A pair of lookalikes, one a former French aristocrat and the other an alcoholic English lawyer, fall in love with the same woman amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution.

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, (uncredited)

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(novel), (screen play) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Elizabeth Allan ...
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Blanche Yurka ...
Henry B. Walthall ...
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Walter Catlett ...
Fritz Leiber ...
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Mitchell Lewis ...
Claude Gillingwater ...
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Storyline

An elaborate adaptation of Dickens' classic tale of the French Revolution. Dissipated lawyer Sydney Carton defends emigre Charles Darnay from charges of spying against England. He becomes enamored of Darnay's fiancée, Lucie Manette, and agrees to help her save Darnay from the guillotine when he is captured by Revolutionaries in Paris. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

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Taglines:

The most dramatic love story in the history of literature! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Ronald Colman agreed to play the role of Sydney Carton with the sole condition that he not also be required to play the role of Charles Darnay, as was usually expected in adaptations of the Dickens novel. The plot of 'A Tale of Two Cities' turns on the physical resemblance between the two characters. Colman had long wanted to play Sidney Carton, and was even willing to shave off his beloved mustache to play the part. See more »

Goofs

Close up of a paper reporting arrest of Charles Darnay shows a Reuters report. The action takes place in 1785...Paul Reuter was born in 1816 and did not set up his eponymous news agency until 1850. See more »

Quotes

C.J. Stryver: [in court] Mr. Barsad, have you ever been kicked?
Barsad: Certainly not.
C.J. Stryver: Come, come, Mr. Barsad, weren't you one time kicked downstairs?
Barsad: Well, once I was kicked at the top of the stairs, but I fell down the stairs of my own will and wolition.
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Connections

Referenced in Futurama: A Tale of Two Santas (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Egmont Overture, Op. 84
(1809-10) (uncredited)
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Freely arranged by Herbert Stothart
Played as background music by The MGM Symphony Orchestra
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User Reviews

Excellent Adaptation With Colman & Much More
29 October 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Perhaps best known for Ronald Colman's signature performance as Sidney Carton, this excellent adaptation of Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities" also has a lot of other strengths to offer. Colman is joined by the likes of Edna May Oliver and Basil Rathbone in a fine cast that brings the characters to life. The story itself is filled with good scenes, ranging from the exciting Bastille scene to courtroom showdowns to important confrontations between the characters.

The novel contains a lot more material than would ever fit into a normal-length movie, and the screenplay does a good job of selecting sequences that fit together and that work well on the screen. While differing in places from the original, it preserves the most important themes and ideas. The French Revolution is an interesting and multi-layered subject, and a good number of high-quality classic films are set in the period. The Dickens novel, in particular, lends itself readily to a cinema adaptation.

The role of Sidney Carton is almost an actor's dream, an unlikely hero who has to battle his own limitations as well as the situation around him. Colman's classic style does full justice to the role, making the character fully sympathetic without pretending that he is something he is not, and without drawing attention away from the overall themes and focus of the story. Most present-day actors would be far too self-absorbed to play the role as it should be played.

Almost everything in this version is satisfying and enjoyable. It combines plenty of drama with some good lighter moments and period detail, almost all of it done with skill. Colman himself clinches it with his memorable portrayal of a challenging and interesting character.


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