Tension and the Cinematic Checklist

1935 Movie Tale of Two Cities

Just prior to the beginning of the dramatic action of the film, a written "Bibliography" is presented that cites the following books: The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle, Journal of the Temple by M. Clery, The Memoirs of Mlle. des Echerolles and The Memoirs of M. Nicholas.

Could this last piece be the following?

Monsieur Nicolas, ou Le Cœur humain dévoilé, est un ouvrage autobiographique écrit par Nicolas Edme Restif de La Bretonne et paru en 1796-1797.

There is a 1930 English edition:

Monsieur Nicolas, or, The human heart unveiled translated by R Crowdy Mathers with an introduction by Havelock Ellis (London : John Rodker, 1930).

Havelock Ellis provides often amusing insight into the contradictions of the author an this century.

[on setting regulations for brothels] To the end Restif cherished his moral enthusiasm in this cause. His friend Bonneville once reproached him with describing too minutely the pleasures of prostitution. Restif defended himself. "Yes," he said with heat, "I am the friend and protector of these houses treated with such contempt. I would far rather go to see a pretty courtesan than make a baby with the wife of my friend or my neighbour." I do not dispute Restif's honesty, but the method he so highly approved had never saved him from making love copiously in the houses of friends and neighbours, and he seems to have exaggerated the number of babies he thus made.


Since men possess both moral impulses and immoral impulses it may well be that it is precisely this harmonious combination of the two which gives the eighteenth century in one of its numerous aspects, — "that atrocious eighteenth century," as Hugel used to call it, — the high rank it takes as a manifestation of the human spirit. Restif, whose devotion to the moral happiness of mankind we cannot doubt, and to whose own fundamental goodness all who knew him testify, yet lived and moved and had his whole being from first to last in an atmosphere which was, pungently and luridly, immoral. With his morbidly sensitive and impetuous temperament he was able to carry this seemingly incompatible combination to so high a point of extravagance that even the eighteenth century itself was sometimes shocked.
Intrigued to view the film again with this tension in mind ...

And so for day 2439