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 »
Why is it that reviewers insist on complaining that a film is less worthy because it does not exactly stick to the book upon which it is based? There are differences between this film and Dickens's novel and other film adaptations. That does not matter. A film is a film and a book is a book and they are different works of art.
What matters is whether the film as a work of art, or entertainment, or narrative, works in its own right and on its own merits. I would contend that this film certainly succeeds on that basis. The narrative is coherent and convincing, despite the unlikely premise of the ending of the story - and you can blame that on Dickens.
The film is beautifully shot in black and white just at the time when most features were being filmed in colour and, in my view, this adds to the film. The script is well written, the actors well cast and the performances are convincing. Another reviewer has complained that Darnay and Carton were not played by the same actor. That would be a serious mistake, just as to have Viola and Sebastian played by the same actor in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' is a mistake. Much of the dramatic tension comes from having just enough similarity but not too much. In this way, the different characters of the protagonists are emphasised. Bogarde puts in his customary well-balanced performance and the sympathy between him and Lucie Manette is clear to see without being overplayed.
The excellent Dorothy Tutin puts in a convincing performance as the beautiful Lucie and the supporting cast is generally very good. The slight exceptions would probably be M. and Mdme Defarge who are not entirely convincing. He is too weak and she is too histrionic.
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