“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ” Charles Dickens’ tale of love and tumult during the French Revolution comes to the screen in a sumptuous film version by the producer famed for nurturing sprawling literary works: David O. Selznick (David Copperfield, Anna Karenina, Gone with the Wind). Ronald Colman (The Prisoner of Zenda) stars as Sydney Carton — sardonic, dissolute, a wastrel and destined to redeem himself in an act of courageous sacrifice. “It’s a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done,” Carton muses at that defining moment. This is far, far better filmmaking too: a Golden Era marvel of uncanny performances top to bottom, eye-filling crowd scenes (the storming of the Bastille, thronged courtrooms, an eerie festival of public execution) and lasting emotional power. Revolution is in the air!