Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This mammoth French adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables was originally released at 20 reels, running approximately 4 1/2 hours. It is the familiar story of the hapless Jean Valjean (M. Bagriel Gabrio), who after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family is sentenced to twenty years at hard labor. Even after his release, Valjean is hounded by relentless parole officer Javert (Jean Toulout). Given a new lease on life by a compassionate priest, Valjean adopts an alias and starts life anew, becoming a prosperous provincial businessman -- only to have his livelihood threatened by Javert, who has vowed to pursue Valjean to the ends of the earth for violating his parole. And so it goes, with a colorful and ever-growing cast of supporting characters fleshing out Valjean's tale of woe. Doggedly faithful to the Victor Hugo original (which is more than can be said for most subsequent versions), Les Miserables was distributed in the U.S. by Universal, who released the film in a truncated three-hour version after abandoning plans to divide the picture into two parts, to be run on consecutive evenings.
going-straight, imprisonment, love, police, priest, redemption, robbery