Friday, April 13, 2012

Les Misérables (1982)

I had heard before that this version of Les Misérables was one of the best. I did try to find a copy, but wasn't successful; so I was happy when TV5 showed this in 2 parts: last week & this week. Lino Ventura was a wonderful choice to play Jean Valjean. Once a wrestler, we are led to believe that he is the strongest man in Toulon prison.

The story is faithful to the book and as I was watching this, I kept saying in my mind that Robert Hossein (the director) must have loved the book very much. It has parts that I love which are missing from the Schönberg & Boublil musical: Cosette names her doll Catherine, Valjean gets help from Fauchelevent whom once he helped when the man trapped under a cart, Marius's disputes with his grandfather, Éponine shows Marius that she can read and write, the Jondrettes, Gavroche delivers Marius's letter to Cossette.

I like the scene describing the ruin of Fantine, which is shown in a slide show, showing her bust in every step of her ruin. After fired from the factory, she is forced to sell her locket, her hair (gold on her head), her teeth (pearls in her mouth), and then her body. She is getting uglier and uglier. This slide show is used again to describe time passes after Cosette met Marius. They both stand still, but the seasons change around them. They don't see anything else, the world is nothing, only they both matter.

In this film Gavroche sings The Fault of Voltaire, which is from the Schönberg Boublil musical.

I am rather disappointed with the ending, though. After Valjean gives Cosette to Marius's hand, he leaves and lives miserably for about 5 years (if I am not mistaken. I forget the year). He dies with Javert's words in his ear: "Now you are free." Perhaps it's a good decision since Valjean has been trying to run away from his past and Javert throughout the movie. I only wished the part when Cosette and Marius see him on his dying bed was included, because I love the part when Marius asks for Valjean's forgiveness. With this scene omitted (also when the Thénardiers tell Marius who his father-in-law is), Marius never knows who has saved him from the barricade.

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