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Johnny Farrell is a gambling cheat who turns straight to work for an unsettling casino owner Ballin Mundson. But things take a turn for Johnny as his alluring ex-lover appears as Mundson's wife, and Mundson's machinations begin to unravel.
Following the plot of the opera, "Carmen," this story follows the wild gypsy's adventures as a siren and bandit. Carmen lures an innocent soldier to his ruin, getting him expelled from the army. He then turns to banditry, killing Carmen's husband and others. All this makes for an unhappy ending with the innocent repenting his sins and dying for them. Written by
Inside the Lilas Partia's, when Pablo squeezes Carmen's skirt pocket to check if she has more hidden money, her right arm is hanging. Next shot her right arm is folded. See more »
You're a nice boy but I don't love you. I don't love anybody. I never in my life loved anybody. And you're just the sort of big stupid who falls in love in return for a kiss. And then makes a nuisance of himself.
[She opens a back door]
You can go out this back way.
[Don Jose stands there confused]
Get out. Have you lost your hearing? I said go home!
Don José Lizarabengoa:
Because... Because I'm afraid that... that someday you will be very cruel.
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Rita Hayworth reached back to her portrayal of Dona Sol in Blood and Sand and even further back to her Spanish heritage for a riveting performance as Carmen, the fiery and seductive gypsy created by Prosper Merimee and immortalized by Bizet in his opera.
The Loves of Carmen is Rita's co-production with Columbia Pictures and this would be her last film for several years as right after this film came out, she married Aly Khan. She became a Princess and lived one wild jet setting life. She was queen of the tabloids back then.
Carmen as done by Hayworth is beautiful, fascinating, and frightening. Scary in the way she just uses, abuses, and discards the male of the species. It's the perfect Rita Hayworth role for those demanding to see in my opinion the greatest sex goddess the cinema ever produced.
The reason that The Loves of Carmen is not a classic is the horrible miscasting of Glenn Ford as Don Jose. Try as he might Glenn Ford comes off about as Latin as Curt Jurgens. Ford had the same problem when he was cast in Rudolph Valentino's role in the remake of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Tyrone Power worked well opposite Rita in Blood and Sand, but he was at the wrong studio. And it would have to have been the pre World War II Power. Someone like Farley Granger who could have suggested a callow youth might have been better.
Rita cast Ford in the part, partly for reasons of friendship, partly because it cost nothing extra because Glenn was under contract to Columbia as she was, and partly due to the big box office they became because of Gilda two years earlier. When Rita did return to the screen after her marriage to Aly Khan was over, Ford appeared opposite her in Affair in Trinidad which was far better suited to his image.
I won't go into the plot because the Bizet Opera and the musical Carmen Jones has made it all so familiar. Let's just say that between Hayworth's amorality and Ford's hormones it ends in tragedy for both.
The rest of the cast does just fine. Note the good performances of Arnold Moss as Ford's commanding officer, Victor Jory as the gypsy bandit leader, Margaret Wycherly as the old gypsy woman who foretells the future for all. Most of all Luther Adler who is a cynical observer of all around him from Jory's band of thieves.
But as in another Columbia classic, The Loves of Carmen could have been a contender.
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