Review: ‘Carmen Jones’

As a wartime [1943] legit offering Carmen Jones - the modernized, all-Negro version of [Georges Bizet's] opera Carmen - was a long-run hit both on Broadway and on the road. Otto Preminger has transferred it to the screen with taste and imagination in an opulent production.

As a wartime [1943] legit offering Carmen Jones – the modernized, all-Negro version of [Georges Bizet’s] opera Carmen – was a long-run hit both on Broadway and on the road. Otto Preminger has transferred it to the screen with taste and imagination in an opulent production.

The screenplay closely follows the lines of the stage libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II in which Carmen is a pleasure-loving southern gal who works in a Dixie parachute factory, where Joe (Jose) is a member of the army regiment on guard duty. She lures him away from Cindy Lou (Micaela) and he deserts with her. Eventually Carmen tires of him and takes up with Husky Miller (Escamillo) the fighter and Joe kills her when she refuses to return to him.

Preminger directs with a deft touch, blending the comedy and tragedy easily and building his scenes to some suspenseful heights. He gets fine performances from the cast toppers, notably Dorothy Dandridge, a sultry Carmen whose performance maintains the right hedonistic note throughout.

1954: Nominations: Best Actress (Dorothy Dandridge), Scoring of a Musical Picture

Carmen Jones

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Otto Preminger; Producer Otto Preminger; Screenplay Harry Kleiner; Camera Sam Leavitt; Editor Louis R. Loeffler; Music Georges Bizet;; Art Director Edward L. Ilou

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on DVD. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Dorothy Dandridge Harry Belafonte Olga James Pearl Bailey Diahann Carroll Roy Glenn

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