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.
Jean Valjean, pursued through the years for a minor infraction by the implacable policeman Javert, attempts to create a life for himself and for his adopted daughter Cosette amid the ... See full summary »
Those five are unemployed penniless workers. Together they win 100,000 Francs with the national lottery. Instead of sharing the money, they buy a ruin and build an open-air cafe. But ... 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 »
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 »
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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