After stealing a loaf a bread to feed a starving family, Jean Valjean is sentenced to ten years at hard labor as a galley slave. There he is taught to read and write by another prisoner and meets Javert, an obsessive policeman who was himself born to convict parents aboard a prison ship. After his release, Valjean is treated as a pariah but finally finds shelter in the home of a kindly bishop. Valjean repays the clergyman's generosity by stealing his silver plate. He is apprehended by the authorities and returned to the bishop but is amazed when the kindly old priest tells them that the valuable plates were a gift. This becomes a transforming experience for the ex-convict, who establishes himself under an assumed name in a small country village as factory manager and ultimately mayor. Unfortunately the newly-promoted Javert is assigned there as chief inspector. Although he doesn't recognize his old nemesis at first, the two clash over Javert's overzealous prosecution of the letter of ... Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I pride myself on being a good officer.
That's very good. Only I'm afraid you'll get little practice here, Inspector Javert. We're a quiet town.
I have heard this, yet there is crime everywhere, monsieur.
And filth also if one looks hard enough.
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involving drama, rather good, and true to the novel
With Michael Rennie as Valjean and Robert Newton - in a subdued and tense performance - as Javert, this version of Victor Hugo's great novel is involving, intelligent, touching, and passionate.
In comparison to the 1935 version with March and Laughton, this film stands up well, and looks good, with a literate script. Some characters from the novel are omitted for time constraints, but their absence is not missed.
A good and sturdy version then, not without flaws but carried forward by strong performances, particularly that of Newton, who fits the part of Javert extremely well.
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