Sunday, May 23, 2010

Les Misérables

Since I mentioned a few of Laurence Olivier's literary adaptations yesterday, I should note that TCM is showing the Victor Hugo classic Les Misérables overnight tonight.

Actually, they're showing two versions. First, at 4:00 AM, is the 1935 version, in which Fredric March plays Jean Valjean, and Charles Laughton plays Javert. It's followed at 6:00 AM by the 1952 version, starring Michael Rennies as Valjean, and Robert Newton as Javert. Personally, I prefer the 1930s version, in large part because I love Charles Laughton in almost anything he did. That, and the fact that I don't think Rennie is properly cast as Valjean.

I don't know if the 1935 version is the best version of the movie though. That would because there are one or two versions I haven't seen. More like one or two dozen, to be exact, including a lot of versions I'd never even heard of. The earliest seems to be from 1909. The first sound version, a partial telling of the tale, is a 1929 short called The Bishop's Candlesticks, in which Valjean is played by Walter Huston.

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