Les Miserables

1523. LES MISERABLES (1952-ltaIy). With Gino CERVI, VALENT1NA CORTESA. A literate, handsomely mounted retelling of the often-filmed VICTOR HUGO classic. The setting is France, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries: a time when, for stealing a loaf of bread to satisfy a child’s hunger, you could be justifiably shot in the back, or placed in irons and sent to labor for years on a rock pile. This is exactly the fate of Jean Valjean, who wastes away in a penal settlement for 18 years before establishing himself as a successful businessman and small town mayor. As Valjean discovers, much to his regret, you can never truly escape from your past. Cervi is excellent in the demanding role of Jean Valjean; the “Variety” critic noted that “Cervi contributes greatly to the smooth development of this production. His is a superb portrayal of Valjean…” However, a little-known actor named JOHN HINRICH is no less impressive as Valjean’s by-the-books nemesis, Inspector Javert. Valentina Cortesa, one of the few actresses to gamer an Academy Award nomination for a non-English speaking role, is appealing as both Fantine, a much put-upon young woman who is the recipient of Valjean’s charity, and Cosette, her grown daughter. Among the scriptwriters is MARIO MONICELLI, who was soon to establish himself as one of Italy’s more respected filmmakers. “the changes he makes in Hugo’s story bring it firmly up to date (with dynamite and electrical towers in the background). Dubbed in English. 119 minutes. Drama