A condensed silent film version of the Charles Dickens classic about the French Revolution and its subsequent Reign of Terror.



(novel), (scenario)

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Cast overview:
Leo Delaney ...
The Duke D'Evremon
Tefft Johnson ...
Edith Halleran ...
Madame Defarge (as Edith Halloran)
Mimi - Woman on the Way to Guillotine


Barrister Sydney Caron falls in love with lovely Lucie Manette, daughter of a victim of the oppressive French aristocracy. After he successfully defends falsely accused Charles Darney, Carton's love for Lucie remains unrequited as she marries Darnay. When Darnay is ultimately condemned to death by a revolutionary tribunal during the Reign of Terror, his only hope for rescue lies with Carton. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Short | Drama | History





Release Date:

30 May 1911 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Bastillens Offer  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD) | (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director William Humphrey did not want to cast the 14-year-old inexperienced Norma Talmadge, but she persevered because of the encouragement of star Maurice Costello. See more »


Version of A Tale of Two Cities (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

The staging is little short of sumptuous
21 November 2015 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

The first of a series of three reels adequately reproducing Dickens' favorite story. It is unnecessary to go over the story. Probably most who will see the picture know its main features at least. The first reel takes the audience up to seizure of the peasant girl and the killing of her brother, her death, the visit to Dr. Manette to be a party to the crime, which results in his arrest and imprisonment in the Bastille and the consequent sufferings in a dungeon. The story is complete in itself, but the other two reels which go with it complete the story as Dickens wrote it. Probably most readers have formed some conception of the appearance of the different characters. In this picture they undoubtedly have an adequate reproduction of the story, with the principal personages faithfully depicted. The staging is little short of sumptuous. There is shown a care in the attention to details which stamps the picture as an unusually faithful reproduction and affords opportunity for those who have read and loved Dickens in the books to see his story move before them, much, perhaps, as it moved before him during its composition. Without being an expert upon Dickens, it seems safe to say that this production of one of his most famous stories will go down in motion picture history as one of the most notable of photoplay productions of the beginning of the year. - The Moving Picture World, March 4, 1911

The second part of the three reel release of this great story. This film introduces Lucy, Sidney Carton, the hero of the tale, De Farge and Darnay. The scene changes from the turbulence of Paris to the quiet, homelike attractions of London. The complications which beset these characters are faithfully reproduced. Of course, it must be understood that it is impossible to reproduce everything that is described in the book, but the selections have been made with care, and are indicative of a thorough understanding of the necessities of the story. The main features are sufficiently emphasized to serve as a guide in carrying the audience along, and their knowledge of the story itself will supply any deficiencies. Toward the last there are rumblings from Paris, with its unrest and turbulence, but the main feature of the picture is the quiet of the homes of London and the development of a portion of the love story which is included. It seems safe to say that those who see this film, in conjunction with the one which was released before, and the one to follow, will acquire a new impression of Dickens and will appreciate more fully than ever before the importance of the motion picture as showing the beauties of a good story. Managers will do well if they use these films together, though each one tells a story by itself, which has its interest. - The Moving Picture World, March 11, 1911

The third and closing film in this series of remarkable reproductions. This picture takes the audience to Paris and shows them the mob at work destroying property and murdering Royalists and all suspected of being in sympathy with them. The story is followed closely in the main, the principal scenes being shown in strong contrast to the quiet, homelike scenes of the former film. It is here that Carton displays the act of heroism which will forever make him one of the greatest characters in fiction, the sacrifice of his life to save Darnay, who has been arrested and imprisoned because he is a relative of a Royalist, and will ultimately suffer upon the guillotine. The scene when the condemned prisoners are going to the guillotine in the tumbrel cart, and Carton comforts the poor little seamstress condemned to die with him, is dramatic, and holds the attention so closely that the audience sits with tense nerves throughout the scene. But, after all, even though the turbulence of the murderous mob constitutes the theme of the picture, the closing scenes, where Carton dies for his friend lifts it above the ordinary level and makes it one of the greatest pictures of the month. The three should be shown in conjunction. In that way the story unfolds itself in consecutive order, and the connection is clearly perceived. The Vitagraph people have performed a notable achievement in presenting this story in such excellent form. It is a year when Dickens is being studied and considered more than for a long time, and such a contribution as this is a help, not alone to students of Dickens, but to the thousands who have, for one reason or another, perhaps, lost sight of his marvelous faculty for storytelling. - The Moving Picture World, March 11, 1911

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