A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1935) B/W 127m dir: Jack Conway
w/Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone, Edna May Oliver, Elizabeth Allen, Blanche Yurka, Reginald Owen, Henry B. Walthall, Donlad Woods, Walter Catlett, Fritz Lieber
From The Movie Guide: "Easily the best version of Charles Dickens's classic novel (out of at least seven), A TALE OF TWO CITIES follows the turmoil and aftermath of the French Revolution. ...
"This superb, lavish production features an MGM stock company playing every small role to perfection, and Colman gives one of the best performances of his life in a role he had long wanted to play. He captures Carton's intellectualism, cynicism, self-pity and nobility in equal measure, achieving a richness of characterization that would have pleased Dickens himself. Equally memorable is Blanche Yurka as the sinister Mme. DeFarge. This is nastiness to rival Mercedes McCambridge's ripe, blistering work in JOHNNY GUITAR. And, as in that Nicholas Ray film, Yurka has her own Joan Crawford to confront: the inimitable Edna May Oliver, representing the forces of virtue. Their final struggle is one of the highlights of the film. The film has, in fact, many great moments, among the most beautiful of which is Carton's walk through the snow as the holiday carolers go by. The finale, as Carton awaits death, is equally powerful and touching. In a small role as a seamstress also being executed, Isabel Jewell gets to pull off yet another marvellous dramatic vignette.
"One of director Jack Conway's finest efforts, the film never suffers from a sense that the novel has been compressed or rushed. Moving, fresh and aware of its effects, the film stands as one of Hollywood's finest adaptations of a novel. Its huge and deserved success gave producer David O. Selznick the freedom to walk away from MGM (and his father-in-law, Louis B. Mayer) and set up Selznick International Pictures."
Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Editing.