Archive for Musicals.Net Musicals.Net
 


       Musicals.Net Forums -> Les Miserables
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

Which one would you cut?

Original topic on my idea at: http://musicals.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=74720

Alright, guys, so here's the deal. I've been seriously working up the treatment for Les Mis as a Disney cartoon (see above thread for background info). To my surprise, it's been working out better than I expected. With some cuts and restructuring, it can easily make a Disney cartoon. Obviously, this would be a bit more edgy, in the vein of 1996's Hunchback of Notre Dame, but the vast majority of the show (or at least the core, spirit, and tone of the show, to say nothing of huge portions of the score) would be preserved by doing this.

Currently, I envision the piece being a return to traditional Disney animation, with some cool hand-painted detail a la Beauty and the Beast or The Thief and the Cobbler. Even though it doesn't have a hope in hell of actually being made, I look at this as insurance for the day I need to sell a big project. Besides, Disney's run out of fairy tales to steal. Might as well tap into some more public domain lit. But to get to the point...

One of the biggest problems with adapting Les Mis is that there are too many redundant love ballads, sometimes right in the same scene (COUGH "In My Life" and "A Heart Full of Love" right on top of each other COUGH). Don't get me wrong, I understand that there's got to be at least one. Going back to such hits as "A Whole New World," "So This is Love," "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)," and even "Bella Notte," there's got to be at least one or two sappy love songs in there that you can turn into pop ballads, so even if the movie sucks, you still get a hit. I decided, who would know better which one should go than the Les Mis-loving masses?

So, you see the options above. Of the two, the one with the most votes will be cut; the one with the least votes will remain a song; and "Every Day," initially a third option in this poll, but removed and unable to be returned because of editing the bloody post (ridiculous!), will probably wind up becoming dialogue. The poll ends this Saturday, so vote, vote, vote!
Eppie-Sue

But, but, why would you want to cut another Cosette scene?! Both songs are so different! "In my life" is not a love ballad, it's vital for the relationship between Valjean and Cosette! And I don't really see that many "redundant love ballads" in Les Mis, to be honest. And "A heart full of love" is the only real duet. It's not even a duet as soon as Eponine comes in.
So the answer would be neither. None of them could be released as a "pop single", and that's the beauty of the score.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

Alright, let me rephrase this:

I do not want arguments in favor of cutting nothing. This is a music-heavy show being adapted into a kid's cartoon. Certain things will need to be cut and replaced with dialogue.

I want actual votes. Pick the one you like the least if you must. Comment whatever you wish, but actually pick something!

Kthnx.
l'ivrogne transfiguré

What exactly do you mean by cut? Do you mean cut completely, or replace by dialogue? I agree with Eppie-Sue that neither should be cut completely, and that "In My Life" isn't a love ballad. However, if what you are trying to acheive is a disney-style musical with songs interspersed by dialogue, then I would keep AHFOL sung, and turn 'In My Life' into dialogue, as it is much more that kind of a song, although it might be nice to keep Cosette's first bit as music, otherwise she'd just be talking to herself.

ETA: You posted just before me, so you've actually answered my question. Sorry about that.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

People! List whatever opinion you want, but actually vote or the poll is useless!
Eppie-Sue

Well, as long as it IS replaced with normal dialogue, I guess you would have to cut "In my life"... translating AHFOL into dialogue would make it awkward, the scene wouldn't work.
It would be an idea to still keep the "In my life" music (at least the transition from DYHTPS) in there, though, because it's beautiful. But, all in all, it's like asking to decide between "Red and Black" and "DYHTPS" - two completely different and important songs.

