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Les Misérables (1935) Poster

Trivia

Florence Eldridge, who plays Fantine, was Fredric March's wife in real life. They were married from 1927 until March's death in 1975.
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This is one of only five properties that have had two different adaptations of the same material both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film. This adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel stands alongside Les Misérables (2012). The other pairings were Cleopatra (1934)/Cleopatra (1963), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)/Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), Moulin Rouge (1952)/Moulin Rouge(2001) and Romeo and Juliet (1936)/Romeo and Juliet (1968). The 1935 version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" was the only one of these nominees to win.
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There are numerous changes to the novel, including: reducing Valjean's prison term to 10 years (1800-1810) instead of 19 (1796-1815), abridging the ordeals of Fantine (probably to conform to Hays Office Code), having Cosette learn Valjean's true identity at the start, changing the backstory of Eponine from street urchin to secretary, and stating the students' goal to be law reform rather than overthrow of the government. The streetwise little boy Gavroche, a popular character from the novel, is not shown at all.
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The last film 20th Century Pictures made before it merged with the Fox Film Corporation to form 20th Century-Fox.
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Part of the 1832 riots scenes had to be reshot, because some of the extras who played rioters could be seen chewing gum in the dailies.
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This was Fox's production head Darryl F. Zanuck's attempt to beat MGM at its own game. MGM had scored several successes with adaptations of literary classics like David Copperfield (1935) and Little Women (1933) under the aegis of wunderkind producer David O. Selznick. This also afforded Zanuck the opportunity to provide his latest star, Fredric March, with a high-class production.
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This is one of the few versions to give Javert a first name: Émile.
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Charles Laughton had a banner year in 1935, with three of his films being box office successes and nominated for Best Film Academy Awards. Those films were this one, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).
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This was the first of two adaptations of the novel to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The second was Les Misérables (2012).
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