The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
Jean Valjean, pursued through the years for a minor infraction by the implacable policeman Javert, attempts to create a life for himself and for his adopted daughter Cosette amid the ... See full summary »
The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving ... See full summary »
After stealing a loaf a bread to feed a starving family, Jean Valjean is sentenced to ten years at hard labor as a galley slave. There he is taught to read and write by another prisoner and meets Javert, an obsessive policeman who was himself born to convict parents aboard a prison ship. After his release, Valjean is treated as a pariah but finally finds shelter in the home of a kindly bishop. Valjean repays the clergyman's generosity by stealing his silver plate. He is apprehended by the authorities and returned to the bishop but is amazed when the kindly old priest tells them that the valuable plates were a gift. This becomes a transforming experience for the ex-convict, who establishes himself under an assumed name in a small country village as factory manager and ultimately mayor. Unfortunately the newly-promoted Javert is assigned there as chief inspector. Although he doesn't recognize his old nemesis at first, the two clash over Javert's overzealous prosecution of the letter of ...Written by
involving drama, rather good, and true to the novel
With Michael Rennie as Valjean and Robert Newton - in a subdued and tense performance - as Javert, this version of Victor Hugo's great novel is involving, intelligent, touching, and passionate.
In comparison to the 1935 version with March and Laughton, this film stands up well, and looks good, with a literate script. Some characters from the novel are omitted for time constraints, but their absence is not missed.
A good and sturdy version then, not without flaws but carried forward by strong performances, particularly that of Newton, who fits the part of Javert extremely well.
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