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A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
Actors: Ian Bannen, Alfie Bass, Dirk Bogarde, Dominique Boschero, Rosalie Crutchley
Director: Ralph Thomas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2008


Movie Details

Actors: Ian Bannen, Alfie Bass, Dirk Bogarde, Dominique Boschero, Rosalie Crutchley
Director: Ralph Thomas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Castaway Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2008
Release Year: 2008
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: Chinese, English

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Movie Reviews

*Kissing Dirk Bogard*
Daisy Duke | TN, USA | 04/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nope, he never got to kiss the girl. And the movie wasn't in color, either. Didn't have to be. This is THE BEST, most beautiful version ever made of the finest tale of heroism ever told. A 5 (out of five) Kleenexes rating for A Tale of Two Cities, starring Dirk Bogard!! Don't confuse it with any other version of this movie. No man alive played the indolent wastrel, Sidney, with the intensity that Dirk did. A unique performance! The others were great too.You watchers of TITANIC (it was OK), get a real movie, will you? "It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have done before. It is a better rest I go to...than I have ever had."Beat that for unforgettable if you can. Hand me another Kleenex."
Classic British Version of The Immortal Dickens' Story
Simon Davis | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There have been a number of fine film versions of the famous novel by Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities", stretching right back to the 1917 silent version starring William Farnum and as recently as the 1980's there have been various television productions. However the two versions that stay in my mind and have rightly earned the accolade of "classic" are the lavish MGM version from 1935 starring an unforgettable Ronald Colman, and this 1958 British production starring Dirk Bogarde in the much loved role of disillusioned and world weary lawyer Sidney Carton. Both men brought their own individual styles to this famous role and Dirk Bogarde really came into his own here after his successful turn in the "Doctor", series of movies for the Rank organisation. He was a perfect casting choice as the self loathing but ultimately lonely English lawyer who achieves at the eleventh hour, the ability to love and find some inner peace through the ultimate self sacrifice during the frightening eruption of the French Revolution. With his good looks, serious demeanour, and projection of a wasted life Dirk Bogarde gives I believe one of his best performances ever in "A Tale of Two Cities", and along with the first rate British supporting cast and a lavish budget for a British film at that time, combines to create a worthy successor to David O. Selznick's legendary 1935 version.

As befitting to the film's title the action takes place in the cities of London and Paris in the lead up to the French Revolution. Sidney Carton (Bogarde), is a cynical lawyer who lives only for the pleasures of the bottle and has little concern for the wellbeing of his fellow man. Called in to help defend a man by the name of Charles Darnay (Paul Guers),a french nobleman who is on a charge of suspected treason Carton makes the acquaintance of Darnay's fiancee Lucie Manette (Dorothy Tutin),who he instantly falls in love with. Carton also notices that from a distance he strongly resembles Darnay which will hold him in good stead later in revolutionarry Paris. Lucie discovers through her family friend Jarvis Lorry (Cecil Parker), that her father Dr. Manette (Stephen Murray), long thought dead is actually alive and being cared for in Paris by a family called De Farge. Lucie makes the dangerous journey to an increasingly violent Paris and not only finds her father but learns of his years of unjust imprisonment in the Bastille courtesy of the vicious French aristocrat the Marquis St. Evermonde (Christopher Lee).Taking her father back to London Lucie also learns the real identity of Charles as none other than the cousin of the same dreaded Marquis who it turns out was at the bottom of the plot to have Charles framed for treason. Charles holds nothing but hatred for his corrupt cousin and decides to remove any connection with the dissolute aristocrat. He travels to France and firmly cuts off his rights as heir to the Evremonde estates however after the Marquise is murdered by the distraught father of a little boy he ran over in his carriage, Charles finds himself arrested as an exile and placed as a prisoner in the dreaded La Force prison. Getting a message back to London of what has happened Lucie decides to travel back with her father to try and mount some kind of defence for Charles despite the corrupt and one sided courts that now operate in revolutionary Paris. Sidney also travels with Lucie's group that includes her protective womanservant Miss Pross (Athene Seyler), however he has a different agenda to carry out in Paris seeing the hopeless situation any known aristocrats are now in in France. Once on trial Charles falls foul of the vengeful Madame DeFarge (Rosalie Crutchley),who has her own personal vendetta against all members of the Evremonde family and when Charles is exposed as a former aristocrat his cause is lost and he is comdemmned to death. Sidney meanwhile has been busy on his own and sets out to try and rescue Charles. He blackmails the corrupt Barsard (Donald Pleasence), who as a crony of the late Marquise St. Evremonde would be a sure candidate to loose his head on the Guillotine, to get him into the La Force prison and once inside in the ultimate act of self sacrifice he first drugs Charles and then has Barsard take him out dressed in his clothes. Sidney then prepares to meet the fate which would have been Charles'. Lucie much to her surprise is reunited with a still drugged Charles who is being passed off as Sidney Carton and the group make their escape from Paris. Facing the cold knife of the Guillotine in place of Charles, Sidney at last feels self respect in the knowledge that he has helped to keep alive the happiness of his beloved Lucie who he knew he would never be able to possess.

