Discovering Another 'Les MISÉRABLES'

I grew up on the 1935 Hollywood version of Les Misérables that starred Fredric March and Charles Laughton, and I still think of it fondly. I also like the Claude Lelouch film of 1995, a variation on Victor Hugo’s novel with Jean-Paul Belmondo in the leading role. But I just viewed an epic three-part French adaptation from 1934 that’s in a class by itself. It runs four hours and forty-one minutes and is well worth the investment of time. The Criterion Collection released it five years ago in an Eclipse set honoring director Raymond Bernard; the companion feature is his 1932 anti-war film Wooden Crosses. To quote the Criterion liner notes, “It was Bernard who...

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