I have a love/hate relationship with movies made in the 30's and 40's. The films based on classic books are usually terrible adaptions (P&P was the worst, although TSP was pretty good – though I didn't enjoy it that much) and several others that are just based on, real life, I guess, are not so great. One time watches are what I usually call them (I love pretty much anything with Jimmy Stewart in it, though). So when I sat down to watch this movie version of ATOTC, I wasn't expecting much, if anything. I'd suggested watching it, because if a movie-to-book adaption is bad, I always enjoying discussing its bad points with my siblings/blogging friends. In this case, however, there would be no bad points.
It was stupendously amazing.
Sure, there were the typical aspects of a 30's-40's movie – melodramatic music (honestly, I don't know why they feel it necessary to list the composer in the credits, since all the music sounds pretty much the same for any of those movies), some overacting (mostly on the part of the actress who plays Lucie, who, incidentally was the typical blonde actress that one sees in every. single. old movie), and a couple of other timeless cliches, but overall, it was spectacular, in every sense of the word. The mob scenes, the all-star casting (all-star for way back then, of course), and the surprisingly accurate adaption made for a smashingly good film.
Yes, the book-to-screen adaption was one of the best I've ever seen. Naturally, things had to be cut (when aren't they?), but it was done very well. Little touches here and there showed that the film directors had obviously read the book. A lot of the dialog was taken straight from it, although a few bits were moved around and given to different characters (for instance, instead of Charles saying to Lucie that someday George Washington could be as famous as King George, Sydney says it at a dinner party in the Manette home, much later in the movie). I really loved the way everything stayed so accurate, and it wasn't just with the plot/dialog. The character portrayals were, for the most part, completely true to the book.
As for the rest of the actors/actresses...they all played their parts quite well (although, compared to Sydney...). Lucie was probably my least favorite character portrayal as she seemed to weepy and fainty (is that a word?). And her acting wasn't that great (during the wedding, she says “I wonder why Sydney didn't come to my wedding...” HELLO. Sorry. I guess that's not bad acting, per se, but it struck me as really, really dumb – book Lucie isn't at all like that). Charles was okay, as was Dr Manette. The Defarges were really, really good, though. I really liked both of their portrayals (more on them later this week). Miss Pross and Mr Lorry were great too. I pretty much liked everyone, with the exception of Lucie (fun fact: I have several copies of ATOTC and one of them is illustrated, and almost all the drawings look like they were taken from the movie. It's pretty cool).
This film is definitely worth your time. You won't regret watching it, especially if you're a period drama fan.