IMDb > A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
A Tale of Two Cities
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A Tale of Two Cities (1935) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   3,501 votes »
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Up 46% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Charles Dickens (novel)
W.P. Lipscomb (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for A Tale of Two Cities on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 December 1935 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The most dramatic love story in the history of literature! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
NewsDesk:
(136 articles)
When King Yrcanos Decked The Doctor!
 (From Kasterborous. 10 October 2014, 1:30 PM, PDT)

Bbcw buys stake in Lookout Point
 (From ScreenDaily. 23 September 2014, 4:06 AM, PDT)

Netflix to team with Channel 4 for Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities?
 (From Digital Spy - TV news. 21 August 2014, 8:16 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
"It was the best of times..." See more (58 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ronald Colman ... Sydney Carton
Elizabeth Allan ... Lucie Manette
Edna May Oliver ... Miss Pross

Reginald Owen ... Stryver

Basil Rathbone ... Marquis St. Evremonde
Blanche Yurka ... Madame De Farge
Henry B. Walthall ... Dr. Manette
Donald Woods ... Charles Darnay
Walter Catlett ... Barsad
Fritz Leiber ... Gaspard

H.B. Warner ... Gabelle
Mitchell Lewis ... Ernest DeFarge
Claude Gillingwater ... Jarvis Lorry

Billy Bevan ... Jerry Cruncher

Isabel Jewell ... Seamstress

Lucille La Verne ... The Vengeance (as Lucille LaVerne)
Tully Marshall ... Woodcutter
Fay Chaldecott ... Lucie - the Child
Eily Malyon ... Mrs. Cruncher
E.E. Clive ... Judge in 'Old Bailey'
Lawrence Grant ... Prosecutor
Robert Warwick ... Judge at Tribunal
Ralf Harolde ... Prosecutor
John Davidson ... Morveau
Tom Ricketts ... Tellson Jr.
Donald Haines ... Jerry Cruncher Jr.
Barlowe Borland ... Jacques 116
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Norman Ainsley ... Tom - Coach Driver on the Dover Road (uncredited)
Richard Alexander ... Executioner (uncredited)
Jimmy Aubrey ... Innkeeper (uncredited)
Barbara Barondess ... Female Aristocrat About to Be Executed (uncredited)
May Beatty ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
John Bryan ... Small Role (uncredited)
Elsa Buchanan ... Candy Clerk (uncredited)
Burr Caruth ... Guillotine Seller (uncredited)
St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers ... Background Singers (uncredited)
Frank Dawson ... Clerk (uncredited)
Nigel De Brulier ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Chappell Dossett ... Priest at Wedding (uncredited)
Frank Dunn ... Official (uncredited)
Harold Entwistle ... Clerk (uncredited)
Sam Flint ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Mary Foy ... Old Hag (uncredited)
Christian J. Frank ... Headsman (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich ... Gentleman (uncredited)
Dale Fuller ... Old Hag (uncredited)
Winter Hall ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Forrester Harvey ... Joe (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ... Leader at Bastille (uncredited)
Ramsay Hill ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Billy House ... Border Guard (uncredited)
Brandon Hurst ... Small Role (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Walter Kingsford ... Victor (uncredited)
Marion Lessing ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Clinton Lurie ... Small Role (uncredited)
James T. Mack ... Clerk (uncredited)
James A. Marcus ... Small Role (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... Jailer (uncredited)
Shirley McDonald ... Jacques #2 (uncredited)
Cyril McLaglen ... Guillotine Operator (uncredited)
Torben Meyer ... Lackey #1 (uncredited)
John Miltern ... Clerk (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... Cartwright (uncredited)
Tempe Pigott ... Old Hag (uncredited)
Charles Requa ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Condemned Dandy (uncredited)
C. Montague Shaw ... Chief Registrar (uncredited)
Yorke Sherwood ... Old Crony (uncredited)
Jay Taylor ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Joseph R. Tozer ... Inspector (uncredited)
Laura Treadwell ... Aristocrat (uncredited)
Judith Vosselli ... Wife of Count (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Revolutionary (uncredited)
Chester Withey ... Small Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Jack Conway 
Robert Z. Leonard (fill-in director) (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Charles Dickens (novel "A Tale of Two Cities")

W.P. Lipscomb (screen play) and
S.N. Behrman (screen play)

Thomas Carlyle  bibliography "The French Revolution" &
M. Clery  bibliography "Journal of the Temple" &
Mademoiselle des Echerolles  bibliography "The Memoirs" (as Mlle. des Echerolles) &
M. Nicholas  bibliography "The Memoirs"

Produced by
David O. Selznick .... producer
 
Original Music by
Herbert Stothart (musical score by)
 
