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Cecil B. DeMille
Horace B. Carpenter
This is a padded-out, four-reel version of the two-reel short of the same title released in 1915, a spoof of the opera and film versions of Bizet's Carmen. Darn Hosiery, a Spanish officer, is led astray by the gypsy girl Carmen.
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A group of gypsy smugglers are frustrated in their attempts to bring their contraband into the city by Don Jose, an incorruptible officer in the Civil Guard. In order to help her kinsmen, the sultry Carmen seduces him, persuading him to abandon his post and look the other way. When his infatuation leads him to kill a fellow guardsman in order to prevent her arrest, he becomes a wanted fugitive. The capricious, fickle Carmen resents his possessiveness and leaves him for a famous toreador in Seville. Obsessed and frustrated, a distraught Don Jose follows her to the bullring with tragic consequences. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Her most famous part without her most famous asset
The tragic tale of Carmen and Don Jose is the subject of one of Cecil B. DeMille's best received silent pictures. To hear DeMille tell it in his autobiography it was quite the casting coup to get Geraldine Farrar from the Metropolitan Opera to go and recreate her most famous part without her most famous asset being her voice.
In those teen years of the last century Geraldine Farrar was quite the popular figure, for women she was to grand opera what Caruso was for men. Even with no famous the grand gestures needed for interpreting a role are exactly what the silent screen called for. Her early records plus this film were a great marketing tool for her live concerts and opera performances. DeMille grasped intuitively how Farrar could be a success in films.
Playing Don Jose the guardsman she seduces and drives mad enough to kill and disgrace himself is Wallace Reid. And the man playing Escamillo the matador who as a baritone gets the most famous aria to sing when Carmen is an opera is Pedro DeCordoba.
You'll not hear a note of Bizet's famous score I guess because DeMille figured that the contemporary would expect sound if he used it. Instead a good score was written, the best part being a Spanish guitar as the only musical accompaniment in several key scenes.
Carmen stands up well for today's audiences. It's a universal story.
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