A TALE OF TWO CITIES is well remembered for its rich production values and the charismatic performance of Ronald Colman as the dissipated lawyer drawn to a cause greater than his personal problems. Jack Conway's directing work is solid, but he was pretty much the hired hand of producer David O. Selznick, who was largely responsible for the film's artistic vision. Selznick had the best of MGM's production team, including composer Herbert Stothart, art director Cedric Gibbons, sound engineer Douglas Shearer, and film editor Conrad Nervig. The result is a first-rate example of the production quality typical of big-budget Hollywood studio films of the mid-1930s, particularly the ones from MGM. Surprisingly, the film received only two Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture and Best Film Editing, as MGM successfully focused its awards efforts for that year on The Great Ziegfeld. For Selznick, A TALE OF TWO CITIES was a stepping stone to greater achievements that peaked with Gone With the Wind. For Conway, it was the height of his career, though he continued to turn out adequate work into the late 1940s.
by Richard Gilliam review