20. Les Miserables: Part 3: Liberty, Sweet Liberty (A)
The trilogy concludes. The book has a tendency to lose Jean Valjean for long periods in the second half, and that's true of this part of the trilogy too; there's a good half hour at the beginning that he's basically not in. But Harry Baur gets some of his best scenes in the whole project toward the end. This a very strong conclusion, only limited by what I suspect was a concession to censors: Javert's suicide isn't shown, which loses a pretty significant moment. Charles Vanel's Javert remains too aloof throughout to really sell the moments leading up to it, either, though given the prevailing acting styles at the time that might have been way too over the top if they had tried, so who knows?
The production values for his hit their peak here, with an astonishingly good depiction of the June Rebellion, involving convincing city sets, huge crowds, and large numbers of soldiers and rebels. It still looks great today, and must have been even more remarkable at the time, compared to so many battle scenes. The film cuts down the post-battle conclusion in a way that works quite well, and avoids some of the more convoluted details.
Home Video: 13 (+1)