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Author Topic: Les Misérables - Singing its way to a Screen Near You [Spoiler]  (Read 4681 times)

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October 05, 2012, 10:34:29 PM

Evreka

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As wordsaremagic told us about in the News post, Les Misérables, as the new movie is currently in post production and is slated for release from Christmas Day 2012 and forwards over the world.

This is the first time, according to the trailer, that a musical movie have recorded the singing at the same time as the action,  giving the actors more freedom in how they choose to sing each song. See the official web site: http://www.lesmiserablesfilm.com/

Are you looking forward to seeing it? Do you think it will be different because it was shot in this new way? Have you come across the story before, by book or by musical?

Let's hear your thoughts on this!  :)
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 12:23:03 PM by atschpe »


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October 06, 2012, 03:51:32 AM
Reply #1

Armoracia

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O.M.G.

*gulps*

That is one intense trailer.

This is, by far, my favorite of the "modern" musicals (musicals from the past 30 years or so). This music touches deep into my soul. In a sense, it reminds me of HP - there are some real comedy moments in it, but it is actually a tragedy on many levels. I've seen the stage version and the DVD concertized anniversary versions as well - and they never fail to blow me away. I didn't know they were making a movie, but as much as I love Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackson (well, ok, hugh jackson's bod), I probably would have shied away from the movie version, since they are rarely as good as the stage version.

Until I saw that Cameron Mackintosh was involved. AND that they were not pre-recording the music. Yes, I think that is going to make a tremendous difference to the film. I don't think you can overstate how revolutionary that is likely to be.

Now, I just have to see if I can talk my parents into going to see it when I'm home over Christmas!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 03:53:46 AM by Armoracia »
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October 06, 2012, 04:00:18 PM
Reply #2

Evreka

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I love musicals and have seen quite a few, some of them several times, but there is no one else that really hogs me like Les Misérables does.  :)

It is that rare thing of a mostly tragic story, intermingled with laughter, and all about what is the right thing to do. Different characters have very different views on what is right and wrong, which makes it interesting and enthralling. There is war and dare and love and hope, and the Thénardiers to add comic to the procedure. Add wonderful music, and, to me, this is a hit like no other.  :)

And I've never made the connection, but I do agree with Armoracia, that this include many of the traits (for want of a better word) of the Harry Potter Saga. Love is a strong theme in both, but it goes much further, into the depths of setting a moral tone to a story, without it becoming the central theme, more something that you can't help but take with you after the final note has clung out (or, in the case of HP, when the last page is turned).

I've now seen it thrice on stages, first in Stockholm in 1990, where it was staged by the people who was behind a London version that had run just previously. I loved the show and it went directly to my heart, as did the music. The light was beautiful, the costumes as well, and the story....! It's lived in my heart for two decades, and is still there in parts. Last autumn I saw it in Malmö (other Swedish city), and though many thought it was a great show I didn't like either the scenography or lighting or even some of the acting. It was set up with a minimalistic approach to the scenes, and I missed the grandeur and beauty from 1990.

Then this spring, I saw it in London, and the show just swept me in. I loved it immensely and had thought that I wouldn't see it again in quite some time to not risk loosing this memory of how it was done in London. This film, however, has really challenged that approach of mine. And I do think I'll see it. :)


« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 04:01:59 PM by Evreka »
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October 10, 2012, 12:47:07 PM
Reply #3

atschpe

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Then this spring, I saw it in London, and the show just swept me in. I loved it immensely and had thought that I wouldn't see it again in quite some time to not risk loosing this memory of how it was done in London. This film, however, has really challenged that approach of mine. And I do think I'll see it. :)

Yes the London staging it truly wonderful – and yet it has it minimalistic set up to (the the houses becoming the barracade by a very smybolic tipping and jumbling up of the various set pieces). Granted I do not have your fortunate background of having seen it thrice – the concert version (25th Anniversary I think) on film and then London a few years ago.

I quite agree that it stays with you. Whether it is the story, the scenery, the acting, the costumes – everyone I know is "hit" by it on some level – even though it is operatic in length and theme. For me it was the music (shocker, a musician taken to the musical angle?). The score is so well done, a wonderful mix of catchy tunes for the ley ear to deep going symbology for the music buff. And not to forget the great work of the lyricist, taking music that was composed to French texts and making it sound just as easy flowing and genuine with the translated English texts.

