A Tale of Two Cities

Synopsis: During the French Revolution, French national Lucie Manette meets and falls in love with Englishman Charles Darnay. He is however hiding his true identity as a member of the French aristocratic Evrémonde family, who he has denounced in private. The Marquis St. Evrémonde in particular was a cruel man, those he wronged who have vowed to see the end of the family line at any cost. Lucie's father Dr. Alexandre Manette, in fact, was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years because of actions of the Marquis. Into their lives comes English barrister Sydney Carton, who enjoys his alcohol to excess. Carton earlier defended Darnay in a trial on trumped up charges of treason. Carton doesn't really like Darnay in part because Carton also loves Lucie, he realizing that that love is unrequited. But Carton does eventually learn of Darnay's true heritage at a critical time. Carton takes extraordinary measures to ensure Lucie's happiness during this time, which has the potential to be explosive if
Director(s): Ralph Thomas
Production: Franco London Films
117 min

Get up!

Go on!

Get up! Get up!

Get up!

Get up! Get up!

- Shall we have 'em out, Tom?

- Yeah.

I'm obliged to ask you to

lighten the load up the hill.

I think you'll have some slight

difficulty in... waking my companion.

Sir? Sir!

Wake up, if you'd be so kind, sir.

No breakfast for me.

I never take breakfast.

Breakfast? We're a long

way from Dover yet, sir.

Then what the devil's happening?

We are mud-bound, sir, and have

been asked to lighten the load.


Then it shall be lightened.

A little help for hard-working horses

is a worthy cause to one who

detests work as much as I do.

Indeed, sir. For a man

of business like myself,

it would be a matter

of serious disability.

Er, no. I thank you.

Ho! Away!

- You, I presume, are not a man of business.

- Business? Lord love you, no, sir.

Nothing nearly so respectable.

But you need have no cause for alarm.

- If I were the robber you now suspect...

- No, no.

.. is it likely that I should be

travelling unattended to the assizes?

Ah! The assizes. You

are a lion of the law?

A lion? You flatter me, sir.

I'm a jackal rendering service to a far

better-fed lion than I shall ever become.

When one is born without energy...

Whoa there!

- What do you say?

- It's an 'orse coming up at a canter.

I say 'orse coming up at a gallop, Tom.

Gentlemen, in the

King's name. Both of you.

It will be useless, I fear, to

assure you this is no partner of mine.

Whoa there!

You! Stand or I shall fire

Is that the Dover Mail?

Why do you want to know?

Have you got a passenger -

Mr Jarvis Lorry?

No. Carton. Sydney Carton is my name.

I am Jarvis Lorry. Who wants me?

It's Jerry, master. Jerry Cruncher.

I've got an urgent despatch

for you from T and Company.

I know this messenger well,

guard. There's nothing to fear.

I belong to Tellson's Bank in London.

I'm going to Paris on business.

- Wait. A crown for a drink.

- Hello, you!

- Yes?

- Come on at footpace.

If you're wearing a pistol don't

let me see your hand go near it


Here, there, master.

Wait at Dover for Mam'selle.


Recalled to life.

Beg pardon, sir?

That will serve for my answer.

- Recalled to life.

- It's a blazin' strange answer.

Take back that message. They will know I

received this as well as if I wrote myself.

Good night, Jerry.

Good night, sir.

Recalled to life.

Come on.

That was indeed a

blazing strange answer.

Whoa! Away there!

Go on! Get up!

Morning, sir.


I want a bedroom and a barber.

- Yes, Mr Lorry.

- If you please.

I wish accommodation to be

prepared also for a young lady.

- A Miss Manette.

- Yes Mr Lorry

She will be arriving

by the evening Mail.

I'll have rooms prepared.

And for you, sir?

- Nothing at all, apart from a bowl of punch.

- No bed, sir?

I seldom keep awake long

enough to reach my bed.

Nor, alas, can I look forward to the

pleasure of being joined by a young lady.

You are travelling home

to France, Miss Manette?

- I'm going to Paris.

- Oh.

But England has long been my home.

You know this country well?

I used to come here

often before the war.

It's a pleasure to be

able to travel freely again

I fear this is my destination.


How very rude.

May I hope we shall meet again?

- Perhaps on the packet ship tomorrow.

- Get up there

It would be a pleasure to me, Mr Darnay.

There goes an evil-minded

blackguard, if ever I saw one.

Who? Mr Darnay?

Oh, I thought he was a

most agreeable gentleman.

No, not your Mr Darnay. The other one.

I might have known you'd

have eyes for nobody else.


There you are, Sydney.

Have you done yet?



Yes. You've had your bottle, I perceive.

Two tonight.

I dined with our client.

Or rather, I watched

him dine. It's all one.

You were very sound in the matter

of those Crown witnesses today.

- I'm always sound.

- I don't deny it.

If to your talent you

would only add purpose

and energy.

Pray, spare me your favourite

example of the man I might have been.

You cannot blind yourself to the

truth. We began level at school.

Even then I did your exercises

for you, and seldom my own.

Whose fault was that?

It was your fault my dear Stryver

It's been in your nature always

to be driving and riving

and pressing and shouldering

to such a restless degree,

that I had no chance in my own life

but in rest and repose.

Is that the Mail I hear?

It is. If I may point a moral, Sydney...

Oh! Hello!

Hello! What a charming creature.

Look, Sydney.


Most picturesque.

How say you?

Oh come Sydney show some taste for once

Isn't she truly delightful?

A pretty little doll.

Sydney, if you were a

fellow of any sensitiveness,

any delicacy...

Oh, but then I know you

never mean half you say.

A pretty little doll, indeed!

I'm not sure, Miss Manette, how much

you have learned already from the bank

about this affair.

Miss Manette, when your

father married the English lady

who was your mother,

I, on behalf of Tellson's

Bank, was one of the trustees.

Your father, like many

other French gentlemen,

left his affairs entirely

in Tellson's hands.

Please understand that I handled

this matter as a man of business,

and therefore a man without sentiment.

A mere machine

I am still waiting

for you to begin, sir.

Yes. Yes, I'm going to.

I find it very difficult

to relate this story to you

in such a way that you will be

able to bear the hearing of it.

I can bear anything, sir,

rather than the insecurity in

which you leave me at the moment.

You speak collectedly.

That's good.

This story is incomplete.

It relies largely on some information we

have received from a man named Defarge,

who was formerly your father's servant.

According to this man Defarge, it appears

that one night, some eighteen years ago,

your father, Dr Manette, was returning

home late after attending a case in Paris,

when he received an urgent summons to

the country home of a certain nobleman.

The patient was a young peasant girl

The doctor found her suffering

from a high fever of the brain

To keep her quiet

she had been gagged and

tied with sashes and scarves

No-one considered that

she might suffocate

In fact it would not have shortened

her life by much if she had

For although Dr Manette was

able to ease her last hours

she died that same day

from the violence she had

suffered in body and mind

Nor was she the only victim

of that young nobleman

In the stables was a boy

of seventeen her brother

He was dying from a sword wound

It was while Dr Manette

was attending him

that he heard the full story from the

servant a man by the name of Gabelle

They were a family of

four, my master's tenants.

Which means that nothing they possessed

was their own, not even their bodies.

The law allows the father no right

to resist a claim on his daughter,

but their father resisted.

You're perhaps aware that

these nobles have the right

to harness their tenant to a cart

and drive him like a horse or dog!

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T.E.B. Clarke

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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