Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 18, 1946 with Ronald Colman reprising his film role. See more »
Sydney Carton attends Christmas Eve services ca. 1780 during which "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is sung to music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), and John Francis Wade's Latin hymn, "Adeste fideles," is sung in Frederick Oakley's (1802-1880) translation as "O Come, All Ye Faithful." See more »
Unheralded, Unexpected, Frenchmen in uniform joined Frenchmen in rags... and rebellion turned to revolution
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I read the book "A Tale of Two Cities", by Charles Dickens, in ninth grade, and to my extreme surprise, it became my second favorite novel of all time. That's why I was thrilled to get my hands on this acclaimed film version, starring Ronald Colman as about my favorite literary character I've met, among a terrific cast.
I am slightly biased, since I was comparing the film very strongly to the novel. Fortunately, the movie did not disappoint - it was excellent! They had to cut much material that was in the novel or else the movie would go on foooooooreeeeeeeeeveeeeeeeerrrrrrr....but they kept the important scenes and kept the essence of Dickens's classic. They also found the right balance between the scenes with our heroes, Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, Dr. Manette, and Sydney Carton (among others) in London, and the material featuring the Defarges and other peasants in Paris. And they made it compelling, not boring and droning.
The cast, like I said, is very ideal, but I will mention those that stand out the most. Elizabeth Allan surprised me by giving Lucie - who is the world's most annoying and flimsy character in the novel - genuine character and substance, even though Lucie doesn't get to actually do much. Blanche Yurka was absolutely perfect as Mme. Defarge; she was cold and frightening, yet you could sympathize with her without thinking she was too mushy. Edna May Oliver was a treat as Miss Pross, capturing the image of the seemingly strict yet warm maid in the Manette household.
But what I was really judging the movie upon was my imaginary boyfriend, Sydney Carton. Ronald Colman was impeccable as the unlikely hero. He got the different "sides" of Carton right - drunk, insolent, and smart-alecky in one scene and tenderly romantic in the next. The film version also added more humor to Carton, which fits his character well. (The scene in which he pretends to flirt with Miss Pross was not in the novel, but it is one of my favorites.) Sydney Carton's selfless act of sacrifice (and his comforting of the frightened seamstress) are extremely moving. Wonderfully done.
My only real qualifier is that, to my surprise, Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) and Sydney Carton didn't look that much alike. Darnay had sharper features, whereas Carton...ah, Ronald Colman has these lovely brown eyes, giving him a slightly puppy-dog look sometimes. Oh well - the movie made it fairly clear that they were supposed to look alike. Besides, how easy is it casting dopplegangers?
Overall, if you have read "A Tale of Two Cities," there's a darn good chance you're going to like this film. And if you haven't read the book, you may like it anyway. Either way, I highly recommend it.
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