A Tale of Two Cities
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A Masterpiece Theatre Presentation
James Wilby, Xavier Deluc, Serena Gordon, John Mills and Anna Massey star in this gripping adaptation of Charles Dickens' immortal story of love and honor set against the fiery backdrop of the French Revolution.
Living in exile in England, beautiful young Lucie Manette is pursued by two suitors: fellow French exile Charles Darnay and dissolute Englishman Sydney Carton. Even though Sydney openly declares that he would make the ultimate sacrifice for her, Lucie chooses Charles, unaware of his secret past and noble heritage. As the French Revolution explodes, Charles heads for Paris to help a former servant in trouble and discovers that the Reign of Terror is far worse than he realized. Anarchy is rife. Justice is no more and Charles is captured by a crowd thirsty for the blood of aristocrats. The guillotine beckons - as does the long-ago promise that Sydney made to his beloved Lucie.
Top Customer Reviews
A couple of unique things about this film include its use of French actors to play French characters and British actors to play British characters. No contrived accents, and people actually look their nationality -- both important in such a highly political story. I also strongly support the decision to have Carton and Darnay played by different people; yes, they're supposed to look alike, but not identical. And having different actors play them facilitates the portrayal of their very contrasted characters.
I am admittedly coming from the perspective of one who read and loved the book years before seeing the movie; I can't judge what this film would be like to someone who has never read the novel. But I found it an accurate and sensitive adaptation of the book I know and love, and I imagine that the beauty of the story would appeal just as easily to someone experiencing the story for the first time.
It tells ineffably touching stories of love and sacrifice, striking stories of hatred and revenge, in the turmoil of French Revolution. This was the time that hunger would drive poor people to sip the wine spilled on the street stones, this was the time that an innocent man (Dr. Manette, Lucie's father) was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years not for any crimes but for saving people's lives, this was the time that conscience made a noble person (Charles Darnay) to relinquish his aristocratic title and pursue life of simplicity and dignity, this was the time that a gentleman (Charles Darnay) would take the risk his own life to save the life of his servant, and this was the time that a young man (Sydney Carton) would take another man's place on the guillotine and realize his promise to his beloved (Lucie), to whom he treasured as "the last dream of my soul"......
This Masterpiece Theatre miniseries did a fairly good job in crafting the stories, although less successfully in bringing out the grandeur of the Revolution. But thanks to the wonderful actors and actresses, their brilliant acting has, to some extent, made up the weaknesses. Sydney Carton is a fascinating character. Young actor James Wilby has excellently sustained Carton's emotional complexities: his cynicism, his indifference, his impulsive yearning for life, and his devoted love to Lucie.Read more ›
I disagree with some reviewers that are saying that this movie is boring.It is not,but if you don't have enough patience and/or only watch action flicks,you won't like this.
Well, Dickens's famous opening lines, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times," etc. do not come at the beginning of the production but are inserted into a monologue by Sydney Carton shortly after the start of the second DVD. Otherwise, the plot, details, and characters seem much the same as I remember from when I last read the book several years ago.
My wife and I bought this set to help a young friend who is close to graduating from high school at a public school and therefore has problems with reading comprehension. We are well satisfied that she can watch this, then read, and perhaps profit in several ways.
Anyone looking for dazzling FX and computer-generated panoramics will be disappointed. This was made on a budget for television in 1989.
Otherwise, it is a capable -- sometimes very good -- and certainly a moving production. I think Dickens would have approved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is a wonderful movie with a very surprising and delightful endingPublished 3 months ago by Grace W. Cerere
In general was true to the book but too much emphasis on Sydney Carton . There is a 1980 version that I believe is better .Published 4 months ago by Robert C. Goodman