While in some respects this version of "A Tale of Two Cities", may lack a bit of the sweeping scope of the earlier Selznick version it is still a superbly put together production filled with some wonderful performances. Dirk Bogarde of course is superb as Sidney Carton bringing just the right elements of worldliness with a dose of inner sadness about him to make the character not only believable but highly likeable as well. Dorothy Tutin, a veteran British actress does great work as the heroine Lucie and Cecil Parker, Stephen Murray, Athene Seyler in the role of the fussy Miss Pross, and especially Rosalie Crutchley as Madame Defarge are first rate and bring their combined film and theatre experience to good use in the screenplay. Christopher Lee long associated with the horror roles at Hammer Studios has one of the more memorable parts as the heartless aristocrat St. Evremonde who pays with his life for his arrogance towards the ordinary people. Fresh from his triumph in the classic "The Curse of Frankenstein", his stark portrayal of the horrid nobleman is one of the stories real strong points. Visually the film has a wonderfully rich quality to it that could not be bettered and the action scenes depicting the storming of the Bastille, the vivid portrayals of the starving peasants and the revolutionary tribunals with their corrupt aim of ridding France of the country's elite all stay in the mind long after viewing it. Another strong point is the extreme attention to detail in costumes, carriages and period detail that bring this frightening era to life so effectively. The on location photography in France at the real Chateau de Valencay which stands in for St. Evremonde's chateau also helps give the correct 18th Century French feel to those sections of the story taking place in France.

The Rank organisation produced some wonderful films during their heyday and this version of "A Tale of Two Cities", has definately stood the test of time as one of the very best versions of this often filmed story. It's easy to see why Dirk Borgarde won heart throb status around this time but his talent is the thing that really shines through in the difficult role of the self loathing lawyer who only finds his real self in the shadow of the Guillotine. I highly recommend the 1958 production of "A Tale of Two Cities", for all lovers of classic literature and to those that enjoy rousing historical dramas filled with great characters, adventure and romance."
Chinese/cinemasie/hk flix = the castaways pictures
Dr R. J. Lofaro | AL | 09/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this in TV; I am a great fan of Dirk Bogarde and thought he made a superb Sidney, I order this DVD.
It has chinese, I wend my way thru the companies involved in producing it....The Castaways Pictures seems to be bound up with Cinemasie and also with HK nice if the ad specified it was an Asian production. I bought an Asian DVD of Song Without End/Dirk had scenes deleted, was grainy and sound was poor at fact, I went and got another copy of the VHS I had given my sister when I got the DVD. So, with fear and trepidation, I sat down to watch this was not of the quality that you expect from a DVD. But, seems to be the only version of this adaptation available."
No Comparison To This Version!!!
Mary C. Giacobbe | USA | 11/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is no comparison to this version of the movie, period.
Bogarde nailed it when he played the part, and it was very well cast in other areas. I will sit here and wait for it to come out on Region 1 DVD fromat PLEASE!!!!!"