1986, Enchanted tales, 1997, Hunchback, Notre dame, 1911, 2015, picture image

All the Hunchback Versions that have been reviewed this past year

Theda Bara as Esmeralda in the 1917 The Darling of Paris picture image

Theda Bara as Esmeralda in the 1917 The Darling of Paris


Let’s consider a trend with Lost Films. All the films seem to make Esmeralda the main character. Every film but the 1911 version refereed to Esmeralda in the title and every film but the 1905 version had a prominent actress playing Esmeralda.

Given that most of the films of Hunchback favor Quasimodo as main character would it have made a difference if the four last films were available today? Might have help a little bit considering the 1923 version was originally a star vehicle for Pricilla Dean before Lon Chaney made it his picture. That’s right I think it’s pretty much Chaney’s doing that made the role of Quasimodo the point of focus for the films.  You have to really wonder if the film had been Dean’s movie would  Hunchback have had the same number of films and enjoyed the some film legacy.

It’s just such a interesting trajectory the focus that Hunchback films have taken, first focusing on the young and sometimes tragic Gypsy Dancer to the deformed often tragic hunchback. And when you consider the first four films were all Esmeralda based till Chaney changed it you have to really blame Chaney for it  seeing as he had a lot to do with  the 1923 version.

Howver there is at least ONE existing films version is known for the actress who plays Esmeralda.

Next Hunchback version the 1997 version called Hunchback and commonly known as the Salma Hayek version

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 Hunchback of Notre Dame



Stacia Napierkowska

Stacia Napierkowska

The second lost film was made in 1911 and was directed by Albert Capellani. It was called Notre Dame de Paris and was 36 minutes long. It starred  Stacia Napierkowska as Esmeralda. Napierkowska was a dancer before going into films. She appeared in 86 movies between 1908 and 1926. Napierkowska was once arrested in New York City during a performance for her dance being considered indecent.


Notre Dame de Paris 1911 picture image

Notre Dame de Paris 1911

From the few pictures that exist we can see that movie has the pillory scene, Esmeralda’s torture and the Port de Rouge scene. Napierkowska’s Esmeralda looks to be both gentle and commanding. Considering her experience as a dancer and  her freedom in sensuality department, I would say that there could have been a great dance scene in this.