Saturday, December 21, 2013

Les Miserables the Movie: Nearly One Year Anniversary

Ah Les Miz, it seems like only yesterday I was anticipating you the way I once anticipated gifts from Santa.  Then you arrived and all was well.  Then you came out on DVD, and I watched you more times than was probably good for me.

Since then, things have been a little quiet.  A new Broadway production of the stage play is set to open in 2014, and I hope to be able to see it.  However, there has been no mention of an extended cut.  Hopefully Hooper and company will produce one for the 30th Anniversary just two years away.

So in honor of Les Miz's release a year ago, and to relive the excitement of those days, have a look at the series that chronicled the film's journey:

Les Miz Is Coming!  Les Miz Is Coming!  "Yet for years, it remained a mystery as to whether the musical could ever be made into a decent screen adaptation.  After several aborted attempts, it looks as though they have finally succeeded."

Les Miserables the Movie Part One: Rumors "While it is true that another staple of the British Mega Musicals, Phantom of the Opera, premiered in 2004, its failure at the box office just made me less inclined to believe that Les Miz would ever reach the big screen." 

Les Miserables the Movie Part Two: But Can They Sing?! "So with that in mind, Les Miz entered the February 2012 rehearsal period with quite a tall order.  The actors would need to nail down their roles in rehearsal before entering a very tight three-month shooting schedule."

Les Miserables the Movie: In the Beginning, There Was a Concept Album "The concept album featured several tunes that are familiar to us today.  Some were so like their future versions that the English-language songs seem like mere translations; others were altered thematically and given to other characters; some were fleshed out, while others were dropped entirely."

Les Miserables the Movie: London Calling "The English-language version of Les Miserables opened at the RSC Barbican Theatre in 1985, then moved to the Palace Theatre a little more than two months later, where it would remain until 2004.  While the musical received tepid reviews, it was widely embraced by theatre goers, and the rest is musical juggernaut history."

Les Miserables the Movie: The Neon Lights of Broadway "The production then moved to Broadway in March of 1987.  It's not clear to me exactly when they occurred, but by the time Les Miz arrived on Broadway, it had undergone several changes."

Les Miserables the Movie: The Most Complete Recording, But the Best? "Overall, the Complete Symphonic Recording is a bit of a mixed bag.  The bag contains mostly treats, but now and then, you come across a lump of coal.  Most of this is due to the singers cast in the roles."

Les Miserables the Movie: And We Have Trailer! "Overall, I really liked it, and it's making me more excited to see the movie (if that were even possible)."

Les Miserables the Movie: Maguire v. Warlow and the Role of Enjolras "How did this unofficial rivalry between Maguire and Warlow spring up?  Part of it could be because they were both a smash in the role, but you could say that about other performers as well."

Les Miserables the Movie: The 10th Anniversary "Dream Cast" "The lighting was mostly a somber, dignified blue, and even the projection screens in back seemed modest.  And yet despite its limitations, the 10th Anniversary Concert, alternately known as the "Dream Cast," ranks as many people's favorite recording."

Les Miserables the Movie: A New Tour and a New Look "While the Tour CD is hardly flawless, it still has a lot of positives and deserves to be viewed on its own terms.  Since the 25th Anniversary Tour predates the concert, having launched in December 2009, I will look at it first."

Les Miserables the Movie: The Concert That Launched a Thousand Careers! "The 25th Anniversary Concert was meant to be "cinematic" from the start.  Instead of one concert, there were two, with the evening concert being aired in cinemas all over the world.  Those who attended the live event were part of a sellout crowd of 32,000."

Les Miserables the Movie: All I Want for Christmas Is... "But the biggest problem is that the combined information release has made it really difficult to make a "Ten Things I Really Want to See in the Les Miz Movie" list.  But here goes anyway."

Les Miserables the Movie: Finally, the Big Show! "I will confess, though, that the journey to "This was great!" was not a smooth one.  In the first half hour, I found myself wincing and cringing quite a lot, wondering if maybe the critical naysayers had a point."

Les Miserables the Movie: Five Things They Should Have Left Alone, and the Five Best Cuts "I still think that "The Attack on the Rue Plumet" is horribly butchered.  I also didn't warm to Russell Crowe's vocals, but the only parts where I would say he's really bad are the introduction scene with Valjean/Monsieur Madeleine and the "Runaway Cart" scene."

Les Miserables the Movie: Why the Hate?  "Yet those who hate the movie have been very vocal about their hatred.  From their outbursts, you would have thought that watching cats get vivisected for two hours was more worth their while."

Les Miserables the Movie: Notes on the Oscars "Anyone think the only reason the "movie musical medley" was formed was so there would be an excuse for the Les Miz cast to sing "One Day More"?  They wouldn't have been able to otherwise, since "One Day More" would never qualify for best original song.  Man, if it did, though, it would have blown "Skyfall" out of the water."

Les Miserables the Movie: Impressions of the DVD Release "In some ways, I wish that Universal had waited a little longer, because the movie was still doing pretty well at the box office (better than expected) and given another month or two, it might have overtaken Chicago and even Grease to become the highest-grossing musical in the United States."

Happy holidays, everyone!

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