ETA: Well, excuse us for checking with you first before voting.
l'ivrogne transfiguré

I have voted - but remember this is a forum, and people like to discuss their opinions here.
kozafluitmusique

Neither! I'm serious. Both are essential to the show.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

But not to the cartoon. Pick the one you like least.
Eppie-Sue

Is it just me or is this becoming ridiculous?! I wish I never voted. If you want to make a cartoon based on the musical, then why don't you look into the subject and the songs instead of just ignoring the role they play in the storyline...!? What's all this about "Pick the one you like least" - they are totally different songs that are not interchangeable. Not in the musical, not in any kind of production and not in a cartoon.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

I offered "Pick the one you like the least" because she seems insistent that you can't lose a song when it's obvious that if it is expedient, and can be justified artistically, you can lose any song anywhere for any reason.
Elbow

"too many redundant love songs" ummm... really?
Pannic

Isn't Cossette underwritten as is?
Lauraa

I really don’t understand why you would need to cut either of them. Who is this cartoon aimed at? If it’s for kids then I kind of understand why you would want to lose one of the songs but I don’t think that Les Mis would really be the best thing for a really young audience. If your cartoon is aimed at older people, then I don’t think that there would be a problem with having IML and AHFOL in there.

If you feel like you would have to make cuts like this in order for it to work, then I don't think that Les Mis is the right thing to do.
kozafluitmusique

Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
But not to the cartoon. Pick the one you like least.


I'm sorry. I can't pick either. Those two songs are the pure reason I want to be Cosette.

And thank you, Laura.
Eponines_Hat

You need both IMO - without In My Life Cosette has even less character/personality than in the musical. And without AHFOL you can't establish the love between her and Marius.

If you want to a love song - what about OMO? Its one of my favourite moments on stage, but it is rather 'redundant'

btw Are you cutting Dog Eats Dog? That is the only musical song I would cut
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

This is the outline as it runs thus far:

First of all, start in Paris in 1832 with the 'beggar' version of "Look Down," and eliminate the entire first hour of the live show (i.e., Valjean arrested after being released from prison and the Bishop's kindness, Fantine getting fired and turning to prostitution, Valjean rescuing Little Cosette from the Thenardiers) because they're hinted at later on and it would just seem redundant, not to mention make the story shorter, which is key in cartoons. Thus, the focus becomes the Cosette/Marius/Eponine triangle (can you imagine the respective Barbie/Ken dolls?).

As part of the above, I think we can lose Fantine. Yeah, I said it. A lot of people sympathize with the bald-headed broad, but with all the stuff to cut from the first hour, she'd be the most convenient character dropped, unless she's in a few flashbacks as well. It's a cartoon, and it's hard to cram in so much. Plus, "I Dreamed a Dream" has earned a certain cachet thanks to Susan Boyle that really makes me want to see how the show would work without it.

You've also got the battle/action sequences (to appease the boys), Gavroche as the cute character (no animal sidekicks needed), and the Thenardiers as comedy relief. Valjean would remain mostly a mysterious character (as he does in this part in the show) until the very end when he reveals all to Marius. As for Javert, he's the villain of the story (evil personified and all that) who gets his comeuppance. And like many a Disney villain (a la Evil Queen, Gaston, Frollo) he falls to his death from an elevated place (bridge). Of course, the ending is bittersweet 'cause most everyone dies (Valjean, Gavroche, the students, Eponine), but the two lovers survive and the outgoing song is a message of hope.

Stylistically, I envision the piece being a return to traditional Disney animation, with some cool hand-painted detail a la Beauty and the Beast or The Thief and the Cobbler.

SONG LIST

Look Down
The Robbery
Javert's Intervention
Stars
("Eponine's Errand" becomes a dialogue scene where we meet Eponine and Marius.)
("Red and Black (The ABC Cafe)" becomes a dialogue scene where we meet the revolutionaries.)
Do You Hear the People Sing
In My Life*
A Heart Full of Love*
Attack on the Rue Plumet
One Day More
("Upon These Stones - Building the Barricade" becomes a dialogue scene.)
The Letter (here a sung segue by Valjean into "On My Own")
On My Own
("Upon These Stones - At the Barricade" becomes a dialogue scene.)
Little People
A Little Fall of Rain
("Night of Anguish" becomes a dialogue scene.)
The First Attack
Bring Him Home
("Dawn of Anguish" becomes a dialogue scene.)
The Second Attack (The Death of Gavroche)
The Final Battle
Dog Eat Dog (The Sewers)
Javert's Suicide
("Turning," clearly written as a metaphor for the turntable staging, useless without it, becomes instrumental for a montage as the women of Paris mourn their lost loved ones.)
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Every Day*
Valjean's Confession
The Wedding Chorale
Beggars at the Feast
Valjean's Death (now a slightly extended scene of its own, with some dialogue where he explains his back-story)
Epilogue (Finale)

* might yet be cut.

