Archive for October 19th, 2008

by Allan Fish

continuing the series of pieces on my choices for the top 25 1930s films, no.24…

(France 1934 290m) DVD1

Two silver candlesticks

p  Raymond Bernard, Raymond Borderie  d  Raymond Bernard  w  Raymond Bernard, André Lang  novel  Victor Hugo  ph  Jules Kruger  ed  Raymond Bernard  m  Arthur Honneger  md  Maurice Jaubert  art  Jean Perrier, Lucien Carre  cos  Paul Colin

Harry Baur (Jean Valjean/Mons.Madeleine), Charles Vanel (Insp.Emil Javért), Odette Florelle (Fantine), Charles Dullin (Mons.Thénardier), Marguerite Moréno (Mme Thénardier), Orane Demazis (Éponine), Gaby Triquet (Little Cosette), Henry Krauss (Bishop of Digne), Josselyne Gael (Cosette), Jean Servais (Marius), Paul Azais (Grantaire), Max Dearly (Gillenormand), Emile Génévois (Gavroche), Georges Mauloy (Assises President), Lucien Nat (Montparnasse), Robert Vidalin (Enjolras),

There have been many adaptations of Victor Hugo’s monumental novel in cinema’s history.  There was an excellent but now unseen silent version in 1925 directed by Henri Fescourt which ran for 6½ hours and an excellent if butchered Hollywood version in 1935 with Fredric March and Charles Laughton.  Other versions followed with Gino Cervi in 1947, Michael Rennie in 1952, Jean Gabin in 1957, Lino Ventura in 1972, Richard Johnson in 1978, Jean-Paul Belmondo in 1995 and Liam Neeson (upstaged by Geoffrey Rush’s Javért) in 1998.  Yet none of them came close to the power and majesty of Raymond Bernard’s celebrated 1933-34 epic, which surely ranks as not only one of the greatest French films of the thirties, but their most forgotten classic.  (more…)

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