Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Every film fan will have weird little side notes to their life of cinephilia, and here’s one of mine: before finally watching it to write this review, I’ve been waiting to see Claude Lelouch’s free adaptation of Les Misérables from 1995 for longer than any other movie ever. I first heard about it during its […]

First, the caveat that looms over the rest of this review like a symbolically-laden pair of candlesticks on the mantel: the 1982 film of Les Misérables directed by Robert Hossein, from an adaptation he wrote with Alain Decaux, is an absolute bitch to find in an English-subtitled version. At least, I couldn’t find one, after […]

The first thing one notices about the French-language film adaptations of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, relative to the English-language ones, is that they are much longer: indeed, the shortest of the important French versions (from 1982) is nearly half an hour longer than the longest of the English versions (the 2012 musical). This has everything […]

Memory will tease you sometimes. It has been some years since I last watched the 1998 film adaptation of Les Misérables, and I recalled it as being a somewhat heinous bastardisation of the book that was nonetheless a pretty solid piece of prestigious costume-drama filmmaking. Upon revisiting it, I’d be inclined to almost perfectly reverse […]

And now our little tour of English-language Les Misérableses takes us to the point I’ve been most excited about all along: a 1978 Les Misérables produced by Lord Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment for British and American television, the only feature-length, sound adaptation in the English language I had not previously seen; for it is certainly […]

Inasmuch as it’s ever the “wrong” time to adapt a movie from one of the foundational texts of contemporary Western literature, 1952 was an odd year for 20th Century Fox to mount a new American Les Misérables. The 1930s’ great spate of prestige pictures based on classic 19th Century novels that had birthed the studio’s […]

In all of movie history, Victor Hugo’s 1862 goliath of a novel Les Misérables has been filmed more times than any other single work of literature by a writer not named Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare; shockingly, only twice was that filming done in Hollywood, where prestigious, dour literature goes to be tricked out with […]

It’s a bad habit to review the reviewers, but I can’t let a few of the things that have cropped up in almost all of the bad and most of the mixed reviews of the long-gestating film adaptation of 1980s mega-musical >Les Misérablesi by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg go by without… without countering them, […]

It probably shouldn’t be a thorny question, but it is: what makes a good adaptation of a book into a movie? Thanks to the Harry Potter film series, that question has been bobbing around quite a bit of late, although I suspect that most of the people debating it wouldn’t think that they are trying […]