Les Miserables (1935)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Les Miserables Photos

Movie Info

This version of the oft-filmed Victor Hugo novel stars Frederic March as Jean Valjean, whose theft of a loaf of bread necessary for his survival lands him in prison for a decade. Upon his release, Valjean is embittered, but soon regains his humanity and compassion with a bishop's help.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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Fredric March
as Jean Valjean
Charles Laughton
as Insp. Javert
John Beal
as Marius
Cedric Hardwicke
as Bishop Bienvenue
Marilyn Knowlden
as Little Cosette
Marilynne Knowlden
as Young Cosette
John Carradine
as Enjolras
Jessie Ralph
as Mme. Magloire
Elley Malyon
as Mother Superior
Eily Malyon
as Mother Superior
Frances Drake
as Eponine
Jane Kerr
as Mme. Thenardier
Lyons Wickland
as Lamarque
Leonid Kinskey
as Genflon
John Bleifer
as Chenildieu
Harry Semels
as Cochepaille
Mary Forbes
as Mme. Baptiseme
Florence Roberts
as Toussaint
Lorin Raker
as Valain
Perry Ivins
as M. Devereux
Thomas R. Mills
as L'Estrange
Lowell Drew
as Duval
Davison Clark
as Marcin
Ian Maclaren
as Head Gardener
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Critic Reviews for Les Miserables

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

Charles Laughton in the part of Javert gave it as much character merely because the character as written was eminent, giving a balance to the whole story.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
The New Republic
Top Critic

It isn't a bad example of the Hollywood prestige picture -- there is, at least, some liveliness in the performances.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Nominated for the Best Picture oscar, Boleslawki's adpaptation of the Victor Hugo famous novel is lavishly mounted and well acted by Fredric March and Charles Laughton

Full Review… | March 23, 2011
Top Critic

While there's no such thing as a timeless '30s Oscarbait literary adaptation, this comes pleasantly within spitting distance of that mark.

Full Review… | January 6, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

Probably the best Hollywood version of Victor Hugo's story.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012

Fredric March gives a superb performance.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Les Miserables

This was my first exposure to Les Misérables, and I can see why the story is so popular. I'll certainly be watching the 2012 version shortly. The cast, first of all, is excellent. Fredric March gives a great performance in the lead role of Jean Valjean. He kind of represents a sort of compassionate people who understand that giving is more important than taking and that kindness is above the law. Opposite him is Charles Laughton as Inspector Javert, who believes in the law above all else. He's kind of a human manifestation of the law; he even turns himself in after he makes a minor mistake. I've been on the fence with Laughton until now - I loved him as Henry VIII and thought he was hit-and-miss in "Mutiny on the Bounty", but after seeing this I can't deny his gargantuan screen presence. He loses himself in his characters and steals every scene. "Les Misérables" is also technically excellent. Gregg Toland's cinematography is great to look at; there are some excellently framed shots, especially a climactic one where we see Javert following Jean's adopted daughter Cosette (Rochelle Hudson) as she turns into the estate where she lives with her "father". The score by Alfred Newman is also excellent. My only problem with the film is one I'd assume a lot of people have: it's too short. Brevity is fine and the movie is well paced, but coming from such a massive novel, this film feels like it has gaps in places that could've used a bit more explanation. Apart from that, it's an excellent black-and-white drama that's never boring.

Cameron Johnson
Cameron Johnson

This is one of few movies who's quality is determined largely subjectively. One side will assert that the questionable acting, disjointed editing and lack of music in most scenes are signs of an amateurish film and a symptom of cinema's early struggles with determining to what degree it should separate itself from theater. Others will assert that the questionable acting tells us that these people have experienced much grief even before the film starts and throughout the film, suggesting that they are not going to have overtly dramatic reactions to these events. Some will assert that the disjointed editing and lack of music makes the movie unsettling and haunting. All of these aspects together, they assert, drive a point home about how this story is not self-contained, but that this is a global societal justice issue. I am in the camp of the latter, I found this movie emotionally striking and impactful and definitely recommended.

Bheema Da Cashman
Bheema Da Cashman

The reason to watch is Charles Laughton. The rest of the production suffers from a lack of emotion. Is it the result of the era's creaky soundtrack.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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