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VICTOR HUGO'S TIMELESS CLASSIC ON BLU RAY
on December 16, 2012
If Victor Hugo were alive today he would be a multi-millionaire considering how many times his most famous novel has been filmed by Hollywood over the years. It took him 17 years to write the novel and it's still in print so he would also have a steady income. Overall I think he would have liked all the film versions of "Les Miserables" going all the way back to the earliest known silent version released by the Fox Film Co in 1919. There have been many film versions since, both English and French productions. I've always liked this 1998 version starring Liam Neeson(Jean Valjean) and Geoffrey Rush(Inspector Javert) ever since I saw it during it's original release in the theatre. I was hoping that it would someday be released on blu ray and got my wish earliar this week. I can only assume it's because of the new musical version that's hitting the theatres with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in the leads. I have both the 1935 and 1952 B&W versions that 20th Century-Fox released a number of years ago and have seen the current Broadway musical twice so I'm very familar with the story. I won't go over it but it's the ultimate story of redemption, faith and love which is something that everyone needs in these troubled times. Those themes are certainly brought out in this beautifully restored blu ray film directed by Bille August. Jorgen Persson's cinematography looks stunning on blu ray(aspect ratio: 2.40.1) and the Paris and Czech Republic locations have never looked better. The audio is superb too. The folks at Sony deserve a lot of credit for making this blu ray pop off the screen. The principle actors(Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes) give some of the best performances of their careers. The scenes between Neeson and Thurman's characters are both touching and heartwrenching. I've always thought that this was Uma Thurman's best performance and seeing it again after all these years only confirms that. Neeson's scenes with the young Clare Danes are equally touching and he more than holds his own whenever he and Rush on screen together. Geoffrey Rush's unsympathetic portrait of Javert will send chills down your spine. This version is 134 mins long and contains the following subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish. Audio is: English, French(PAR), Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese Dolby Surround. There are no special features except the original trailer. This Sony blu ray release gets my highest recommendation.