This is the sixth attempt to bring the Charles Dickens novel to the screen (previously filmed in 1911, 1917, 1922, 1925, 1935). It's the long-told story of a frivolous young lawyer who spends most of his time drinking. But he meets the woman of his dreams, and, eventually, awakened to
responsibility in aiding victims of the French Revolution, gives his life for her in the ultimate sacrifice. Christopher Lee, who would go on to countless other roles as a heartless villain, is excellent as the amoral Marquis St. Evremonde. Of interest to those who yearn for historical--and
literary--accuracy in films is the fact that this version of the classic was the first to be produced in Britain, with location scenes for the French Revolution sequences shot in Bourges and Valencay. This version strives for the careful attention to detail that mark the best BBC-produced literary
translations today. In addition, the subtlity of Bogarde's performance lends an entirely different quality to the pivotal role of Sydney Carton. Unlike Ronald Colman's misty-eyed nobility as he approaches the guillotine in the 1935 version, Bogarde faces his death as the inevitable result of his
devotion to a cause that is larger than life itself. Perhaps this is not as melodramatic as the Hollywood version, but, to some, it is infinitely more satisfying.
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