Cinematography by
Oliver T. Marsh (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Conrad A. Nervig (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jacques Tourneur .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Fredric Hope .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Visual Effects by
W. Percy Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dolly Tree .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Herbert Stothart .... musical adaptation (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Val Lewton .... arranger: revolutionary sequences
Jacques Tourneur .... arranger: revolutionary sequences
Howard Dietz .... press agent (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
128 min | USA:121 min (video version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Canada:G (video rating) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (certificate #1471) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This marked the last time that Ronald Colman agreed to shave his trademark mustache for a film.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: 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:Forgive me if I notice that you are affected. I shouldn't respect your sorrow more if you were my own father. From that misfortune, however, you are free. Indeed, that is one thing to be grateful for, I suppose.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Hollywood: The Selznick Years (1969) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Egmont Overture, Op. 84See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
48 out of 55 people found the following review useful.
"It was the best of times...", 24 March 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

Most of the fiction of Charles Dickens is set firmly in the 19th Century, from roughly 1820 to 1865 or so. Twice, however, he essayed the historical novel. It was really not his specialty. His rival, William Thackeray, was into the past and constructed several notable tales of 18th Century life ("Henry Esmond", "The Virginians", "Denis Duval", "Barry Lyndon", "Catherine"). Compared to this Dickens only squeezed out "Barnaby Rudge" and "A Tale of Two Cities". The first one (published in 1842) was interesting, as it dealt with a serious riot that almost overthrew the monarchy in 1780. But few people read it. Ironically enough, the following year Dickens wrote a novella of 100 pages which became one of his perennial favorite works - "A Christmas Carol". But the second novel (published in 1859 - as Dickens reached the heights of his literary powers) became one of the greatest historical novels ever written. It also has the best introductory paragraph of any of his novels (see the "summary" line to see the opening of it).

He had prepared on the background to "A Tale of Two Cities" by reading Thomas Carlyle's classic "History of the French Revolution". It might have been better if he had read some of the French historians, for Carlyle was a great colorist (he created the "green-eyed" monster image of Maximillian Robespierre that most British and Americans still adhere to), but he saw the Revolution from an ultra-conservative view. It colors Dickens' version, where nothing good seems to come from the French revolutionaries. In his essay on Dickens, George Orwell says that his constant image of carts filled of guillotine victims made the very word "tumbril" sinister. It did. By all means read this novel, and see this film, but don't base your view of that historical event on the novel or film.

The story follows the events of the Manette and St. Evremonde families and their friends (particularly Sidney Carton, a barrister) in England and France, as well as the growing revolutionary spirit in France that is symbolized by the Defarges from 1780 to 1793. Dickens is basically claiming that the cruelties of the ancien regime (represented by the old Marquis St. Evremond) will end by creating new cruelties and new masters now from the lower classes itself. Monsieur Defarges is somewhat more sympathetic to some people (after Charles is condemned to death by a revolutionary tribunal he sees no reason to continue going after the others), but Madame Defarges, remembering the sufferings of her own family, is willing to kill anybody connected to the aristocrats (including the Englishwoman Miss Pross). When one reads the full final speech of Sidney in the novel he foresees that the new leaders are doomed to be eaten up by the guillotine as well (including Defarges).

Much of the five hundred page novel (one of Dickens shortest novels - which helps it's narrative flow) is cut in the film, but the main points are kept. Possibly the most important cut deals with a minor character, Serjeant Stryver - he is Sidney's boss, and uses Sidney's brilliance to win his cases. He actually is a rival for Lucy Manette's hand in the novel, but this is not in the film. Reginald Owen did well in the part, but it would have been hard to see him as a potential lover (especially as Sidney is played by Ronald Colman, or Darnay by Douglas Woods).

The cast was an excellent one, giving Colman, Woods, Rathbone, Oliver, Yurka, Warner, Walthall, and Catlett exceptionally good moments to shine. Witness Rathbone dismissing the murmurs of the intelligentsia (although he finds Voltaire amusing). Witness Yurka's testimony at Darnay's trial. See Catlett's final moments, watching the last tumbrel of guillotine victims going to their doom, and calming down two men who are shouting with glee (very subtly done, and unusual for Catlett - usually a comic actor). Whether Sidney Carton is Colman's greatest performance is questionable (his mad actor in "A Double Life" is better, as is his George Apley and Dick Heldar), but it is a signature part. To this day he's imitated saying, "It is a far, far better thing I do...." No quote for the other roles is submitted by budding Rich Littles among us.

Such an excellent film owes it's production to one man: David O. Selznick, it's producer. A man who loved literature, Selznick made "A Tale of Two Cities" as one of a series of literary based films (with "David Copperfield", and "Little Lord Fauntleroy") that were uniformly excellent, and culminated in "Gone With The Wind". "A Tale of Two Cities" is not as long as "Gone With The Wind", but shows the same taste and craftsmanship that made the latter film a great one too.

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