30th July 2016
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Music Performed by
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
Directed by Wallace Worsley
Produced by Universal
Patsy Ruth Miller
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1923 American film starring
Lon Chaney, directed by Wallace Worsley, and produced by
Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg.
The film is based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name, and is notable for the grand sets that recall 15th century Paris as well as for Chaney's performance and make-up as the tortured hunchback Quasimodo. The film elevated Chaney, already a well-known character actor, to full star status in Hollywood, and also helped set a standard for many later horror films, including Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera
The story is set in 1482 Paris, France. Quasimodo is a deaf, half-blind, hunchbacked bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. His master Jehan, the evil brother of the saintly archdeacon Don Claudio, prevails upon the hunchback to kidnap the fair Esmeralda, a dancing gypsy girl (and the adopted daughter of Clopin, the king of the oppressed beggars of Paris' underworld). The dashing Captain Phoebus rescues Esmeralda from Quasimodo, while Jehan abandons him and flees. At first seeking a casual romance, Phoebus becomes entranced by Esmeralda, and takes her under his wing. Quasimodo is sentenced to be lashed in the public square. After being whipped, he begs for water. Esmeralda pities him, and brings him some.
To their dismay, Jehan and Clopin both learn that Phoebus hopes to marry Esmeralda, despite being engaged to Fleur de Lys. Phoebus persuades Esmeralda to accompany him to a ball celebrating his appointment as Captain of the Guard by King Louis XI. He provides her with rich garments and introduces her to their hostess, Madame de Gondelaurier, as a Princess of Egypt. Clopin, accompanied by his beggars, crashes the festivities and demands Esmeralda be returned.
To avoid bloodshed, Esmeralda says that she does not belong with the aristocracy. Later, however, Esmeralda sends the street poet Pierre Gringoire to give Phoebus a note, arranging a rendezvous at Notre Dame to say goodbye to him. Before Phoebus arrives, he is stabbed in the back by Jehan. After Esmeralda is falsely sentenced to death for the crime, she is rescued from the gallows by Quasimodo and carried inside the cathedral, where he and Don Claudio grants her sanctuary.
Later that night, Clopin leads the whole of the underworld to storm the cathedral, and Jehan attempts to take Esmeralda, first by guile (telling her that Phoebus's dying wish was for him to take care of her), then by force. Quasimodo holds off the invaders with rocks and torrents of molten lead. Meanwhile, the healed Phoebus is alerted by Gringoire and leads his men against the rabble. When Quasimodo finds Jehan attacking Esmeralda, he throws his master off the ramparts of Notre Dame, but not before being fatally stabbed in the back. Phoebus finds and embraces Esmeralda. Witnessing this, Quasimodo rings his own death toll, and Gringoire and Don Claudio enter the bell tower just in time to see him die. The last image is of the great bell swinging silently above the hunchback's corpse.
Jonathan Eyre is the Assistant Director of Music at
St. Peter's Cathedral, Bradford, where he is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Cathedral Girls' Choir.
Jonathan also plays the organ as part of the weekly round of Cathedral liturgies. Jonathan is also the Co-Director of the RSCM Voices North Choir and Organist to the University of Sheffield.Prior to his appointment in 2012, he held the position of Director of Music at St. Nicholas Church, Harpenden, and was Master of the Choristers at Willington Prep School, Wimbledon.
Jonathan read for a degree in music at The University of Sheffield as the organ scholar, and was organ scholar of Sheffield Cathedral. Jonathan currently studies the organ with Dr. Gordon Stewart, and has previously studied with Dr. Colin Walsh, Neil Taylor, and with Andrew Fletcher. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (RCO) and Trinity College London, and also holds the Choral Directing Diploma from the RCO.
Jonathan Eyre has also gained national recognition for his expertly improvised soundtracks to silent movies.
As well as performing films on the Church and Cathedral Organ, Jonathan is also a keen Wurlitzer enthusiast.
He recently performed as part of the 2014 Saltaire Festival, and was featured artist at the Northern District Convention and the Wurlitzer at Howden-le-Wear for their Halloween Silent Film Special. In 2016 he will feature as part of the Portsmouth Festival.
Jonathan is a committee member of the Northern District of the Cinema Organ Society, which cares for the Cinema Organ Society Northern Wurlitzer.
Silent Film Improvised Accompaniments:
The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Oliver Twist, The Wizard of Oz, Nosferatu,
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Blood and Sand, Easy Street, The Adventurer, One Week, Wings, The Black Pirate, The Rat, City Lights, Metropolis, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.