The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Jean Valjean, a Frenchman of good character and great strength, is convicted of stealing a loaf of bread, an act that sets in motion a lifetime of misery for Valjean, as he is pursued by the uncompromising and brutal lawman Javert. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Valjean's coat and cloak have dirt on them while at the White Sergeant, but is clean before and after that. See more »
[to an old woman]
You want to know who I am? I'm a convict! Yeah! I served my sentence. Now my punishment begins, it seems. Look, in prison they gave me a bed of wood. Now I have one of stone.
That's what they do when they set you free!
Well, call the police, why don't you? Have me turned off this as well!
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This is perhaps the best screen adaptation of the Hugo novel about crime and punishment. March is terrific as Valjean, a man subjected to ten years of imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread. As Javert, a letter-of-the-law police inspector singularly obsessed with returning Valjean to prison for missing parole, Laughton is better than in the same year's "Mutiny on the Bounty." Hardwicke is effective in a small but pivotal role while Hudson and Beal make attractive lovers. Boleslawski, who died at age 47 only two years after directing this film, generally keeps the film from turning melodramatic and benefits from Toland's fine cinematography.
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