In 1912, SCAGL decided to produce an adaptation of Hugo’s classic. As the feature-length film was becoming the norm around Europe, Capellani made the first blockbuster of its time, not only directing but also adapting the book. The production encountered problems with Victor Hugo’s executor, who wanted to control casting, direction, and sets. The film was a triumph in spite of its length (over 2h30) and was even distributed in the USA to rave reviews. Capellani’s name was never mentioned, however, as was customary at the time.
Keywords: Victor Hugo, Gustave Simon, The Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens de Lettres, Henry-Krauss