Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Bogarde playing the outcast.
on 30 July 2014
A very enjoyable film, benefiting from scenes shot in Bourges - including [briefly] the west front of the cathedral.
Everyone is very clean, even when they have been in prison for weeks.
The book sticks in my mind both for its simple plot - simple compared to most of Dickens work - and for its great flights of description. There are a few spots in the film that capture the words of the book especially the scene of Paris and the guillotine. The part of Miss Pross is almost cut completely. She is there in the guise of the wonderful Athene Seyler, but says very little.
Dirk Bogarde makes a workmanlike job of Sidney Carton.. He was a gifted actor, but his Carton lacks the despair that Dickens gave the character. This is perhaps a sign of its era, since no one in the fifties wanted to see despair. The tone of the film is optimistic not heavy, and Bogarde's wistful decadence goes well with its general ethos. He is more like a character from Wilde than from Dickens. but powerful nevertheless.
I found the disparity between Carton and Darnay somewhat odd - why didn't they give Bogarde the chance to play both?
it is in black and white but it suits the piece. I shall watch it with that ennui that Bogarde brings to the role.
Wonderful to see Christopher Lee at his prime playing seriously and with such skill.
The palm for acting goes to Rosalie Crutchley, beautiful here, and giving as always, a committed and potent performance as Madame Defarge.
Why Dickens wrote this, his only historical novel, is hard to say. Perhaps he needed to say that triumph and happiness could be snatched, even out of despair. That out of death and bloodshed new life can flourish. it is certainly his most romantic book, which perhaps explains its popularity with film-makers!