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A character guide for the Louis XIV BBC Two series.
Season one of Louis XIV drama 'Versailles' starring George Blagden has got off to a shocking start. The period genre has officially reached new levels of decadence with this French drama; far from 'Downton Abbey', this is a tale of sexual indulgence, racial controversy, national rebellion and really bad menswear.
[L-R] Elisa Lasowski, George Blagden, Anna Brewster and Noemie Schmidt in 'Versailles'
George Blagden of 'Vikings' fame plays the famous French king, responsible for the erection of the Palace of Versailles in 1682; a move prompted by his increasing discomfort with his court being based in busy Paris. Indeed, there's a freedom that comes with the more rural town, allowing him to indulge in the pleasurable company of his many mistresses, as well as his wife Maria Theresa of Spain, but also - perhaps more importantly given the instability of the monarchical future - to keep an unwavering eye on his potentially mutinous courtiers.
Continue reading: Who Joins George Blagden In Scandalous Period Drama 'Versailles'?
Starting at full-emotion and never wavering for a moment, this huge movie adaptation of the long-running stage musical wears us out with its relentlessly epic approach. OK, so neither the musical nor Victor Hugo's source novel could be accused of being understated, but director Hooper (The King's Speech) never even tries to find a moment of quiet feeling here. The result is thrillingly moving, making the most of the soaring anthems that fill the show. But it's also pretty overwhelming.
The story starts in 1815 as convict Jean Valjean (Jackman) finishes 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. His parole officer Javert (Crowe) vows to keep an eye on him, but Valjean slips away and, after a redemptive encounter with a priest, eventually reinvents himself as an upstanding businessman. He tries to help fallen woman Fantine (Hathaway), rescuing her daughter Cosette (Allen, then Seyfried) from her greedy foster parents (Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter). Years later, Valjean and Cosette move to Paris, where a young revolutionary (Redmayne) falls for Cosette just as the 1832 student uprisings break out. And Javert is still determined to recapture Valjean.
Hooper maintains the play's operatic style, in which the dialog is sung-through in between the big numbers. And we're talking about massively emotional power ballads here, performed to wrenching effect. Hathaway's one-take rendition of I Dreamed a Dream is the kind of breathtaking scene that wins Oscars. Jackman's voice wavers and cracks beautifully as he holds the story together. Marks delivers a belting version of the soulful On My Own. Redmayne nearly steals the show with his soaring tenor voice and wonderful acting chops. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter provide some raucously overwrought comical relief. And Crowe gets away with Javert's big musical moments because he has the acting power to back up his oddly thin voice.
Continue reading: Les Miserables Review
The all-star cast for 'Les Miserables' arrive on the red carpet at the New York premiere. Among them were Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman with his actress wife Deborra-lee Furness, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Sacha Baron Cohen, George Blagden, Samantha Barks and newcomers Isabelle Allen and Daniel Huttlestone.
Jean Valjean was imprisoned in France's Toulin prison for over a decade after stealing a loaf of bread and making several escape attempts. After being paroled, Jean (known as Prisoner 24601) finds himself re-offending and therefore on the run from the uncompromising police inspector Javert who is thoroughly determined to get him back behind bars no matter what. Changing his identity, Jean finds himself at the heart of a revolution known as the June Rebellion in 1832 Paris. Jean eventually becomes a town mayor, while still evading capture, and meets the impoverished Fantine who struggles to care for her illegitimate daughter Cosette. Jean agrees become the child's guardian and brings her up.
Continue: Les Miserables Trailer
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