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During the French Revolution, French national Lucie Manette meets and falls in love with Englishman Charles Darnay. He is however hiding his true identity as a member of the French aristocratic Evrémonde family, who he has denounced in private. The Marquis St. Evrémonde in particular was a cruel man, those he wronged who have vowed to see the end of the family line at any cost. Lucie's father Dr. Alexandre Manette, in fact, was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years because of actions of the Marquis. Into their lives comes English barrister Sydney Carton, who enjoys his alcohol to excess. Carton earlier defended Darnay in a trial on trumped up charges of treason. Carton doesn't really like Darnay in part because Carton also loves Lucie, he realizing that that love is unrequited. But Carton does eventually learn of Darnay's true heritage at a critical time. Carton takes extraordinary measures to ensure Lucie's happiness during this time, which has the potential to be explosive ... Written by
During the final scenes of the tumbrels rolling to the guillotine, Sydney Carton and the other characters in the tumbrel appear to switch sides. First, they are on the right, then on the left, then on the right again. See more »
This is a classic film version of one of Dickin's classic novels. Arguably his best novel (though the critics tend to dismiss it - it has a straightforward plot and structure), it translates into an exceptional film.
For those who don't know the story, it concerns the fortunes of the Manette and St Evremonde families at the time of the French revolution. In a Romeo and Juliet type situation, Charles Darnay (alias St Evremonde) loves Lucie Manette, whose father Darnay's uncle had wronged. Now living in London, neither can escape the terrible events in Paris, and they are drawn to a climatic conclusion as the guillotine falls on aristocrat and commoner alike.
The real hero of both novel and film is Sydney Carton (Dirk Bogarde), an English lawyer who initially defends Charles Darnay against a charge of treason, and later comes to love Lucie, now married to Darnay. The conclusion of the story, for Sydney Carton at least, is both tragic and inspiring, and Mr Bogarde certainly does justice to the role.
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