When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Of the six adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities seen, in personal ranking this one is number 3, number 1 is the 1935 film and number 2 is the 1958 film. The Paul Shelley adaptation is very good on the most part, Chris Sarandon's is decent while the Burbank Films Australia animated adaptation is the only one below average. This mini-series is not perfect, the biggest flaw is the execution of the mob scenes which are under-populated, unexciting and tension-less, almost too polite. Some of the hair-styles are on the wacky and anachronistic side(too 80s-looking). The costumes and sets are accurate and are rendered lovingly, and helped by the fluid photography. The music is haunting, beautiful and emotional, especially in the poignant final scene. There is also a very literate and thoughtfully adapted script and the direction is mostly competent apart from the mob scenes. The adaptation is faithful to Dickens' very concise if initially complicated book while not forgetting to give the storytelling life. The tragedy is very affecting(the ending is a tear-jerker as it should be) and the suspenseful moments quite intense, Cruncher's funny moments are judged well. The acting is good on the most part. James Wilby, Xavier DeLuc and John Mills stood out. Wilby's Sydney Carton is handsome and movingly characterised, DeLuc is dashing and succeeds in not making a far less interesting character dull and Mills is wonderfully sympathetic that you are touched by his presence. Serena Gordon's Lucie is very tender, Kathy Kriegel is a very bat-out-of-hell Madame DuFarge, Anna Massey is perfect as Miss Pross, the Cruncher of Alfred Lynch is sly and hilarious, Jean-Pierre Aumont evokes sympathy too and Jean-Marc Bory is a creepy Evremonde. The idea to mix English and French actors was a great one and it paid off, something that it does better than the other adaptations. In conclusion, not perfect but a very good adaptation on the whole. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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