SIX DEGREES OF Q
- Quasimodo has the dubious honor of being the first monster in a movie. He is a fictional character who first saw the light as a character in the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) by Victor Hugo. Quasimodo, who was born with a hunchback, was feared by the townspeople as a sort of monster until he finds sanctuary in an unlikely love that is never corresponded and fulfilled only in death. The role of Quasimodo has been played by many actors of all trades, from Lon Chaney Sr. in 1923, to a Disney animated adaptation in 1996. In recent times, evidence has been found suggesting the existence of a real-life hunchbacked stone carver who worked at Notre Dame during the period when Victor Hugo was writing. They might even have known one another.
- Lon Chaney is widely known as a fixture of early horror films and he is consider the first horror movie star ever. Less widely known is the fact that among Chaney's rich filmography--162 films!!--he only starred in five horror movies: The Penalty (1920), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Monster (1925), London After Midnight (1927), and The Unknown (1927), the last one being one of his most praised performances.
- Tod Browning, director of The Unknown, is better remembered by horror fans for his harsh, creepy, and scary movie Freaks (1932) about a circus group of deformed outcasts and their dark secrets. However, it is in his film The Unknown where he first featured carnival life in a harsh, crude light. The film has being labeled by critics as his most intense and demented and was part of what is now known to horror historians as the Universal Horror Cycle.
- Universal Studios started its fateful journey as 'Independent Movies Company' which only horror film was Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1913). After the company adopted its present iconic name and during the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's, the studio filmed a series of horror flicks that would become the essence of horror. The first movie considered part of the Universal Horror Cycle featuring monsters was The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring the aforementioned Lon Chaney, and last one was Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948). As part of the cycle, Universal adapted three of Poe's stories: Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), The Raven (1935), and The Black Cat (1941).
- But it was Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum the one that would grab the honor of being the first story written by the author to be turned into a movie in the english language. The movie of the same title was directed in 1913 by the first female director in the motion picture industry, french-born Alice Guy-Blanche. She is considered to be the first director to systematically develop narrative filmmaking, and was known to employ especial effects in a time when no one else was. Along with her husband, they created the biggest pre-Hollywood studio in America, located in Flushing New York. After their divorce and given the trend of filming in the more cost-effective tempered weather of California, the studio closed its doors and she never filmed again but dedicated herself to give lectures and write books. Among the more than 700 films in which she was involved is La Esmeralda in 1905.
- La Esmeralda was the first non-english adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the first time Quasimodo appeared on film.
Yay! I did it! It was a lot of work but it was fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did. Don't forget to leave your comments.