Les Miserables

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:13 pm

Greg wrote:In what is not a good sign about confidence in Les Miserables' Oscar chances, it is set to open in my local "$1.50! All Seats! All Shows! All The Time!" movie theater this weekend.


HIGHWAY ROBBERY! Tom Hooper should have paid ME to experience whatever that thing he called a movie musical was.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Greg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:10 pm

In what is not a good sign about confidence in Les Miserables' Oscar chances, it is set to open in my local "$1.50! All Seats! All Shows! All The Time!" movie theater this weekend.
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controls the nation.”

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:10 pm


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Re: Les Miserables

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:34 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Like most Cameron Macintosh produced London/Broadway shows, Les Misérables is on stage more style than substance. Unlike the Andrew Lloyd Webber shows he also produces, though, Boublil/Kretzmer's score contains more than one or two memorable songs. Prior to the film, I though there were four: "I Dreamed a Dream"; On My Own"; "Bring Him Home" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". After seeing the film, however, I think there are five. The song that I haven't been able to get out of my head since is "Do You Hear the People Sing".


"One Day More" and "Master of the House" (which was featured in a memorable episode of Seinfeld) are also pretty darn popular.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:34 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Speaking of the songs, I realize that I complelely missed the one which has been Oscar-nominated. It probably isn't one of the most impressive in the movie...

It's not. I missed it when I saw it in the theatre myself and had to look it up. It's sung by Hugh Jackman as a lullaby to Cosette after he rescues her.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:15 pm

Speaking of the songs, I realize that I complelely missed the one which has been Oscar-nominated. It probably isn't one of the most impressive in the movie...

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:06 pm

Marco, that was a very thoughtful review of Les Misérables.

A couple of points:

The film is a revelation to those who loved the show in that it is better. I personally merely "liked" the show, but "loved" the film which thanks mainly to the much maligned close-ups makes it more accessible. The screenplay also conveys more of Hugo's original text than the stage production, but not by a whole lot. The ending, for example, is supposed to be a foretelling of the successful revolutionary uprising of 1948 rather than just a Places in the Heart style gathering of the dearly departed which doesn't really come across as anything more than that. It succeeds, however, in adding weight to Fantine's story. None of the stage Fantines had to cut their hair or pretend to have their teeth yanked out.

The 1948 Italian version of Les Misérables with Valentina Cortese playing both Fantine and Cosette is the only sound version of the novel not yet available on DVD. I don't think it's been shown in the U.S. since its theatrical run in 1952.

As we all know, performance alone is not what wins awards. Anne Hathaway's back story of playing the role on film her mother played in the first national tour of the show is one of those "aw shucks" stories that the public eats up. Then there's the case of her toughest competition - Sally Field and Helen Hunt having already won.

Like most Cameron Macintosh produced London/Broadway shows, Les Misérables is on stage more style than substance. Unlike the Andrew Lloyd Webber shows he also produces, though, Boublil/Kretzmer's score contains more than one or two memorable songs. Prior to the film, I though there were four: "I Dreamed a Dream"; On My Own"; "Bring Him Home" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". After seeing the film, however, I think there are five. The song that I haven't been able to get out of my head since is "Do You Hear the People Sing".

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:04 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:
My prejudice is to believe Europeans are more sophisticated than us yanks, but in this country the only foreign films that are dubbed are Godzilla or martial arts movies, or children's films -- mostly Miyazaki.



Yes, except that in your "sophisticated" country next to nobody watches foreign movies - dubbed or undubbed...

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:26 am

I wish I had seen this movie right when it first came out, almost two months ago, rather than only yesterday when it's finally been shown in Italy. It would have been more simple - and funny, even. To attack it, I mean - and how can one NOT attack a movie which is sold as a kind of mystical experience and then turns out to be... well, just average? Les Miserables was a perfect target - a too easy target, even. Now, if one wants to be original, the only way would be to say good things about it.

Ok, that would be too much maybe. But at least let's try to be fair - and some critics have been a bit too unfair, honestly. It's true - the movie is at times almost unbearably sentimental, an old-style tearjerkrer even (it didn't make me cry, of course, but many around me WERE crying). Yet that's exactly an important aspect of Victor Hugo as a writer - he became so beloved, so popular (maybe the most popular writer of his time) because, let's face it, he made his readers cry. We can't forget this. His characters were so larger-than-life, in their misfortunes even, in their tragic and often unchangeable destiny, that readers suffered with them, cried with them. And the movie perfectly preserves this - how could it not? It would have been a big mistake. Les Miserables without tears wouldn't be Les Miserables.

Oh, of course Victor Hugo wasn't just that. He was a deep moral writer, a philosopher even, and a profound thinker, and while THESE aspects are conspicuously absent in this film version, I mean, honestly, did we seriously expect to find them here? In a musical? I didn't - what I expected was the by-now famous story, more or less faithfully told, with songs for a change - and this is what I got. I knew that this wasn't the place for intense moral confrontations. So I wasn't disappointed.

Not by that, I mean. Because otherwise Les Miserables has plenty of flaws, and for example I don't know if I have ever seen a movie musical so unimaginatively, lethargically directed (I admit that I haven't seen too many musicals though). The direction is terrible, really. And not for the much talked-about close-ups, no - or at least not only for those. It has no epic power, it doesn't have a rhythm, and even in the potentially cinematic scenes of the Revolution it's so... inert, dead. It just looks like as if it was shot on a stage - on a theatre stage I mean. It's a pity - a different, more original director could have given the material the energy, the movement, it badly needs.

And then there are the songs. Now, let me first say that I actually liked that they were sung live by the actors - they werent always perfect but they were real, raw. Still, I have no idea if it's because of the way they were performed, or if they really are like that - but they are also so unmemorable. I don't know, it was probably the actors, because for example Russell Crowe has a song about the stars which didn't seem that bad except that it was sung in a very tiresome way. But if there's no song in your head when you leave the cinema, something must be very wrong.

The actors are generally acceptable (except Crowe, who doesn't have the almost devilish power one expects from Javert, and doesnt even try). None, of course, should have been Oscar-nominated, but yes, I'd say that they are acceptable. Still, I can vaguely understand why the Academy picked Jackman and Hathaway - if one likes Les Miserables, one will like at least Jean Valjean and Fantine. I haven't read the novel, but I've seen countless Jean Valjeans and Fantines. French, American, Italian... Countless. Jackman isn't a bad actor and of course he doesn't have the typically French grandeur of a Depardieu or a Gabin (though Gabin's version was terrible), but he does what he has to do and does it with a certain undeniable professionalism. I have more problems with Anne Hathway, who REALLY plays pathetic in the most extreme, and unfortunately predictable, way - but then I must admit that all Fantines were more or less like that; actresses had this small but meaty role of a total victim and threw into it with an absolute lack of control. Valentina Cortese is the best I've seen and even Cortese honestly couldn't completely avoid that. And it's actually nice that a character which was invented 150 years ago can still move people so much. But an Oscar for this?! Absurd.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:29 am

Norway and Sweden have all films subtitled even in the remotest of areas.

In France the only place I could go to the cinema was in Paris which tended to show film both dubbed into French and or V.O. Rural France is a wasteland for cinema going if you don't speak French.

I only saw subtitled versions of films in Vienna & Berlin. Didn't notice them anywhere else in those two countries.
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Re: Les Miserables

Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:01 pm

Thank you danfrank and Cinemanolis for the info.

My prejudice is to believe Europeans are more sophisticated than us yanks, but in this country the only foreign films that are dubbed are Godzilla or martial arts movies, or children's films -- mostly Miyazaki. We look down on those who refuse to read subtitles. To think the French dislike subtitles is just so funny to me. As an Italian-American, I was equally surprised to find audiences in Italy unwilling to read subtitles. I know at one point Italiano mounted a passionate defense of this practice, but it still seems bizarre to me. I mean even the dumbest audiences in the U.S. watch films with at least a little bit of subtitles like AVATAR, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, the STAR WARS sextet, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, DISTRICT 9, or films with all subtitles like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Heck, even the first TRANSFORMERS movie had some subtitles in it!

Like I said, so far LES MISERABLES is doing quite well overseas, but I wonder if it will struggle in countries that are used to dubbing their films. Thank you again to everyone who answered my inquiry.
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Re: Les Miserables

Postby danfrank » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:20 pm

I don't know how reliable these folks are, but found this in a discussion on another website:

Will other singers using different languages be dubbed over this? Or are only subtitles applied?

Comment by JustAQuestion — Sunday December 23, 2012 @ 1:39am PST Reply to this post
Musicals are never dubbed, except for the spoken parts. Considered Les Miserábles is sung througout, it’ll only be subtitled.

Comment by Caio — Sunday December 23, 2012 @ 9:37am PST Reply to this post
Based on French trailers, songs were subtitled and the few spoken sentences were dubbed. so I guess it’ll be the same in the movie because it’d sound even more ridiculous if songs were dubbed, but I guess some moviegoers might be taken aback, the mainstream French audiences don’t like subtitles that much.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby Cinemanolis » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:34 pm

mlrg wrote:I feel very lucky because Portugal might Be the only country in europe where movies are not dubbed


Greece also uses only subtitles. Only the animated films are dubbed but these are usually released in both versions.

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Re: Les Miserables

Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:59 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
rolotomasi99 wrote:If they do not dub the singing, how will anyone know what is going on since the entire plot is sung?


Subtitles?


My point was that unlike in the U.S., many foreign countries just dub their films rather than use subtitles. I know Italiano has spoken about the high quality dubbing work you will see for Hollywood films in Italy. I was just wondering if they also dub the singing.

I know when I did study abroad in Italy, I wanted to watch a movie on the big screen where my limited Italian would not be a problem. I chose visually impressive films like HERO and SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. When I visited Spain, I watched a very good dubbing of DEAD MAN WALKING. Whoever was doing Susan Sarandon's dialogue was excellent. Her crying matched perfectly with Sarandon's facial expression. I was quite impressed.

I saw DOGVILLE, TAPE, and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE in Amsterdam, and they were all in English with Dutch subtitles. As mlrg said, Portugal also uses subtitles, but several European countries do not. I was just curious if their extensive dubbing includes singing songs, and if LES MISERABLES in particular would pose a problem.
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Re: Les Miserables

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:12 pm

rolotomasi99 wrote:If they do not dub the singing, how will anyone know what is going on since the entire plot is sung?


Well, I didn't really know what was going on anyway, and I've seen the stage musical many times. :P


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