Les Misérables, A Brief History

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Les Miserables has been written and constantly rewritten from novel to musical to film, now for the second time. Everybody is getting anxious for the premier of the new Les Mis movie, which comes out in theaters on December 25th. You may ask why everybody is excited, for there have been many movies made in the past. This movie will be different. It will be based directly on the musical, and every song will be sung live while filming.

The Tony award-winning musical has become superbly popular over the years and has its own cult following since opening in London in 1985. Adding to its charm, Les Mis has thick historical and political roots as it is based in 1830 Revolutionary France around the time of the Battle of Waterloo.

With haunting melodies such as ‘Castle on a Cloud’ and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, Les Mis has become one of the most beloved musicals.

Les Mis revolves around Jean Valjean.  He is released after being imprisoned for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread.  Upon his release he meets a Bishop who helps him out of the goodness of his heart. Jean tries to steal from him, but the Bishop forgives him and inspires him to become a better person.

Years later he has assumed a brand new identity as Montreuil-sur-Mer, a wealthy factory owner and mayor. Regardless, a suspicious police officer named Javert is determined to ruin him.

One of the mayor’s workers, Fantine, is caught and reprimanded by over lookers for sending money to an illegitimate daughter, Cosette. The mayor saves Fantine and vows to retrieve her daughter. The story follows Jean’s pursuits to take care of Cosette while simultaneously running from Javert.

Along with the musical that is still running today in London, and ran on Broadway from 1987 to 2003, making it the third-longest running, Les Mis has been made into a few Hollywood movies, the most notable in 1998, which starred Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes. According to Box Office Mojo, it was number 4 in the box office on its opening weekend making about $5 million. The turnout for this upcoming film could easily beat that opening gross.

Though Les Mis is a dark story, the anticipation and word-of mouth about the new film has been spreading rapidly. It will undoubtedly be a record-breaking film, and Oscar-winning film what with the actors singing live during scenes and its strong cast. It packs a star-studded cast of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Eddie Redmayne and comes out in theaters December 24th at midnight.