The story of Jean Valjean, a Frenchman convicted of minor crimes, who is hounded for years by an unforgiving and unrelenting police inspector, Javert.The story of Jean Valjean, a Frenchman convicted of minor crimes, who is hounded for years by an unforgiving and unrelenting police inspector, Javert.The story of Jean Valjean, a Frenchman convicted of minor crimes, who is hounded for years by an unforgiving and unrelenting police inspector, Javert.
One of the best adaptations of the literary classic
Generally, while none really(apart from the truly outstanding 1934 film, not just the best version but one of the best films of the 30s) are as good as the book Les Miserables is well served, with only the 1998(actually started off really well but the second half really lets things down) and 1952 versions left wanting. This Les Miserables is one of the best versions, nothing is particularly wrong here actually but for personal tastes Enjolras could have been better developed and while entrancingly beautiful Christine Jean was a little too bland and cold for Cosette. It is one of the most faithful adaptations, the darkness and emotions in the story are intact as is the ever-resonating message. And this is not just in the details, which are there and recognisably and developed well, but also in spirit. Of scenes that are done particularly well, the standouts would have to be are the cleverly shot and affecting barricade scenes that are second only to the 1934 film in excitement and the final scene which you cannot fail to be moved by. The film is incredibly well made, with very authentic costumes and sets(with the sole exception of Marius' hair), as well as atmospherically scored and beautifully directed. The script is intelligent and brusque, very like Victor Hugo's own writing itself, and it takes its time to develop its characters in a tense but tragic way. Valjean and Javert are still the most interesting characters but plus points also have to go to one of the best depictions of the Thernadiers of any Les Miserables adaptation and also the genuinely moving one of Eponine, one of the characters that holds the story together. The acting is very good, especially from the noble and charismatic Valjean of Lino Ventura, a menacing, strong-principled but conflicted Javert of Michel Bouquet, Candice Patou as an Eponine that we feel pity for and the oily but never too sadistic or too buffoonish Thernadier of Jean Carmet. One shouldn't forget Evelyne Bouix's moving Fantine and Françoise Seigner that is pretty but every bit as oily as Mrs Thernadier, and Frank David is not creepy or bland and doesn't come across as a pretty boy as Marius. In conclusion, excellent film and adaptation. 9/10 Bethany Cox
- Dec 1, 2013
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