Folks, before you complain, keep in mind this: if Hollywood ever turns its eye on this musical, and rumor has it that a deal is actually in the offing, much like I'm doing, it will cut things here and there for time and just make the whole thing bloody confusing. It ether works as 3 hours, or at 90 minutes, but anywhere in between and you've got a problem.

It's either let them hack it to death and be pissed about it, or adapt it to a format that actually surprisingly suits the piece, hack away in a format that is at least somewhat acceptable to fans, and leave the important bits. After all, it's an adaptation. If you want the original, shell out for a plane ticket to London...but a movie ticket costs far less.
Eppie-Sue

you have got to be kidding me.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

Not at all. Hollywood would be less choosy and logical with their cuts. It's well over half of the musical's score saved, it preserves the tone and the core of the story, and you cut or re-arrange, add a little dialogue, and it comes out perfect.
Eppie-Sue

... and to think I was upset over "In my life" being cut.

Seriously, though. If you can't make it right, don't make it at all. It's easy.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

Hey, they're probably gonna do worse to the film! Someone once posted the idea of Disney doing Les Mis as a joke, and I started brainstorming. The way Hollywood is making live-action musicals these days, this is actually the only format that (I think) could preserve Les Mis properly.
riverdawn

Wow.

How could you possibly say that it "preserves Les Mis properly", when you've taken out the majority of the plot, changed the focus of the story from the actual hero (Valjean) to Marius and Cosette (who are the romantic hero and heroine, but who are not quite the center of the story), turned Javert into a stereotypical arch-villain (which he isn't in either the book or the musical), and delegated the barricade scenes into "action sequences to appease the boys" [by the way, the sheer number of "girls" who spend time on this board discussing various aspects of the barricade scenes suggests that these scenes are hardly just attractive to "boys"].

Honestly, one of the good things about "classic Disney" movies is that, while they often make changes to plot in order to make the films more palatable for children - they nonetheless don't completely dumb-down the story and take all depth from it, which is what it sounds like you want to do.
Eppie-Sue

Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
Hey, they're probably gonna do worse to the film! Someone once posted the idea of Disney doing Les Mis as a joke, and I started brainstorming. The way Hollywood is making live-action musicals these days, this is actually the only format that (I think) could preserve Les Mis properly.


Oh the irony of the last sentence - what you sketched out is not Les Mis. You're not preserving anything! Les Mis is more than Cosette/Marius/Eponine (it isn't even a triangle to begin with!) and the students, as much as I love them.
And if you want to centre it around Cosette and Marius, why are you cutting her songs and scenes? And background? The whole thing doesn't make sense.

Les Misérables is not, in any way, suited to be made into a Disney cartoon. They all die. It's long. It's complicated. I have to repeat myself, why do it if you can't do it right?!

ETA: Thanks, riverdawn, much better chosen words. And I didn't even begin to comment on Javert.
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

In case you haven't noticed, the things that I cut...I make up for. Something Hollywood wouldn't do. If a song is cut, I keep the music as underscoring, and develop reasonable dialogue from it. I'm thinking in terms of a film that will sell, and at the same time preserves the tone, the core of the story, and a good portion of the score.

The basic plot is retained. As a matter of fact, that whole introductory sequence that's cut? Funny story really...it's bloody repeated at the end of the show as Valjean tells the kids about his life on his deathbed! You think I won't have a quick flashback montage or something? That whole focus change? Goes on in the bloody play! For a hero, Valjean is largely silent for a huge portion. When you cut that first part, what else is there to focus on? It's logic! Yeesh! Stereotypical arch-villain? Hello, he's still got "Stars"! Just like Frollo had "Hellfire"! He's still human. It's not like that won't be clear from the dialogue and the re-jiggering.

