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 ... See full summary »
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 my favourite Dickens book and my favourite Dickens dramatisation. I remember reading that there had been some doubts originally whether Dirk Bogarde matinée idol could manage this part. Instead it was presumably his first chance to show the inimitable quality of his acting. He is perfect in this part and I cannot imagine anyone else ever doing it better although I'd guess Ronald Coleman could equal it. I've seen one other, more recent version and although Carton's actor had a good go at it, it totally lacked the amazing charisma Bogarde provided for what is one of Dickens' most poignant characters - flawed, fascinating, cynical, damaged but wonderful.
It's a crying shame this wasn't filmed in colour since the producers did consider doing so and then didn't. But the production and acting are so excellent that you soon don't notice it isn't colour as you become completely immersed in the movie. I suppose it's always possible the lack of colour actually enhances the drama, and for me this story is the most dramatic and poignant of all Dickens - a work of pure genius.
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