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      A Tale of Two Cities

      Released Dec 25, 1935 2h 8m History Drama List
      93% Tomatometer 14 Reviews 83% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings This adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens finds courageous British lawyer Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman) defending French aristocrat Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) from false accusations of treason against England. Carton also becomes enamored of Darnay's beautiful bride-to-be, Lucie (Elizabeth Allan), but she and Darnay marry and begin to raise a family in France. Then, when Darnay falls into the hands of French revolutionaries, Carton once again comes to his rescue. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (14) Critics Reviews
      Mattie Lucas From the Front Row A grand melodrama, filled with big emotions and stirring set pieces, but it's also incredibly dry, which holds it back from standing alongside many other classic Hollywood spectacles of the day. Rated: 2.5/4 Mar 25, 2021 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy It's the richly textured screenplay and the slate of stellar performances that drive this film. Rated: 3.5/4 Feb 12, 2021 Full Review Yasser Medina Cinefilia A visually portentous film in production design, but I find little moving its historical and romantic drama about social injustice, honorable sacrifice, and impossible love. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 6/10 Aug 8, 2020 Full Review Meyer Levin (Patterson Murphy) Esquire Magazine Isabel Jewell, as the seamstress, registers unforgettably in an emotional scene of the sort most difficult to render with restraint. Ronald Colman has attained a fine maturity, and gives real depth to Sidney Carton. Apr 16, 2020 Full Review Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine There isn't much doubt that when the movies discovered Dickens they got hold of Something. Sep 25, 2019 Full Review Christopher Lloyd Sarasota Herald-Tribune Several of the big crowd scenes, especially the storming of the Bastille, are big-budget showstoppers with thousands of extras filling the frame in a way CGI still can't match. Rated: 4/5 Aug 8, 2011 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Mark A One of the best adaptations of a Dickens novel. Ronald Colman is great. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/20/22 Full Review andy f An astonishing treat. An early epic and the best version of this often overlooked Dickens tale. Colman is magnificent. The film is littered with memorable supporting characters and the bastille scenes are truly stunning. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Tony S A grand scale adaptation, that makes Dickens novel succinct enough to still convey the emotion, yet not drown you in the sea of character mannerisms and pointless dialogues. Great performances all around, where the character allows for the actor to shine. Most notably Ronald Colman. Whose self loathing, that turns into self sacrifice is as powerful as it should be. My issues will always be with the novel. And couldn't have been possibly fixed by the film. As the novel's spectrum of characters and their portrayal on the background of the revolution can only be one of two things, either irredeemably decadent, sadistic and evil or extremely noble, pure and virtuous. With Sydney Carton being the sole exception of course. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/25/22 Full Review Audience Member With the exception of David Copperfield this is probably Hollywood's most accomplished treatment of a Charles Dickens work. Sumptuously mounted and produced in grand MGM style it has the the perfect voice and charm of Ronald Colman as Sidney Carton, a stalwart supporting cast and magnificently choreographed large scale crowd scenes depicting the out of control energy and fury of the revolt and subsequent reign of terror. Colman's charming cynic wins us over early given he is surrounded by just cause with a Dicken's roster of pompous bores and hypocrites caught up in their own self importance. He drinks and offends but who can blame him. The sardonic wit of the film extends beyond Carton though by way of Dickens "cinematic" descriptive style that sharply conveys through both character and setting distracting dark humor over the grim proceedings by intermingling comic portraits with the sober cruel personages while making incisive social commentary. A laudable supporting cast consisting of Reginald Owen, Edna May Oliver, Billy Bevan, Blanche Yurka's Madame DeFarge and Basil Rathbone's venal Marquis de Evermonde truly do bring the pages to life, though I will admit an Oliver, Yurka death match near the end does take liberties with the tome. Oliver Marsh's photography is commendable throughout whether conveying panorama in the excellently edited storming of the Bastille and raucous courtroom scenes or the tight tension filled cramped ominously lit interiors of cells or the De Farge wine shop. With Colman in the lead and every MGM department clicking on all cylinders Tale of Two Cities remains fresh and vital 75 years later. It is one of those rear films that embraces rather than wrestle with a classic literary work which it does here with grandeur and confidence. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review huck d Watch this and you'll understand why 21st century film making is as appalling as the generation making it. The human drama of freedom vs tyranny, honor vs disgrace, institutions vs mobs, is on full display with the moral compass that has been essentially eviscerated by the ignorance of a society that has no understanding of the past. Ronald Coleman gives a masterclass in his quest to understand life and find out the values that bring it meaning. The gorgeous Brit Elizabeth Allan lights up the screen with her genuine, yet sophisticated warmth and kindness. Don't miss Blanche Yurka as the consumate villain played for all it was worth who somehow finds a way to elicite an empathy while you root against her. And Edna May Oliver defines the meaning of a value based courage that is stronger than any army. I suspect it was the performances of Yurka and Oliver that made the Academy add the award for Best Supporting Actress. Movies like this that bring the Dicksonian classics to life are as invaluable in the way of entertainment as they are developing moral character, the latter of which, is in frighteningly short supply. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Worthy of your time. Timeless historical drama, "...It was the best of times. It was the worst of times..." Excellent and improves with repeated viewings over years. A Christmas film as well. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      A Tale of Two Cities

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis This adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens finds courageous British lawyer Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman) defending French aristocrat Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) from false accusations of treason against England. Carton also becomes enamored of Darnay's beautiful bride-to-be, Lucie (Elizabeth Allan), but she and Darnay marry and begin to raise a family in France. Then, when Darnay falls into the hands of French revolutionaries, Carton once again comes to his rescue.
      Director
      Jack Conway
      Producer
      David O. Selznick
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Genre
      History, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Dec 25, 1935, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Feb 28, 2012
      Runtime
      2h 8m
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