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.
The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving ... See full summary »
"Le Dabe" retired many years ago and now he lives in the Tropics where he owns stables and horses. He is a very rich man. He was the king of all money counterfeiters. He is contacted from ... See full summary »
Two men, a painter and a poor guy, have to cross over Paris by night during World War II and to deliver black market meat. As they walk along dark Parisian streets, they encounter various ... See full summary »
Inspector Maigret is traveling to the French countryside to visit his friend, the duchess of Saint-Fiacre. She has received a letter recently stating that she will die soon. A few days ... See full summary »
Jean Valjean, a Frenchman imprisoned for stealing bread, must flee a police officer named Javert. The pursuit consumes both men's lives, and soon Valjean finds himself in the midst of the ... See full summary »
The best of the fuller versions of Les Miserables.
In the middle 1950s two film versions of Hugo's best remembered novels appeared and disappeared very quickly in movie houses. This French version of "Les Miserables" was one. The other was a French/Italian version of "Notre-Dame De Paris/The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". That one starred Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo and Gina Lollabrigida as Esmarelda. Both films were actually quite good, and were the best straight versions of the novels to try to get most of the stories onto the screen. However, both were too long for most audiences, especially this version of Les Miserables. This ran over three hours. As pointed out in the other review that I wrote about the 1935 version of Les Miserables, that film version is the best normal screen length film version. But the performance of Jean Gabin as Jean Valjean in this film is superior to the performance of Fredric March in the same role. I would also note that the performance of Bourvil as Thenardier is the best I've seen (even better than Ian Holm's in the 1978 version). Thenardier is an even slimier villain than Javert is, but Javert's single minded pursuit of Valjean in the novel makes the antics of Thenardier look secondary, and they are usually dismissed in the filmed versions (though not in the musical version). Check out the scene where Thenardier and his goons kidnap Valjean for ransom, and the latter demonstrates how tough he is effectively thwarting the plan. It does not appear in the 1935 version.
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