Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. It was LOVE. I knew I wanted to see several film adaptations. I've since watched four adaptations: the 1935 adaptation starring Fredric March (Jean Valjean), Charles Laughton (Inspector Javert), Cedric Hardwicke (Bishop Bienvenu), Rochelle Hudson (Cosette), Florence Eldridge (Fantine), and John Beal (Marius); the 1952 adaptation starring Michael Rennie (Jean Valjean), Robert Newton (Inspector Javert), Edmund Gwenn (Bishop Courbet), Debra Paget (Cosette), Sylvia Sidney (Fantine), Cameron Mitchell (Marius); the 1998 adaptation starring Liam Neeson (Jean Valjean), Geoffrey Rush (Inspector Javert), Peter Vaughan (Bishop), Claire Danes (Cosette), Uma Thurman (Fantine), Hans Matheson (Marius); the 2012 musical adaptation starring Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert), Colm Wilkinson (Bishop), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), and Eddie Redmayne (Marius).
Essentially, I wasn't satisfied with any of the adaptations I saw of this film. There were things I enjoyed about each of the adaptations. But there wasn't one definite version I'd recommend above the others. My least favorite was the musical; the musical was tedious and required you to suspend your disbelief for hours. (Who would really sing a song WHILE being chased by the police? Who would sing when trying to hide?) My favorite characters in the musical would be Eponine (Samantha Barks) and Fantine (Anne Hathaway). In some ways the musical was truer to the book than the others.
I am glad I watched it once, however. The two black and while film adaptations I saw were quite pleasant. The story is horribly condensed in both, and everything is so rushed, but, they were pleasant experiences. They don't do justice to the book...at all. The 1998 film was very nice. I thought Geoffrey Rush was great as Inspector Javert, and Liam Neeson was believable as Jean Valjean. IF this adaptation had followed the book, been a bit longer perhaps, then it could have worked for me.
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews