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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Different Versions Of Les Miserables

Most of my family (including me) is sick right now.  I'm not sick enough to be bedridden, but I'm too sick to really want to do anything productive :P  I've had this post idea knocking around in my head for a long time and I decided to do it today because 1) I don't feel like writing my novel, but I want to get something accomplished, 2) we're almost to Barricade Boys Week so this should get everyone in the right mood :) and 3) it's going to be an easy/quick post to write.


There are several different versions/adaptions of Les Miserables on Youtube, both musical and non-musical.  I'm going to be talking about four different musical versions (there are so many highschool productions out there - I only picked two...the best and the worst) and three different non-musical adaptions.  In order from worst to best (IMO)...
  • Blacklick High School - There are so many bad points about this, I can't even think of a good one.  Everyone's singing is wretched, the orchestra is even worse (after Javert's 'There's no way to go on', there is no emphatic music).  I'll be talking more about their version of Red & Black during Barricade Boys Week, but let's just say it's less than inspiring.  At best.  Marius is the worst singer.  I seriously think 'Empty Chairs' was three minutes of torture for the audience.  Rating - 1/10
  • Les Miserables 1957 - At three hours and forty minutes, this is easily the longest version of Les Mis (besides the miniseries).  Terrible casting, horrible acting, just overall leaving you with a sense of 'ugh'. There are a few good points, though.  It's quite accurate to the brick (with that length, it should be!), Thenardier is actually pretty good casting (although, really, who cares?) and Marius is the closest to Marius-in-my-head-when-I-read-the-brick.  Rating - 3/10
  • Les Miserables 1978 - I first watched this at my grandparents' house (it was the first non-musical version of the story I'd seen).  Its spends wayyyyyyy too much time on Valjean in prison...blah, blah, blah.  It dragged on and on until we got to 1832 where it zipped along to the end (at breakneck speed) - it ends at Marius and Cosette's wedding.  The only thing that made it higher than the 1957 version is Enjolras.  When he came on, I sat up and took notice.  Even though he only has a teeny part (and a fake French accent), he was pretty epic.  Which is big praise from me :)  Rating - 4/10
  • Lincoln High School (Act I & Act 2) - Best. highschool. production. EVAH.  I'm not kidding.  It's fantastic.  Enjolras and Valjean are the two highlights.  Enjolras is one of the best musical Enjolrai I've ever seen and Valjean's version of BHH never falls to blow me away.  Eponine's great (boy, can she belt!), Cosette and Fantine are both good as well and the ensemble is (the orchestra is great, too).  Drink With Me (the ensemble/echo part) is gorgeous.  As good as the 25th DWM.  Now, the downside is - Marius is almost as bad as Nick Jonas and Javert is...meh.  But overall, it's an amazing production.  Rating - 7 and a half/10
  • Les Miserables 2000 (miniseries) - This is without a doubt the best, non-musical version of Les Mis.  Even though Valjean is so-so, Javert is a creeper, Marius is a creeper, Enjolras is blah and totally out of character (okay...he talks about hiding if things go down in the revolution and hanging out with girls - WHAAAAAAT?!) and it doesn't follow the brick as much as I would like.  But.  Fantine is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. (almost as good as Anne Hathaway) - one thing I liked it that it showed some of her backstory :)  Eponine is the most brick accurate Eponine, ever, Gavroche is awesome and Cosette is great.  And the Thenardiers are pretty good as well.  Now, it's all in French, but the person who uploaded it on Youtube put English subtitles for all the episodes...go for it!  Rating - 8/10
  • 25th Anniversary Concert - YES.  The 25thAC is back on Youtube!  I'm sure you all know about its pros and cons but for those of you who don't...everyone except Marius is good.  At least to some degree.  The end.  Rating - 9/10
  • 10th Anniversary Concert - The one version of Les Mis that everyone knows about.  The one that really started the fandom up.  The Dream Cast In Concert.  In this one, everyone is good.  At least to some degree (the slightly less inspiring ones, IMO, are Fantine, Enjolras and Cosette).  However, I basically have nothing bad to say about this one.  It has been, and always will be, my favorite Les Mis.  Rating 10/10
Have you seen any of these versions?  Do you plan on watching any of them?


Anonymous said...

Ooooh.... I'll have to watch ALL of these. : D

One question, though.... Is the reason the 2012 version isn't on the list because of the fact that it's not entirely on YouTube????


Eva said...

Yup, that's why I didn't have it in the list (well, technically, it *is* on Youtube, but you have to pay to watch it). I sort of didn't want to leave it off 'cause it is iconic in its own right. And I would give it a nine and a half out of ten - just a little lower than the 10th :)

Scullery Maid said...

I've seen the 2000 version, and (of course) the 10th anniversary, I'll have to check out the other ones. I really liked the 2000 one because, (A)it was in French, and I'm starting to learn French, so it was really fun when I could recognize a word or two, (B)it was Les Mis, and it goes against my principles to dislike any version of Les Mis without a very very VERY good reason, and (C)the Gavroche was ADORABLE! (vive la revolution, vive Paris! Vive myself!). I loved how they kept in his little song from the brick.
And now I'm off to spend several hours on youtube;)
~Chloe Cruz

Miss Jane Bennet said...

Sigh...they took off the 25thAC this morning. :(

Eva said...


Oh, well, I guess it's time for me to finally give up and buy my own copy of it :P

Miss Jane Bennet said...

I need to as well...I don't own anything Les Mis-related except the CSR. I'm hoping to get the 10th, the 25th and the movie all in one package soon though. :)

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