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A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 25 December 1935 (USA)
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 »
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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 Immortal Story of Love and Intrigue During French Revolution! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The storming of the Bastille was actually directed by Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur, a partnership that would later go on to make such horror classics as _Cat People_ and I Walked with a Zombie (1943). 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

Madame Defarge: Do you know who I am?
Miss Pross: You might - from your appearance - be the wife of Lucifer; yet you shall not get the better of me for I'm an Englishwoman!
See more »

Connections

Version of A Tale of Two Cities (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Romance No.6, Op.6 (None But the Lonely Heart)
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Worthy Adaption of an Excellent Novel!
29 June 2005 | by LvenactressSee all my reviews

I read the book "A Tale of Two Cities", by Charles Dickens, in ninth grade, and to my extreme surprise, it became my second favorite novel of all time. That's why I was thrilled to get my hands on this acclaimed film version, starring Ronald Colman as about my favorite literary character I've met, among a terrific cast.

I am slightly biased, since I was comparing the film very strongly to the novel. Fortunately, the movie did not disappoint - it was excellent! They had to cut much material that was in the novel or else the movie would go on foooooooreeeeeeeeeveeeeeeeerrrrrrr....but they kept the important scenes and kept the essence of Dickens's classic. They also found the right balance between the scenes with our heroes, Lucie Manette, Charles Darnay, Dr. Manette, and Sydney Carton (among others) in London, and the material featuring the Defarges and other peasants in Paris. And they made it compelling, not boring and droning.

The cast, like I said, is very ideal, but I will mention those that stand out the most. Elizabeth Allan surprised me by giving Lucie - who is the world's most annoying and flimsy character in the novel - genuine character and substance, even though Lucie doesn't get to actually do much. Blanche Yurka was absolutely perfect as Mme. Defarge; she was cold and frightening, yet you could sympathize with her without thinking she was too mushy. Edna May Oliver was a treat as Miss Pross, capturing the image of the seemingly strict yet warm maid in the Manette household.

But what I was really judging the movie upon was my imaginary boyfriend, Sydney Carton. Ronald Colman was impeccable as the unlikely hero. He got the different "sides" of Carton right - drunk, insolent, and smart-alecky in one scene and tenderly romantic in the next. The film version also added more humor to Carton, which fits his character well. (The scene in which he pretends to flirt with Miss Pross was not in the novel, but it is one of my favorites.) Sydney Carton's selfless act of sacrifice (and his comforting of the frightened seamstress) are extremely moving. Wonderfully done.

My only real qualifier is that, to my surprise, Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) and Sydney Carton didn't look that much alike. Darnay had sharper features, whereas Carton...ah, Ronald Colman has these lovely brown eyes, giving him a slightly puppy-dog look sometimes. Oh well - the movie made it fairly clear that they were supposed to look alike. Besides, how easy is it casting dopplegangers?

Overall, if you have read "A Tale of Two Cities," there's a darn good chance you're going to like this film. And if you haven't read the book, you may like it anyway. Either way, I highly recommend it.


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