89 Days of Oscar Nominees – #5 – Les Miserables (1935)


In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 89 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 1 Dec 2016 and The 89th Annual Oscars on 26 Feb 2017.

Here is my Fifth review of the 89 chosen Films…

les-mis“Long ago, Jean, I learned that life is to give, not to take. Let me give. And in return, promise me that you will give, also. ” – The Bishop

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Dec 2016)

Brief Synopsis – Original adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo novel where a former prisoner must find a way to live his life as a free man despite being branded a criminal by the law.

My Take on it – Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I’m a HUGE fan of the stage musical and subsequent film version of Les Miserables.

As my next Best Picture nominee that I’ve never seen before, I chose to watch the original adaptation of this classic novel that keeps things as a drama instead of the musical adaptation many of us are already familiar with.

I loved the way they portray this story and in some ways the message and emotional impact of this story reverberates louder here than in the musical versions.

Charles Laughton and Frederick March are both superb here as Javair the policeman and Jean ValJean the former prisoner.

Unlike in the musical version, many important scenes are done subtly here and feel even more impactful because of it.

The main problem I had here was I half expected the characters to break out in song the entire time. 😉

This is clearly a must watch for fans of the musical adaptation and for those who like this kind of story but prefer it as a drama.

Bottom Line – Excellent adaptation of this classic story that works so well as a drama without the need of the music. Amazing cast with two former Oscar winners at the helm. Such a powerful story with such a great message which is brought to life so easily here clearly making this film a must watch for fans of the story or for those who shy away from musicals but still enjoy the drama here. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – This is one of only four properties that have had two different adaptations of the same material both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film. This adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel stands alongside Les Misérables (2012). The other pairings were Cleopatra (1934)/Cleopatra (1963), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)/Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), and Romeo and Juliet (1936)/Romeo and Juliet (1968). The 1935 version of “Mutiny on the Bounty” was the only one of these nominees to win. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy


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26 thoughts on “89 Days of Oscar Nominees – #5 – Les Miserables (1935)

  1. I ought to see this one for comparison. The story does work well without the music, and I really enjoy the Liam Neeson and Richard Jordan versions I’ve seen. The musical’s the best, though. 😉


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