It will be very interesting to see how they translate it to screen. I have seen one or two film adaptions of the book (i.e. same story but without the songs etc.) which was impressive, though me being me I couldn't help thinking of the musical backdrop to key scenes. I hope they don't go all "hollywood" on it, overlaying it with special effects. One of the beauties of the musical is it's thread bare approach.
"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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October 10, 2012, 02:22:02 PM
Reply #4

CallMeSeverus

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First, apologies... I just moved and haven't had internet service connected at my new place yet, so I am sending this from my phone!  :o

Second, I don't think I can describe how excited I am about this movie! It is one of my favorite musicals of all time and I am so thrilled about the casting choices! Hugh Jackman seems to have found his niche in the Broadway musical, Anne Hathaway has grown so much as an actor over the last several years, and Russell Crowe! (*sigh... Russell) Wow! The first announcement I had heard about this movie being made was when I heard Russell was going to be playing the part of Javert and I think I squealed a little!  ;) I should be head of some geeky Russell Crowe Fan Club... lol!

Anyway, my main point was to talk about the process of making the movie and how incredible it will be to watch a musical using the technique of recording the voices WHILE FILMING THE MOVIE! This is fantastic! This is how it SHOULD be! I know that when actors are moving around, involved in the choreography and blocking of a scene, it is difficult to keep the voice smooth and "pretty" and not run out of breath, and so movie-makers have opted for the pre-recorded soundtrack. But this takes so much away from the actors' performances! These soundtracks are recorded first... maybe months before the actor is on set. He/she must make decisions about their character, about how they want the scene to play out, often before they've even MET the other actors! Then when they are filming the action, the other actors in the scene will be making their contributions based on their decisions for their characters, and everyone is sort of "stuck" with what they recorded months before! To record the soundtrack IN THE MOMENT is an incredible opportunity for an actor! He/she can get "lost" in the character and give a much more realistic performance without worrying whether or not the lip-sync will match up!

So, the answer is YES! I think it will make a HUGE impact on how well the movie is is done and I cannot wait!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 02:25:21 PM by CallMeSeverus »
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October 10, 2012, 09:09:12 PM
Reply #5

Evreka

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Anyway, my main point was to talk about the process of making the movie and how incredible it will be to watch a musical using the technique of recording the voices WHILE FILMING THE MOVIE! This is fantastic! This is how it SHOULD be! I know that when actors are moving around, involved in the choreography and blocking of a scene, it is difficult to keep the voice smooth and "pretty" and not run out of breath, and so movie-makers have opted for the pre-recorded soundtrack. But this takes so much away from the actors' performances! These soundtracks are recorded first... maybe months before the actor is on set. He/she must make decisions about their character, about how they want the scene to play out, often before they've even MET the other actors! Then when they are filming the action, the other actors in the scene will be making their contributions based on their decisions for their characters, and everyone is sort of "stuck" with what they recorded months before! To record the soundtrack IN THE MOMENT is an incredible opportunity for an actor! He/she can get "lost" in the character and give a much more realistic performance without worrying whether or not the lip-sync will match up!
There was an alternative to this approach tested a few years ago, in Mamma Mia! The Movie. There the acting was, if I remember correctly, done first, and in quite a few scenes the actors were singing while it was shot. Then they recorded the tracks in a studio as well, so the movie that came to theatres had partly studio tracks and partly live action singing. The director, Phyllida Lloyd wasn't telling which part of the movie has what kind of singing or to how high degree the tracks were recorded live. But it seems to have been a first stab on the road to capturing sound and actions together. And that movie is great, IMO. (Although the musical is better.)
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October 10, 2012, 09:39:12 PM
Reply #6

CallMeSeverus

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I do like that movie (haven't seen the musical)...
From an acting point of view, I think it's wonderful... I'm sure there will be vocal people that will want to pick apart the soundtrack because it won't be perfect and polished, but I'm okay with it! I think it will feel more like watching a live theatrical presentation of the musical rather than a Hollywoodized version of a classic!
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October 25, 2012, 09:37:32 PM
Reply #7

atschpe

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I agree about the acted recording of the singing bringing an extra dimension. Yes, a good singer can recreate the body feel of posture and interaction, but they still are not in that moment with all it's unique chemistry and feel. Even the sound is slightly different depending on reflection, if the head is turned just a bit. I am always muttering about dubbed movies as you lose the ambience in the voice and though recorded singing is of higher quality I do believe that it too lose a bit of the ambience. Now, to get the instrumentalists also performing at the same time, and my dream of alround interaction would be complete *happy sigh*
"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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October 26, 2012, 09:34:30 PM
Reply #8

Evreka

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There is a new trailer, showing more bits from the film here now.
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October 27, 2012, 05:31:02 AM
Reply #9

HealerOne

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After viewing the trailer, I am very excited to see this film. I remember way back (!) when My Fair Lady came out and I had this 'cheated feeling' from the music. Same with Camelot. I mean I enjoy the movies, but it is not like a live performance. I have seen Les Misérables on stage in London and the depth of the experience was fabulous. I love the feeling of a live performance so I hope this film will give that. Cross fingers.   
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November 08, 2012, 07:52:41 PM
Reply #10

bemused

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I am really looking forward to this.  I came very late to the musical, and having known it only by soundtrack CD and the DVDs of the two anniversary concerts, finally managed to see it onstage in London this summer.  It's mindblowing. The music, the staging - but most of all the way it manages to be uplifting despite the fact that the story's pretty grim and nearly everyone dies.

