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 »
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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 »
The second-best adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities after the 1935 film
The 1935 film is a classic, and this film from 1958 is very close to that, the second-best adaptation by quite some distance. It looks very beautiful, the black and white photography skillful and well-suited to the story, the revolutionary scenes are still powerful despite not being in colour. Richard Adinsell's music score is bombastic, haunting and also a real beauty to listen to. A Tale of Two Cities is very intelligently scripted with a lot of dramatic weight though occasionally a little on the ponderous side, while the story- even when straight-forwardly adapted- is still as powerful and moving as one would expect, with the ending quite heart-breaking in its tragedy. The direction shows command of the source material and the ability to bring out the best of the cast. Dirk Bogarde is great and very charismatic, plus he probably hasn't been more handsome than he is here. Dorothy Tutin's Lucie is fetching and heartfelt, Christopher Lee is wonderfully vicious and truly hissable and Rosalie Crutchley brings chills as Madame Dufarge if occasionally a little too histrionic. Overall, excellent and a very easy close second-best adaptation. And it is true that it deserves to be judged on its own terms, the whole "the book is better" and "any film/TV series that doesn't follow the story to the letter is immediately terrible, and books shouldn't be seemingly improved upon"(Agatha Christie and Jane Austen adaptations are prone to this in particular) are tired old clichés. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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