Honestly, seeing a list doesn't give you the full picture, but at least it's an indicator of something. Don't judge before you see it finished.
riverdawn

Not going into the whole thing, but just re:Javert you wrote:

Quote:

As for Javert, he's the villain of the story (evil personified and all that) who gets his comeuppance.


Javert is not, either in the musical or in the book, evil personified. In fact, he's not evil at all. Certainly he's unyielding, obsessive, overly strict, has a black-and-white view of the world, and a bunch of other flaws. But he is never described as evil, let alone "evil personified". He is described as an essentially honest and even good man, who goes astray only in that he adheres much to strictly to notions of "right" and "wrong".

He doesn't "get his comeuppance". He commits suicide when his entire psychological world becomes unraveled by the idea that a man who had once committed a crime could, in fact, be a good man.

So, "stars" or no "stars", if you're casting Javert in the role of "evil personified", you've missed something pretty essential about the story.
And, by the way, also a pretty good educational opportunity of explaining to kids that the world is not clearly divided into good people who get some variation on a happy or at least noble ended, and evil people who should "get their comeuppance."
l'ivrogne transfiguré

Basically, you're trying to simplify the story by cutting the whole of the show up to Paris. As I see it, that's just going to confuse it even more.
The themes are being completely changed - centering it around Marius and Cosette loses so many perspectives that are in both the novel and the musical - the redemption of Valjean, the fight for ideals, etc etc. Les Mis is much less a love story than a story about 19th century France that happens to include a couple in love, The strength of the story is the number of elements it is able to include - each character's story makes no sense on its own.
Without showing the backstory, most of the Paris scenes will not be properly understood. Les Mis works on the principle that we, the readers/audience, have a very good understanding of what is going on - who the characters are, where they've come from etc - it is not some kind of thriller where it takes the whole of the plot to find out what actually happened.
If anyone should be the villains it should be the Thenardiers - but, unfortunately for you, they don't really get the comeuppance and come out, if anything in the musical, on top. But Les Mis isn't a fairy story with heroes and villains all getting exactly what they deserve - there are many tragic elements to it that have no place in the sort of film you are proposing. Also, without the backstory, what sort of connection to the Thenardiers will there be? No-one will know who Eponine is, so the Marius/Cosette/Eponine triangle would make even less sense in this context than it does in the musical, where it is bad enough and is already miles from the book.
Ulkis

If I was gonna make a musical animated movie out of it, I would commission someone to write it as another musical altogether. Even the list you have there is too many songs for a 90 minute movie. Anyway, if it was going to be in the Disney cartoon vein it would have to be all dialogue and maybe 5 songs.
Quique

Brother Marlon Brando, adults watch cartoons too, ya know!! Razz

The Les Mis nut in me would be the first to throw a fit if this cartoon thing was real.

But it's not.

So everyone relax...take a deep breath. That's better. Smile

I never realized that one can actually begin the story at "Look Down" and still retain all the plot lines. It's actually a very interesting concept. Though I imagine there would have to be a great deal of flashback, which would probably be cumbersome and annoying to audiences.

LesMisNutQuiuque would murder you if this was actually headed for production. But it makes for a very thought provoking idea otherwise, I must say.

Congrats, Brother Merv Griffin, for thinking up the only truly original idea for adapting Les Mis.

As for the poll, I'd hack AHFOL. You don't need a song to establish Marius and Cosette's love nor a ballad to expose a love triangle. The audience knows by the end of "In My Life" that Marius and Cosette have the hots for one another and that Eponine is up shit creek without a paddle.
AzelmaCombeferre9430

Why cut either of them? Those are two of Cosette's few scenes, we need them! If anything, we need to give her more songs! (she does deserve a solo!) They're cute and innocent scenes where we start to see the relationship between Marius and Cosette grow and blossum and you just want to go "AWW!" We see Cosette with her father and the fact that she knows little of the world, her mother, or her own life also.

A Disney Les Mis? Neutral I really don't see that happening anyways, sorry. Yet again, they did get the rights to the Hunchback of Notre Dame...
MlleTholomyès

They butchered NDdP as well, so that's really not an ideal situation anyway.
AzelmaCombeferre9430

They did? I wouldn't know I never saw it...so I guess I'm lucky then?
Brother Marvin Hinten, S.

