They keep making Les Misérables and the stars of the adaptations keep getting bigger.
In 1935 Les Misérables was directed by Richard Boleslawski and it starred Fredric March and Charles Laughton — both stars in their day. Charlie Chaplin’s United Artists distributed the film with 20th Century Fox and it was nominated for two academy awards, including Best Film Editing and Best Picture of the Year.
The next prominent release of Les Misérables took place in 1952, when Lewis Milestone directed Michael Rennie as Jean Valjean and Debra Paget as Cosette with Robert Newton as Javert. The film was also released by 20th Century Fox, but it bombed at the box office, tossing $1.1m.
Before the next big production of Les Misérables in 1998 there were twenty three different versions made for TV and film. Mostly foreign with a few domestic. The most famous being the 1978 version made for UK Telefelm. The film starred ‘Psychos’ Anthony Perkins as Javert, Richard Jordan as Jean Valjean and Caroline Langrishe as Cosette. It was directed by 13 time Emmy nominee Glenn Jordan.
After those 23 versions, the aforementioned 1998 production of Les Misérables returned to the big screen with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Geoffery Rush as Javert and Claire Danes as Cosette. The film was well received by critics, but opened 4th at the Box Office and grossed only $14m.
Then, in 2000, there was a six hour mini-series of Les Misérables starring Gerard Depardieu as Jean Vajean, Virgine Ledoyen as Cosette and John Malkovich as Javert. The mini-series was released in France and dubbed in English. It was released on DVD, September 20th, 2004.
And now, again, we get another production of Les Misérables in 2012. This time Victor Hugo’s novel will be directed by Tom Hooper and star Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. Also participating in the film, is Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy and Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier.
I would bet the next version will star Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and perhaps Meryl Streep?
I’m kidding of course, but it was amusing to find that there have been over 50 versions of Les Misérables produced for Film and/or television. It’s so cliched and so Hollywood. Is it not?
This version of Les Misérables does bring something new to the table however… Besides the actors. Tom Hooper’s version is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical and the actors are said to be singing the parts themselves. That will certainly put a spin on it. I never thought of Russell Crowe as the singing type or Sacha Baron Cohen. So, this I must see.
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