Les Misérables (1917 film)
|Directed by||Frank Lloyd|
|Produced by||William Fox|
|Screenplay by||Frank Lloyd and Marc Robbins|
|Based on||Les Misérables|
by Victor Hugo
|Starring||William Farnum, Hardee Kirkland, and George Moss|
|Distributed by||Standard Pictures|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
Les Misérables is one of many filmed versions of the Victor Hugo novel of the same name. It is a 1917 American silent film directed by Frank Lloyd, co-written by Lloyd and Marc Robbins, and produced by William Fox, released on December 3, 1917. It starred William Farnum, Hardee Kirkland, and George Moss.
Background and production
Even by the time this film was created in 1917, there had already been "at least a dozen" film adaptations of this Victor Hugo novel. Only a portion of the novel was included in the screenplay, but it included some of "the most famous" events, such as the story of the Bishop who gave Valjean his silver candlesticks in order to start a new life, and the street rebellion that was part of the French revolution.
William Farnum was "Fox's biggest male box-office attraction" when the movie was made, and had previously appeared in Lloyd's 1917 film adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
Jean Valjean is a French peasant who spends almost twenty years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, and then—when his "yellow passport" (given to him because of his status as a convicted criminal) makes it almost impossible to build a new life—he steals silverware from a kind Catholic Bishop who had given him a meal and a place to sleep. When the police find him with the silver they return him to the Bishop to confirm the theft, but the Bishop surprises Valjean by telling the police the silver had been a gift, and then adding his silver candlesticks, saying Valjean must have mistakenly left them behind because they were part of the gift. Valjean uses the money to start a new life under a new name, eventually becoming mayor of a small town, but police inspector Javert suspects Valjean, and works relentlessly to reveal his true identity and his past crimes.
- William Farnum as Jean Valjean
- Hardee Kirkland as Javert
- George Moss as the Bishop
- Gretchen Hartman as Fantine
- Jewel Carmen as Cosette
- Kittens Reichert as Cosette (child)
- Harry Spingler as Marius Pontmercy
- Edward Elcott and Mina Ross as the Thénardiers
- Anthony Phillips as Gavroche
- Dorothy Bernard as Éponine
Like many American films of the time, Les Misérables was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors cut the two intertitles "Why should you starve when you are young enough to attract me?" and "And you are still young to attract".
- theiapolis.com, retrieved August 31, 2012
- mtv.com, retrieved August 31, 2012
- "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 6 (12): 29. March 16, 1918.
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