A Tale Of Two Cities (1935)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

USA, 1935.  .  Screenplay by , , based on the novel by , and the bibliographies The French Revolution by , Journal of the Temple by , The Memoirs by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

This is quite possibly the best adaptation of a Dickens novel after David Lean’s magnificent Great Expectations. plays the earnest Charles Darnay, who is accused of spying against England when the French revolution gets into full swing and he is a sympathizer caught in the middle of it. The film brings to life an acceptably accurate view of the time (as accurate as any studio film from the thirties could be, anyway) while also displaying the absolute chaos that Paris lived under during these historically important times (the best and the worst of them, as the book says).

 is breathtaking as the woman determined to save her beloved Charles from the guillotine by enlisting the help of the unmotivated Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman), while the excellent supporting cast is rounded out by the always memorable Edna May Oliver, , and particularly villainous Basil Rathbone.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Picture; Best Film Editing


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