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Les Misérables (1935)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | 20 April 1935 (USA)
In early 19th Century France an ex-convict who failed to report to parole is relentlessly pursued over a 20 year period by an obsessive policeman.

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), W.P. Lipscomb
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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A variation on Victor Hugo's classic novel by means of the story of a man whose life is affected by and somewhat duplicated by the Hugo story of the beleaguered Jean Valjean.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fredric March ... Jean Valjean / Champmathieu
Charles Laughton ... Inspector Emile Javert
Cedric Hardwicke ... Bishop Bienvenue (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Rochelle Hudson ... Cosette
Frances Drake ... Eponine
John Beal ... Marius
Florence Eldridge ... Fantine
Jessie Ralph ... Madame Magloire
Mary Forbes ... Mlle. Baptiseme
Florence Roberts ... Toussaint
Jane Kerr Jane Kerr ... Madame Thenardier
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Thenardier
Charles Haefeli Charles Haefeli ... Brevet
Marilyn Knowlden ... Little Cosette (as Marilynne Knowlden)
John Bleifer John Bleifer ... Chenildieu
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Storyline

This is by far the best version of Les Misérables ever made in my opinion and the critics. Charles Laughton makes this movie, but literally every scene and every character add to this amazing film. If you have never seen a Charles Laughton movie this one will get you hooked. His portrayal of Inspector Javert is 2nd to none. He tracks the wanted man Jean Valjean throughout the movie and the twists and turns are so well done even you movie buffs will not see what's coming. The movie takes you through Valjeans life and many crossroads that shape his life. My words don't do this movie justice. This is a must see Drama. The scene with the priest always gets to me, be sure to catch all the dialog. This movie will make you laugh though it is not a comedy. It will make you mad. It will move your heart in a good way. You will become many of the characters as you watch the film. The less you know about the film the better in my opinion which is why my summary is so vague on details. You can ... Written by MarkMann

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Immortal Classic That Shook A Nation . . . Is Now A Glorious Picture !

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les Misérables See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

20th Century Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Fox's production head Darryl F. Zanuck's attempt to beat MGM at its own game. MGM had scored several successes with adaptations of literary classics like David Copperfield (1935) and Little Women (1933) under the aegis of wunderkind producer David O. Selznick. This also afforded Zanuck the opportunity to provide his latest star, Fredric March, with a high-class production. See more »

Goofs

At c.60 minutes Inspector Javert is knocked unconscious to the ground inside Jean Valjean's house. Immediately afterwards he is seen hammering outside the house with his men trying to gain admittance. See more »

Quotes

Jean Valjean: Remember, as was once told me: life is to give, not to take.
See more »

Connections

Version of Les Misérables (1917) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good Movie Adaptation of a Great Novel
16 November 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

Victor Hugo's novel "Les Misérables" is the kind of elaborate and insightful classic that can never be equaled in a movie. But this 1935 version is a good adaptation, with two excellent stars, believable settings, and a decent script that concentrates on a selection of the more important portions of the novel. While hardly the towering achievement that Hugo's work was, it serves pretty well as an introduction to the two main characters and the basic themes behind their confrontations.

Fredric March and Charles Laughton work very well as the leads. March seems well-cast as Jean Valjean. He's a character that's very hard to do justice to, but March does about as well as anyone could in bringing out some of the thoughts and anxieties inside him. As Javert, Laughton is a less obvious choice for the role, but he shows enough restraint to do a good job in communicating the inspector's intransigent devotion to a narrow set of beliefs. While you could hardly expect the complexity of the novel, the scenes with the two of them work well in bringing out the basic contrasts in their personalities and perspectives.

The other characters are pushed more into the background, and many of their stories are only partially developed. Accordingly, they are portrayed by a solid but generally unremarkable supporting cast. The screenplay focuses on Valjean and Javert, with the other characters usually coming into play only insofar as they relate to the stories of the other two. No doubt that is a disappointment to those who admire the interesting lives and well-developed personalities that Hugo wrote for them, but it seems hardly avoidable in a regular-length film feature.

For an attempt to convey the central characters and themes of the story, this works pretty well, and it is a classic worth seeing. Those familiar with the novel should at least be able to appreciate March and Laughton for bringing their characters to life, and those who have not read the novel should find it a worthwhile introduction to the story.


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