Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 28th September, 2013
Oh, how musicals divide us! Some of us love them, some of us hate them... and some of us don’t quite know what to make of them - especially when they’re as quirkily made as this one. This is a film based on a stage show based on a play based on a book. All the previous incarnations were incredibly successful. The novel, written by Victor Hugo in 1862, was a best seller in many lands and in many languages. Hugo’s text is regarded as a great humanitarian work that encourages compassion and hope in the face of adversity and injustice. The musical version originally appeared in 1985 as a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and impresario Cameron Mackintosh - it continues in the West End, on tour and on stage throughout the world. When the movie was proposed it was widely expected that it would be a glossily made and star studded extravaganza - a faithful, OTT, big screen version of the stage show.... but then Tom Hooper got involved. Mr Hooper, an experienced TV director, came fresh from his first big screen success in the form of “The King’s Speech” and Mr Hooper had his own ideas. To start with he didn’t cast singers in the leads. Instead he chose singing actors (as well as some who hadn’t done singing at all). His second decision was to make his actors sing throughout - making it more of an opera than a musical. The success or otherwise of this approach has been the subject of much debate - you will doubtless make up your own minds as you watch tonight’s show. What can be said without pre-judging is that there has been nothing like this attempted ever before and that Mr Hooper is a brave man to tackle a “national treasure” in this very bold and imaginative way.