powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
The title card of this film reads: "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Victor Hugo's Les Miserables." The working title of the film was Jean Valjean. On July 20, 1951, Los Angeles Examiner reported that Jeff Chandler would be starring as "Jean Valjean" and James Mason would play "Javert." According to August 1951 conference notes contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Mason refused the role, and producer Darryl F. Zanuck suggested Orson Welles for Javert. Zanuck also suggested that along with Lewis Milestone, Henry King and Roy Baker be considered to direct the picture.
Although contemporary reviews include Patsy Weil as "Cosette at age seven" in the cast, her part was cut from the finished film. Hollywood Reporter news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Max Wagner, John Raven, Howard Davis, Emmett "Kid" Wagner, Michael Tellegen, Harry Mayo, Kit Carson and Nick Thompson.
On December 22, 1952, Robert Newton and Debra Paget reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story, which starred Ronald Colman as Valjean. There have been many film versions of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, including a four-part series produced by Vitagraph in 1909; a 1917 Fox Film Corp. production directed by Frank Lloyd and starring William Farnum (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20); a 1934 French production starring Harry Baur and Charles Vanel and directed by Raymond Bernard; a 1935 20th Century Pictures production directed by Richard Boleslawski and starring Fredric March and Charles Laughton (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40); a 1944 Mexican production directed by Fernando Rivero and starring Dominugo Soler and Antonio Bravo; a 1978 television film starring Richard Jordan and Anthony Perkins; a 1995 French production directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Philippe Khorsand; and a 1998 TriStar production starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush and directed by Bille August.
In 1941, Twentieth Century-Fox announced that it would produce a version of the story starring Laird Cregar and Linda Darnell and directed by John Brahm, but that production was never completed. A musical based on the novel, with French text by Alain Boubil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and music by Claude-Michel Schnberg, opened in Paris in 1980. The popular English-language version of the musical, with lyrics by Boubil, Natel, Herbert Kretzmer, Trevor Nunn and John Caird, had its U.S. premiere in Washington, D.C. on December 20, 1986.