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A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,386 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 17 critic

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.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Title: A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

A Tale of Two Cities (1935) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elizabeth Allan ...
Edna May Oliver ...
...
...
Blanche Yurka ...
Henry B. Walthall ...
Donald Woods ...
Walter Catlett ...
Fritz Leiber ...
...
Mitchell Lewis ...
Claude Gillingwater ...
...
...
Seamstress
Edit

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Immortal Story of Love and Intrigue During French Revolution! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The storming of the Bastille was actually directed by Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur, a partnership that would later go on to make such horror classics as _Cat People_ and I Walked with a Zombie (1943). 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

Sydney Carton: My poor child. It isn't understanding we need now. It's courage.
Seamstress: You're going to die in his place. Why?
Sydney Carton: He is my friend.
Seamstress: You're so brave... When we go to the guillotine, will you let me hold your hand? That might give me courage, too.
Sydney Carton: Yes. I'll hold it to the last.
Seamstress: To the last.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude Opus 28 No. 7
(1834) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Arranged for orchestra by Herbert Stothart
Played in several scenes by The MGM Symphony Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One Of The Very Best Of The 1930s
7 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rarely have I upgraded a film between viewings as much as I did this one. I saw it quite a while ago and thought it was so-so, but watched it again last week after re-acquiring the VHS....and wow, what an incredible movie! This has to be one of the finest movies of the 1930s.

Production-wise, with the big cast of extras, the photography, the superb acting and powerful story, I can't see how another film, with the exception of "Gone With The Wind," that featured all that this film boasts. Why it is not out on DVD as of this writing - June of 2006 - is a disgrace.

Starting with visuals, this movie reminded me in parts of a good film-noir with the shadows-and-light and great facial closeups. It's just beautifully filmed, and the big reason I'd want to view this on disc.

As for the acting, if ever a man looked and sounded like he was perfectly suited for a certain role, it has to be Ronald Colman playing "Sidney Carton." The anguished, reflective sorrowful looks alone made Colman memorable in this role. It's hard to picture anyone else doing a better job as the man who has no esteem, finds love, is greatly disappointed but then does the most noble thing any human being can do for another, giving up his own for a friend. It's fitting you get Scripture at the end of this film, and in earlier parts of the story as Colman plays a role in which Jesus himself describes how best to show one's love for someone. This is a very spiritual film, by the way, which may turn off some people but was an inspiration to this reviewer.

Almost as riveting as Colman was Blance Yurka. Hers is a not a familiar screen name but apparently she was a big success on the stage during her era. As "Madame DeFarge," Yurka plays on the most vengeful and frightening female figures I've ever seen on film. Too bad she wasn't seen in more movies; she had the charisma for the silver screen.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Allan as the female lead ("Lucy Manette") and Donald Woods as the other male interest ("Charles Darnay") do well in their leading roles. Three other supporting players also are notable for their standout performances: Edna Mae Oliver as Lucy's protective maid/companion "Miss Pross;" Basil Rathbone as the evil French Aristocrat "Marquis St. Evremonde" and Henry B. Walthall as "Dr. Manette."

This Charles Dickens story couldn't have been translated any better to the big screen that what you see here.


31 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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