Les Misérables – 8 Months Later

September 5, 2013 11:53 am

les miserablesLes Misérables was one of the big blockbusters of 2013 and before its release there was a lot of differing opinions about how successful the film would be. Musical lovers across the world almost unanimously give praise to the stage production of Les Mis but to convert such a popular and epic story in its musical form was something of a risk.

It wasn’t the first time a popular theatre production had been made into a film. The Phantom of the Opera starring Gerard Butler had been created years before but with little hype or success. Likewise, a non-musical version of the Les Misérables book was produced with a star studded cast but once again didn’t even compete with the success of the musical this year.

So what was it that made Les Mis so popular? Many of the critics’ reviews highlighted the raw emotion that came out through the singing from characters such as Fantine, Jean Valjean and Éponine. There were few who did not shed a tear in the classic rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ by Anne Hathaway. So why did this not come across in Phantom of the Opera or other recent music productions? The answer lies in the way the production of Les Mis was filmed.

Unusually the music was not pre-recorded and then inserted into the acting on set as with other films. It was, instead, filmed with the characters singing live as they acted. It would seem that this gave a more realistic and heart felt feel to the lyrics as we watched them on screen. It meant that the music, singing and notes were not perfect but it also made everything feel more real as if we, ourselves, were part of the production and personally being sung too by the characters.

Should we see future production of musicals, you can expect the same method to be used by producers and directors. Les Misérables blew its competition out the water and despite almost every musical lover critically analysing its every move, it managed to succeed where so far others have only failed.

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