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 »
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 »
Six months before his retirement from the criminal police, inspector Joss finds his colleague Gouvion dead, in a poorly faked suicide attempt. Joss loses his temper, and investigates on his... See full summary »
In the "Battle of Waterloo" flashback, English soldiers can be heard singing "The British Grenadiers," one of the most famous UK martial songs. See more »
[Valjean on his deathbed, talking to Marius after Cosette's turn]
I'm all right. I've got to confess this to you, Marius. I haven't liked you too much, but you know how it is.
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To me, the best versions of Les Miserables- a literary classic, and "the great French novel" for a reason- are the ones from 1935, 1978 and especially 1934. Apart from some draggy pacing, staid directing and the very unexciting barricade scenes, this film was still very good and as an adaptation is better than the 1952, 2000 and especially 1998 adaptations. The film looks very detailed and beautiful if at times too clean, and the photography is very skillful and mostly fluid(if clumsy at times in the scenes with the barricade). The music is haunting and dynamic and occasionally playful, while the script is very literate and maintains the brusque nature of Hugo's prose and the story is faithful in spirit to the book with some parts expanded on like with Valjean and Javert- though things were changed to accommodate the age difference between the actors- and Valjean and the bishop, which none of the other adaptations or even the book for that matter did. The storytelling is still poignant and the message of the book is there and it resonates. Of the cast the standouts are Jean Gabin, Bernard Blier and Bourvil. But that is not to dispute Daniele Delorme as a touching Fantine and while Béatrice Altariba achieves some pathos if not being entirely successful at overcoming Cosette's blandness. Gabin is a noble and understated Valjean with a lot of charisma and emotion, his change from immorality and redemption is portrayed very convincingly. Blier's Javert is cold-blooded, obsessive, strong-principled but there is vulnerability and a conflicted side he brings to Javert as well, which stops him from becoming too much of a one-dimensional antagonist. Bourvi's Thernadier is very slimy and funny, one of the best in the role actually, he manages not to be too sadistic or buffoonish, for a comic-villain role that Thernadier is those are a danger and Bourvil doesn't fall into that trap. In conclusion, a very good film and adaptation but from personal perspective it's not a first choice. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
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