Les Miserables (1935)


(out of 5)

Stodgy, lifeless adaptation of Victor Hugo’s definitive novel was probably much more challenging in its day but seems shallow now.  is very dramatic as iconic hero Jean Valjean, who is sent to the galley for ten years in pre-revolutionary France for stealing a loaf of bread and ends up paying for it his whole life. After his release and an act of kindness by a bishop, Valjean resurrects his life as a wealthy factory owner under an assumed name and becomes mayor of his town. It isn’t long before the evil Javert () pursues him for having skipped out on his parole following his release from prison, and ends up dogging him for years. Period details are quite good, particularly for a time in Hollywood when faithful recreations of the past weren’t of the utmost importance, but Hugo’s mammoth narrative has been gutted down to a greatest hits of the plot, and much of the acting and directing is two-dimensional.

20th Century Pictures

USA, 1935

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1935

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