Category Archives: Victor Hugo

Poem Found in My Drawers

I realize this poem is out of season. Found it on a slip of paper in one of my drawers today.

Explaining Only Ruins It

There’s probably something wrong
with the workings of my brain.

I’ve decided to eat antipasta,
while watching Lon Chaney
on the Sunday following Easter.
I’m not even Italian,
or Catholic.

I am a fan of Victor Hugo, though,
and I like Italian food,
so it seems appropriate.

There was a time we killed the King…

The song, Suddenly, from Les Miserables (2012) is up for an Academy Award. Some have claimed it is the only song which was added to the movie, and all the other songs in the movie were in the stage play.

However, my favorite new song from the movie is Gavroche’s. Technically, maybe it’s ‘just’ a new verse inserted into an old song, Look Down. But what a wonderful verse it is!

There was a time we killed the King;
We tried to change the world too fast.
Now we have got another King;
He is no better than the last.
This is the land that fought for liberty –
Now when we fight we fight for bread!
Here is the thing about equality –
Everyone’s equal when they’re dead.
Take your place!
Take your chance!
Vive la France! Vive la France!

I should write a lengthy review of the movie. However, for now I will give a short one:

Loved it.

Both thumbs up, along with the other 8 fingers, for a double high five.

Everything they added to the musical made the movie closer to the novel; everything they subtracted from the musical made for a better movie. The casting was excellent. The singing wasn’t stage musical quality, but the acting was great. It’s a movie, not a stage musical. Those who go expecting a Boadway musical movie in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein tradition will be disappointed. However, those who originally went to the stage play expecting Rodgers and Hammerstein were also disappointed. Rodgers and Hammerstein are dead. (They have been dead for over 30 years. It’s time to move on, don’t you think?)

Is it possible?

Is it possible I haven’t seen a production of Les Miserables in over 6 years? Perhaps. That will be corrected soon.

It’s possible I have seen it, but the traveling show didn’t change Gavroche’s death scene like the Broadway revival apparently did. In which case I won’t hear Ten Little Bullets later this month.

I’m surprised it’s taken me six years to find this out, however, I was always more obsessed with the novel and author than the musical. However, I’ve long appreciated Fenton’s original lyrics, and agree with the linked commentary that I’d love to see what else he wrote for Act I before he got fired by Cameron Mackintosh for not meeting deadline.

I’ve wanted to applaud Fenton’s lyrics for “You” (also included in the link) for the social content, ever since I first read them in Behr’s “Complete Book of Les Miserables” years ago. However, I fear the lyrics would be above Gavroche’s comprehension. Putting the words of an adult into a kid’s mouth – it’s a problem I have at times had in my own writing, but I don’t think to this degree.

Addendum: Apparently Fenton’s agent worked out a clause in his contract so that if his lyrics weren’t used, he would still receive 0.5% of the box office receipts. So, even though none of his lyrics were used until the 2006 revival, he became wealthy. (In the first decade, Les Miz grossed 600 million pounds. 0.5% would have been 3 million.)