Since I cannot yet join the discussion about the movie musical, I thought I’d share something about the first attempt to make it in 1992.
Auf die Barrikaden pointed me to it and maybe some other people also noticed that some time ago, a first draft for a script was sold on ebay. And I got it…
I cannot say at which point Boublil and Schönberg wrote this script, but it’s definitely only a draft. It’s in English and the two were obviously not confident enough to write new English lyrics. Therefore, whenever they wanted existing lyrics changed, those lines are marked with an asterisk and the descriptions what kind of lyrics they would want at that place are described before or after.
There are bits about this draft I liked (quite a few that maybe also Tom Hooper liked, since it seems he might have taken them from this draft), others I hated. Boublil and Schönberg are quite obviously writers for the stage; some things they want in there would work on stage, but not in a movie (big gestures etc.). On the other hand, they seem to be in love with certain things that only movies would allow, like voice-overs, flashbacks and overlaying pictures.
A few things I liked:
-For the solo part of “Come with me”, Fantine is shown in a kind of blurry, light garden. When Valjean comes in, he is shown singing in the pictures of the hospital, with Fantine’s singing as VO, but the movie switches to Fantine’s “garden” a few times, where she is shown singing and Valjean is just a VO
-At the end of “Beggars at the feast”, the Thénardiers lead the dancers out, through the streets… and into the poor quarters, where no doubt about their fate is left.
-They included Fantine selling her teeth
-They included Valjean’s difficulties to get to Arras
-Javert comes to the mayor to ask for his dismissal because he denounced the mayor etc.
-Flashback to Valjean stealing that bread
-They use argot!
A few things I disliked:
-They obviously did not know what to do with either “What have I done?” or “Stars”
-Valjean has the lives of two soldiers and a horse on his conscience…
-Valjean has his number tattooed on his breast OR arm… Wrong prison, guys, and that’s absolutely not funny…
-They included Valjean’s difficulties to get to Arras, but exaggerated them beyond all willing suspension of disbelief
-Sometime between 1796 and 1815, Javert has a portrait of “King” Louis-Philippe in his office… And that from two French people…
-Valjean knocks Javert down with as much hatred as Liam Neeson
-They use argot wrong!
I have now finally had the time to digitalize the script and it is therefore now available for trading, if anybody is interested to know more.
Dark sarcasm ought to be taught at schools!