Les Miserables - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Les Miserables Reviews

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September 26, 2016
Laughton's role is very good, but it falls flat otherwise.
August 6, 2016
An abridged version of the Hugo classic, but the two stars make it very worthwhile.
April 24, 2015
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.
March 28, 2015
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.
½ January 20, 2015
Una de las primeras versiones de la famosa obra de Victor Hugo, disfrutable en blanco y negro con un Charles Laughton como Jarvet que se roba la función.
April 17, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014

(1935) Les Miserables
VICTORIAN DRAMA

Although, there are so many versions told from many points of view, and from different standpoints, I can't seem to forget some of the scenes from this one at all, which is a non musical and a true reflection about what it was like living during the Victorian age. From the popular Victor Hugo novel starring Fredric March as Jean Valjean condemned to be prosecuted and stalked for missing his parole for stealing a loaf of bread by an officer who made it as part of an obsession by the name of Inspector Javert played by the brilliant Charles Laughton. A realistic point of view of a Charles Dickens play of "A Christmas Carol" using the words of charity and compassion, as well as frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life".

4 out of 4 stars
½ February 1, 2014
Vaguely derived from the epic novel by Victor Hugo, this 1935 version of Les Miserables is subjected to the choppy edits and heavy bowdlerization that was suffered by many Hollywood films of the time. While quite dated, the movie does have a nice performance from Charles Laughton as Javert. It's too bad that the cinematography is so stilted and clunky. While the movie can be an interesting period piece for film buffs and/or social historians, there are a number of celluloid adaptations of Les Miserables. One would probably be better off with a different one.
December 14, 2013
Frederic March is great in this one but Charles Laughton steals the show. Much more enjoyable without the musical adaptation (just my opinion). Well done version of Victor Hugo's novel.
April 15, 2013
A beautifully crafted film that will last through the ages.
February 7, 2013
Brilliant distillation of the novel, with solid acting all around. Frederic March, Charles Laughton and Cedric Hardwick give career-defining performances.
January 30, 2013
Una de las primeras versiones de la famosa obra de Victor Hugo, disfrutable en blanco y negro con un Charles Laughton como Jarvet que se roba la función.
January 27, 2013
March and Laughton shine in the best version of Hugo's wonderful story.
January 18, 2013
I stumbled upon this gem on AMC and was delightfully surprised by the great acting and the the story was told. Simply made black and white movie with a good combination of excellent actors. Highly recommended.
December 26, 2012
this moive is in my remeber.
½ December 16, 2012
I love the book. I love the musical. I don't love this feature. So many unnecessary changes. I love the films of the 30s and 40s, but this was flat and boring. Credit given where credit is due, Laughton gives an excellent performance.
½ December 14, 2012
There are much better adaptions. I can forgive cutting out Fantine's story, due to the Hays code. But the acting is terrible, and the focus of the revolution was completely changed.

Even the terrible 1998 production was better than this film.

Try the 1934 or the 1957 versions if you want a good film, that also remains loyal to the source material.
December 12, 2012
all star cast makes this version of this story worth watching
September 28, 2012
The way Laughton and March play off each other is spectacular, yet natural. It reminds me of Batman and the Joker from The Dark Knight.
September 15, 2012
Let the wolves beware

In the early 1900s a former French prisoner who has established nobility fails to appear for parole. A ruthless police officer tracks him down for over twenty years waiting for his opportunity to bring the nobleman down. The nobleman does nothing but great things for his countrymen. The goodness of the noblemen will not deter the policeman from executing his job.

"I only ask that you do not look for evil where none exists."

Richard Boleslawski, director of The Garden of Allah, Operator 13, Theodora Goes Wild, The Painted Veil (1935), and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, delivers Les Miserable. The storyline for this picture is amazing. There is so much drama throughout the film and the characters are written and delivered so well. The cast delivers awesome performances and includes Fredric March, Charles Laughton, and Cedric Hardwicke.

"I spit on your nobilities."

I came across this picture while flicking through the channels and had to DVR it. I was mesmerized by the characters, both good and bad, throughout this entire picture. The story is so dramatic and compelling and the end is brilliant. This is a wonderful movie that I strongly recommend seeing and it is worth adding to your DVD collection.

"Money seems to go one way: out."

Grade: A+
July 13, 2012
This will always be my favorite version.
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