Ladies and gents:

Victor Hugo's literature is public domain. Disney got the rights because nobody owns them anymore in the U.S. His heirs complained about Hunchback's departures from page to screen, but that's all they could do: complain. They don't own it.
mezzo_soprano

Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
This is the outline as it runs thus far:

First of all, start in Paris in 1832 with the 'beggar' version of "Look Down," and eliminate the entire first hour of the live show (i.e., Valjean arrested after being released from prison and the Bishop's kindness, Fantine getting fired and turning to prostitution, Valjean rescuing Little Cosette from the Thenardiers) because they're hinted at later on and it would just seem redundant, not to mention make the story shorter, which is key in cartoons. Thus, the focus becomes the Cosette/Marius/Eponine triangle (can you imagine the respective Barbie/Ken dolls?).
.


You soo did not just cut Fantine. YOU DID NOT JUST CUT FANTINE.
Orestes Fasting

Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
Ladies and gents:

Victor Hugo's literature is public domain. Disney got the rights because nobody owns them anymore in the U.S. His heirs complained about Hunchback's departures from page to screen, but that's all they could do: complain. They don't own it.


Irrelevant, unless someone has PM'd you a C&D order. First rule of free speech on the internet: you are free to say whatever you want, everyone else is free to tell you that just because you can doesn't mean you should.

My question: what is the central conflict that drives the plot of your version? Something like "the struggle on the barricade" is too nebulous for a Disney plot, which has to be both engaging and easy to grasp. The usual formula is an internal quest (Ariel wants to become human, Aladdin wants to escape his street-rat life, Anastasia wants to find her past*), usually related to escape or transformation, that gets impeded by the villain. Valjean's plot would work wonderfully for this; why are you reducing him to an ancillary role and cutting most of the first act?


* I know Anastasia isn't Disney, but it fits the formula for animated kids' movies.
Elbow

I think, for me, what's more annoying than the thread starter wanting to cut half of Les Mis in his cartoon, is thread starter's attitude.
lesmisloony

I think this thread is kind of hilarious.

And also sad.
AzelmaCombeferre9430

Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
Ladies and gents:

Victor Hugo's literature is public domain. Disney got the rights because nobody owns them anymore in the U.S. His heirs complained about Hunchback's departures from page to screen, but that's all they could do: complain. They don't own it.


Okay, sorry I forgot about that Embarassed but anyways, do you really see a Disney Les Mis? I just don't. Les Mis has a lot of darker stuff in it thats not very kid friendly. Like prostitution, social injustice, murder, sucide, etc. I don't see how one could get rid of all that and have it still be Les Mis. As much as I love those cutesy animated disney films, I know when they adapt classics, the destroy them, quite frankly.

Other thing, people will begin to associate Les Mis with Disney and not Hugo or Boubil and Schnoberg.
kozafluitmusique

AzelmaCombeferre9430 wrote:
Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
Ladies and gents:

Victor Hugo's literature is public domain. Disney got the rights because nobody owns them anymore in the U.S. His heirs complained about Hunchback's departures from page to screen, but that's all they could do: complain. They don't own it.


Okay, sorry I forgot about that Embarassed but anyways, do you really see a Disney Les Mis? I just don't. Les Mis has a lot of darker stuff in it thats not very kid friendly. Like prostitution, social injustice, murder, sucide, etc. I don't see how one could get rid of all that and have it still be Les Mis. As much as I love those cutesy animated disney films, I know when they adapt classics, the destroy them, quite frankly.

Other thing, people will begin to associate Les Mis with Disney and not Hugo or Boubil and Schnoberg.


Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause
dreamcoat12

i think that you should cut in my life- BUT make it into dialog because it is a very important section. a heart full of love is one of my fav songs, so that's why i dont want it cut =)
dreamcoat12

i think that you should cut in my life- BUT make it into dialog because it is a very important section. a heart full of love is one of my fav songs, so that's why i dont want it cut =)
       Musicals.Net Forums -> Les Miserables
Page 1 of 1