I've wondered how it would translate to film.  After all, one of the things that gives it that wonderful, triumphant, hopeful end is past of the magic of the stage. You've seen them die, but they're 'walking again in freedom' at the end, singing their hearts out.  I'm curious to see how they can translate that to film.  But the trailer looks superb.

As for the decision to record the singing while they film - that's brave. And exciting. If it works, it should give it some of the immediacy of a stage performance - make it all a bit more real.
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November 10, 2012, 11:54:09 AM
Reply #11

atschpe

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Yes it looks very good. I love that you can recognise little bits form the stage production yet it is still not a copy of it.

I only just saw that Bonham Carter is playing Mrs. Thérnandier. I'm looking forward to see how she brings that character alive. Interesting that they focus on the more heart-string-tugging aspects in the trailer and haven't given glimpses of the lighter moments. I wonder if they will keep that up or give some of that in the next trailer …
"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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November 12, 2012, 01:08:13 PM
Reply #12

CallMeSeverus

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Re: "Mamma Mia"... yes, there have been a few movies where a song or two (or more) have been recorded from what the actor did onscreen... I remember in the movie "Annie" (1982?) there's a scene where Annie sings Tomorrow for the president and they used the actresses' "live performance" in the movie and on the soundtrack.
This ("Les Miz") will be the first time that ALL the songs will be done that way... and there are SO MANY songs in this show! I mean, it's almost entirely singing! I'm so excited to see how it will all turn out!

On a side note... the non-musical version with Liam Neeson was on tv yesterday, and I kept picturing Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe and singing the songs that went with the different scenes!
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December 19, 2012, 12:17:54 AM
Reply #13

wordsaremagic

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January 02, 2013, 03:04:15 PM
Reply #14

atschpe

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Thanks for the link, Wordsaremagic. To me it sounds like the reviewer has more a bone to pick with the operatic musical approach, than the film. They'd be just as unhappy sitting through the stage performance, by the looks of the comments made.

The snippets I have heard now from the flim, show me that they less tried to reproduce what has been done on stage, but allowed the actors to work the music as they can. If the actor does not have the strength to hold long notes then an interpretation is favoured that allows then to maximise on the score with accentuated breaks in the melodic line. I will have to see/hear more to fully say "it works", yet I love that they are not just taking a carbon copy approach, but rather dare to reinterpret the work.
"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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January 05, 2013, 08:52:59 PM
Reply #15

JaneMarple9

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I don't go to the cinema very often, and when I do, I need someone to go along with me, however I really want to see the film.
I've loved the musical of it - the cd versions and the dvd versions (the 10th anniversary and the 25th anniversary concerts) for many years and find the some of the songs inspirational. It's by far my favourite musical and I look forward how it appears on the big screen :)

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January 09, 2013, 03:11:28 AM
Reply #16

Armoracia

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I know that my Brit friends are still waiting (some quite anxiously!) to see this film, so I won't spoil here except to say....Go.

I loved it - much more than I was expecting to, as i love the stage version so much. Even my dad - who NEVER says this! - has declared that he wants to see it again.

Can't wait to hear all of your reactions and discuss it in a bit more depth!
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February 07, 2013, 01:35:00 PM
Reply #17

Hermione P

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The South Korean Air Force has made a parody of Les Misérables to raise morale among its soldiers who are busy clearing snow.

http://youtu.be/lZunEARBb6I

The page in in Korean, but the video is in Korean with English subtitles.

A tweet by a Korean fan containing the link was retweeted by Russell Crowe. As a Singaporean replied to the repost by one of the Singapore TV channels, it's "kinda funny". Enjoy!
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February 07, 2013, 08:34:43 PM
Reply #18

Evreka

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The South Korean Air Force has made a parody of Les Misérables to raise morale among its soldiers who are busy clearing snow.

http://youtu.be/lZunEARBb6I

The page in in Korean, but the video is in Korean with English subtitles.

A tweet by a Korean fan containing the link was retweeted by Russell Crowe. As a Singaporean replied to the repost by one of the Singapore TV channels, it's "kinda funny". Enjoy!

Thanks for the link! It was funny! :)

I still haven't seen the movie, though I think it is now showing in theatres here. I will go and see it though.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 08:36:34 PM by Evreka »
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February 07, 2013, 09:45:54 PM
Reply #19

Armoracia

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boy, HermioneP, that was TERRIFIC! I'm so glad you posted that link!

This one is just one song, but it is another, completely different kind of parody intended for "allergy sufferers" called One Grain More.
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