7.8/10
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69 user 18 critic

A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

Trailer
1:24 | Trailer
A pair of lookalikes, one a former French aristocrat and the other an alcoholic English lawyer, fall in love with the same woman amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Directors:

Jack Conway, Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Dickens (novel), W.P. Lipscomb (screen play) | 5 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Colman ... Sydney Carton
Elizabeth Allan ... Lucie Manette
Edna May Oliver ... Miss Pross
Reginald Owen ... C.J. Stryver
Basil Rathbone ... Marquis St. Evrémonde
Blanche Yurka ... Madame Therese De Farge
Henry B. Walthall ... Dr. Manette
Donald Woods ... Charles Darnay
Walter Catlett ... Barsad
Fritz Leiber ... Gaspard
H.B. Warner ... Gabelle
Mitchell Lewis ... Ernest De Farge
Claude Gillingwater ... Jarvis Lorry Jr.
Billy Bevan ... Jerry Cruncher
Isabel Jewell ... Seamstress
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Storyline

Alas, an aristocrat and a barrister on the same plateau. This is the story of a revolution, a revolution that occurred in France known as the Reign of Terror. The barrister, the town alcoholic and man of disrepute, is in love with a beautiful woman, who marries the aristocrat and bears a beautiful baby girl. The baby girl is infatuated with the barrister, and he her because of her mother. The ultimate sacrifice occurs and a man's soul goes forward.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most dramatic love story in the history of literature! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Madame Defarge is supposed to represent both the Fates and the Wyrd sisters. The Fates in greek mythology; also known as the Euyrones, would measure the length that each man would live and then cut it when he should die. The Wyrd sisters, or the fates of Norse Mythology; would also oversee who would win in battle. By Making this character a female; who is prophetcially weaving this grand tapestry of death; Dickens is absolutely linking her to the fates of anciesnt mythology; which makes her even moire prophestic. See more »

Goofs

Sydney Carton attends Christmas Eve services ca. 1780 during which "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is sung to music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), and John Francis Wade's Latin hymn, "Adeste fideles," is sung in Frederick Oakley's (1802-1880) translation as "O Come, All Ye Faithful." See more »

Quotes

Miss Pross: Mr. Carton, the infant has expressed a desire to say good night to you.
Sydney Carton: The infant's desire shall be gratified immediately, Prossy.
[he goes]
Jarvis Lorry Jr.: I suppose it's none of my business, but I wouldn't allow that fellow to handle a child of mine.
Miss Pross: As to that, you haven't got one... and from the looks of you, you're not likely to have one.
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Connections

Referenced in Ceremony (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by carolers on Christmas Eve
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User Reviews

 
One Of The Very Best Of The 1930s
7 June 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Rarely have I upgraded a film between viewings as much as I did this one. I saw it quite a while ago and thought it was so-so, but watched it again last week after re-acquiring the VHS....and wow, what an incredible movie! This has to be one of the finest movies of the 1930s.

Production-wise, with the big cast of extras, the photography, the superb acting and powerful story, I can't see how another film, with the exception of "Gone With The Wind," that featured all that this film boasts. Why it is not out on DVD as of this writing - June of 2006 - is a disgrace.

Starting with visuals, this movie reminded me in parts of a good film-noir with the shadows-and-light and great facial closeups. It's just beautifully filmed, and the big reason I'd want to view this on disc.

As for the acting, if ever a man looked and sounded like he was perfectly suited for a certain role, it has to be Ronald Colman playing "Sidney Carton." The anguished, reflective sorrowful looks alone made Colman memorable in this role. It's hard to picture anyone else doing a better job as the man who has no esteem, finds love, is greatly disappointed but then does the most noble thing any human being can do for another, giving up his own for a friend. It's fitting you get Scripture at the end of this film, and in earlier parts of the story as Colman plays a role in which Jesus himself describes how best to show one's love for someone. This is a very spiritual film, by the way, which may turn off some people but was an inspiration to this reviewer.

Almost as riveting as Colman was Blance Yurka. Hers is a not a familiar screen name but apparently she was a big success on the stage during her era. As "Madame DeFarge," Yurka plays on the most vengeful and frightening female figures I've ever seen on film. Too bad she wasn't seen in more movies; she had the charisma for the silver screen.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Allan as the female lead ("Lucy Manette") and Donald Woods as the other male interest ("Charles Darnay") do well in their leading roles. Three other supporting players also are notable for their standout performances: Edna Mae Oliver as Lucy's protective maid/companion "Miss Pross;" Basil Rathbone as the evil French Aristocrat "Marquis St. Evremonde" and Henry B. Walthall as "Dr. Manette."

This Charles Dickens story couldn't have been translated any better to the big screen that what you see here.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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