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Overall

Directed by William Dieterle
Screenplay by Sonya Levien
Bruno Frank (adaptation)
Based on The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
by Victor Hugo
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Starring Charles Laughton
Sir Cedric Hardwicke
Thomas Mitchell
Maureen O’Hara
Edmond O’Brien
Alan Marshal
Walter Hampden
Cinematography Joseph H. August A.S.C.
Edited by William Hamilton
Robert Wise
Music by Alfred Newman
(musical adaptation and original composition)
Production
company
RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 29, 1939
Running time
116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,826,000
Box office $3,155,000

What is Hunchback of Notre Dame All About?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a captivating and most anticipated 1939 American romantic drama film. It is directed by William Dieterle and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The theme of the film is adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel of the same name. It stars Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara. It is one of the first films shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

 hunchback of notre dame 1939 filmed

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At that time, the rest of the festival is canceled due to the start of World War II. It has received favorable ratings and reviews from critics worldwide such as 7 out of 10 on IMDB, 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 4 out of 5 on Common Sense Media. Additionally, this film was produced on a budget of $1,826,000 and grossed over $3,155,000 since its premiering.

Where Was the Hunchback of Notre Dame Filmed?

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” film captivated the attention audience because of its gripping narrative and stellar performance of cast members. Not only this but also the scenic locations at which all the scenes are filmed play a significant role in enhancing the viewers watching experience that’s how the movie keeps their interest till the end.

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“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was recorded at the RKO Encino Ranch. The bell tower interior scenes were filmed at the Mudd Hall of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. On the other hand, some places are also modified as per the scene’s requirements in a modern manner.

Those who are eagle-eyed fans can guess such places. Meanwhile, The sets of Paris and the Notre Dame Cathedral were constructed by Van Nest Polglase and decorated by Darrell Silvera. It costs $ 250,000 (about $4,974,622 in 2021 dollars) to build such shooting destinations. The movie name well recognizes these places.

If you are planning a trip to such places then it is highly recommended to visit at least once. You will love the beauty and environment. Do not miss any opportunity to make unforgettable memories, capture pictures, and enjoy the special moments. All the costume designs were selected and designed by Walter Plunkett. Before proceeding further, take a look at, the stunning locations of “Dune” (2021)! Where was it filmed?

 hunchback of notre dame 1939 filmed

What Challenges Did the Cast Members Face During the Filming of the Series?

The high temperatures made filming difficult for the actors and crew, particularly for Laughton, who had to wear extensive makeup for his role. In her memoirs, O’Hara recounts arriving on set one day to find gorillas, baboons, and chimpanzees.

Due to Dieterle’s thick German accent and poor English, his assistant misunderstood his request for monks, thinking he wanted monkeys instead. Warner Bro loaned the makeup artist, Perc Westmore. Do not miss out on reading: Where was “In the Heat of the Night” filmed? Discover the iconic sites!

Who Are the Cast and Characters in the Hunchback of Notre Dame?

  • Charles Laughton as Quasimodo
  • Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Frollo
  • Thomas Mitchell as Clopin
  • Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda
  • Edmond O’Brien as Gringoire
  • Alan Marshal as Phoebus

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  • Walter Hampden as Archbishop
  • Harry Davenport as King Louis XI
  • Katharine Alexander as Madame de Lys
  • George Zucco as Procurator
  • Fritz Leiber as Old Nobleman
  • Etienne Girardot as Doctor
  • Helene Whitney as Fleur de Lys
  • Mina Gombell as Queen of Beggars
  • Arthur Hohl as Olivier
  • Curt Bois as Student
  • George Tobias as Beggar-Hangman
  • Rod La Rocque as Phillippe
  • Spencer Charters as Court Clerk
  • Kathryn Adams as Fleur’s Companion

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  • Dianne Hunter as Fleur’s Companion
  • Siegfried Arno as Tailor
  • Peter Godfrey as Monk (uncredited)
  • Rondo Hatton as Ugly Man (uncredited)
  • Paul Newlan as Whipper (uncredited)

Conclusion

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was filmed at unique locations which enhance the viewer’s experience while watching the film and captivate them till the end. Some scenes are recorded at the RKO Encino Ranch and the Mudd Hall of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. On the other hand, some places are constructed such as sets of Paris and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

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