Les Miserables (1934)

Yes! MORE really long French cinema! Clocking in at a reasonably whopping 282 minutes (watched in a single sitting as well, apart from pauses to change discs; I’m fairly sure that makes it the longest single film I’ve ever consumed in one go), I’m willing to accept this is the most faithful adaptation of the novel ever made, partly cos I’ve never actually read it so can’t comment either way but also cos it’s actually about as long as a faithful adaptation would need to be (released in three parts much like a TV miniseries). Much abused and chopped up over the years, this is as near as we’ll get to the original cut; while Criterion don’t spend the same effort on their Eclipse releases as they do their own brand, I’m still pleased they got this restoration for their release. Obviously anyone interested in cinematic adaptations of big 19th century literature should see this; I suppose it’d also qualify as a grand example of the “tradition of quality” that Truffaut so disliked.


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