Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »
A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »
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
By 1915 Geraldine Farrar had established herself as premier soprano of the opera world. With radio nearly a decade away, her phonograph records had found their way into millions of homes. These audible wonders of the modern age made Farrar immensely popular. Records could not convey the wonderful theatrics of her performance on the stage. She held a captive audience from La Scala to San Francisco and chose the moment of her greatest popularity to step in front of the camera. Farrar was drawn into this other new and equally exciting indulgence of motion pictures by one of the greatest popular directors of the day, Cecil B. DeMille. For two years she was the jewel in his crown, making six feature films for DeMille, five with her co-star Wallace Reid. Film work also allowed Farrar to rest her fragile voice after years of abuse. Her brilliance and intensity on stage was fully realized in these films, which made Farrar unique in both the worlds of opera and film. No other performer had ever approached this simultaneous degree of popularity and success. Legions of obsessed young fans even referred to themselves as "Gerryflappers". Among the brightest stars in the universe of twentieth century entertainment, Farrar also became a great social leveler, horrifying the class conscious opera world by lowering herself to the level of common everyday moviegoers. In turn, the price of a ticket offered the illusion of entering the privileged world of Grand Opera. There are sadly only two of these six films known to survive today, they are however, likely the best, Carmen and Joan The Woman. They are also among the very best works of C. B. DeMille. Carmen is the story of a wild and beautiful gypsy girl from Seville. She seduces handsome young Don José, ruins him, betrays him, and in the passionate climax of the story he seeks his revenge. Few tales have gained such admiration and have been retold in film and on the stage as often. Carmen was the greatest role of Geraldine Farrar's illustrious career and the signature piece for which she was known around the world. She played the dark-haired cigarette girl of Prosper Mérimés' novella with ferocious intensity for decades. Signing this legendary star to a multi-picture contract with his greatest director Cecil B. Demille was quite a feather in the cap for Jesse Lasky. Wisely, DeMille insisted Farrar shoot another film, "Marie Rose" first, so she could acclimate to the film environment. The first picture was then held back until after Carmen was released. On screen Farrar displayed a magnetic and effortless, natural quality. Two scenes in particular are tremendously exciting, the first, a knockdown drag-out fight between Carmen and another girl in the cigarette factory was added to the original story for the film, the other is the spectacular finale at the bullring. The fight, with DeMille's future screenwriter Jeanie Macpherson, created such a sensation it has been included in most versions of the story ever since.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?