In this legendary Gershwin opera set among the black residents of a fishing village in 1912 South Carolina, Bess - a woman with a disreputable history - tries to break free from her brutish... See full summary »
Sammy Davis Jr.
This biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson, who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in ... See full summary »
Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Ned McCarthy, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard ... See full summary »
Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.
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At an all-black army camp, civilian parachute maker and "hot bundle" Carmen Jones is desired by many of the men. Naturally, she wants Joe, who's engaged to sweet Cindy Lou and about to go into pilot training for the Korean War. Going after him, she succeeds only in getting him into the stockade. While she awaits his release, trouble approaches for both of them. Songs from the Bizet opera with modernized lyrics. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Eartha Kitt was offered the role of Carmen, but the studio wanted her singing voice to be dubbed, so that her character would have an operatic voice. The same offer was made to Harry Belafonte and Diahann Carroll who accepted, but Kitt refused, wanting to use her natural voice. Dubbing was not required for Pearl Bailey, whose own voice suited her comedic songs. See more »
Carmen fixes Joe's belt, but in doing so she skips a belt loop. In the next scene the belt is worn correctly. See more »
Somethin' tells me Chicago's gonna be real good for you.
Somethin' tells me you gonna be real bad for Chicago.
See more »
This film shows just how much talent existed and was mostly unused because of the small number of pictures made with African-American casts during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
It's a remake of Bizet's "Carmen", and was originally performed on Broadway in the 1940's. Otto Preminger filmed the play during the 1950's. The songs all retain Bizet's original music, but the lyrics have been updated to English. If you've never seen the opera, and are intimidated by opera in general, this film would actually be a good introduction to the topic.
The plot is moved from a Spanish village during the late 1800's to the American South during WWII. The cigarette factory is now a parachute factory, and the bullfighter is now a prize fighter. Generally, I thought the update was done well, just as some Shakespearean updates work well. The only part which doesn't work for me is that some of the dialogue and lyrics are in what I think of as "Porgy and Bess Ebonics", e.g. "dees", "dem", "dat", etc.
Carmen is played by Dorothy Dandridge, who is known as the African-American Marilyn Monroe. The two women's lives sadly parallel each other, although Dandridge could find even fewer scripts to show off her acting talents. Harry Belafonte plays the seduced male lead. Both are stunning beautiful, and at their prime.
All of the singing voices are dubbed by first rank operatic voices; the songs for Carmen Jones are dubbed by Marilyn Horne, for example.
The tragedy is realizing how many great actors and actresses could have had brilliant careers except for their skin color. It was interesting and sad to watch the Movietone Newsreel coverage of the premiere, which came attached to the copy of the tape I had. It features all of the white movie stars attending the premiere, the white studio heads -- and just happens to have a second or two of Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge at the end.
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