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Les Miserables - Movie and Novel

             Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is a classic novel that has followed through to a cinematic spectacle on multiple occasions. Two adaptations are the 1935 film with Frederick March and the 1998 version with Liam Neeson. While both films capture Hugo's original interpretation, the two films part ways in multiple scenes. It must be taken into account that there is a large timeframe between the filming of these two. For example, the unfolding of the narrative in the 1935 film is presented by words from Victor Hugo himself, whereas the 1998 film shoots a more visual opening of the scene. The beginnings of the films themselves were much different and took interpretations of the novel in different directions. As the story in the novel begins with Monsieur Myrial, the main protagonist, Jean Valjean, in the 1935 interpretation, is revealed in the first scene. It goes more in depth about the background of Jean Valjean than the 1998 version, which begins with his first meeting with the bishop. The 1935 film reveals the history of his conviction, giving the viewers a more direct chronology of events. However, the 1998 film keeps the setting of the novel but with the leading up to the meeting of Jean Valjean and M. Myrial. .
             Although both interpretations of the novel follow the same storyline, the timing of the events in each create a different mood while watching. The director of the 1935 interpretation was Richard Boleslawski, who focused on Jean Valjean more closely from an omniscient point of view. He revealed the biggest obstacle in Valjeans life, his crimes in the past, in the opening scene. Boleslawski wanted his audience to understand where Valjean had come from. His lifestyle during his conviction and his incarceration are huge factors in his life that encouraged him to remember his morals and change his life. Bille August, the director of the 1998 interpretation, gave more room in his interpretation for his audience to question Valjeans character.

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