Once again, Charles Bradley is set to accompany another silent film classic. Once again, the emphasis is on the word “classic.”
Bradley will provide music for the 1923 version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” featuring the great disguise artist, Lon Chaney, tonight and Saturday at St. John’s Cathedral.
Bradley, the cathedral’s regular organist, is no stranger to silent film. In this long-running film series, which is sponsored by The Cathedral and the Arts Association, the talented musician has accompanied such films as “Orphans of the Storm,” “The Mark of Zorro” and “Nosferatu.”
His musical gifts seem perfectly appropriate for this acclaimed version of “Hunchback,” directed by Wallace Worsley from Victor Hugo’s novel. Featuring the great Chaney as the disfigured resident of the great Paris cathedral, the film follows his fortunes as he falls in love with a spirited street girl, portrayed by Patsy Ruth Miller.
Other actors have taken their turn playing Hugo’s pitiful hunchback, including Anthony Quinn, Anthony Hopkins and, in 1939, in what may be the definitive version, Charles Laughton. But few endured the hardships Chaney imposed upon himself.
Of course, hardship was Chaney’s trademark. In 1920’s “The Penalty,” he bound his legs to portray a legless criminal, walking on his knees through the production run. In “Hunchback,” he carried more than 70 pounds on his back to better convey the notion that he was disfigured.
The good thing, for Spokane filmgoers at least, is that Bradley will work hard to make sure that viewing this event is no hardship at all.
Because seating is general admission, those who want seats near the front are advised to arrive at least an hour before film time.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with story: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” accompanied by Charles Bradley Location and time: St. John’s Cathedral, 127 E. 12th, tonight and Saturday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $7, $5 for seniors, $3.50 for ages 12 and under