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Les Misérables (1935)
Victor Hugo's most acclaimed novel comes brilliantly to life in this impeccably performed, magnificently filmed screen adaptation. Fredric March stars as Valjean, the ex-convict who rises against all odds from galley slave to mayor. Charles Laughton is Javert, the fanatical police inspector who dedicates his life to recapturing Valjean. A vivid depiction of the appalling poverty and social strife of 19th-century France, this version of Les Misérables does splendid justice to the original novel.
Les Misérables (1952)
Michael Rennie, fresh from his success in the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, cuts a very handsome figure as Jean Valjean, and Debra Paget, who would later reteam with Rennie in four more films, makes for a stunning Cosette in this powerful retelling of the classic epic. Costars include Robert Newton (Treasure Island), Edmund Gwenn (Miracle on 34th Street), Cameron Mitchell (How to Marry a Millionaire), Sylvia Sidney (Mars Attacks!) and Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein).