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Carmen Jones (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  28 October 1954 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,996 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 34 critic

Contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and an African-American cast.

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Writers:

(book) (as Oscar Hammerstein 2nd) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Carmen Jones (1954)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe
...
...
Frankie
Olga James ...
Cindy Lou
Joe Adams ...
...
Sergeant Brown (as Broc Peters)
Roy Glenn ...
Rum Daniels
Nick Stewart ...
...
LeVern Hutcherson ...
Joe (voice) (as Le Vern Hutcherson)
Marilyn Horne ...
Carmen Jones (voice) (as Marilynn Horne)
Marvin Hayes ...
Husky Miller (voice)
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones  »

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leontyne Price was originally assigned to dub Dorothy Dandridge's singing voice, but fell ill and was replaced by Marilyn Horne. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Joe: Thanks, but I don't drink.
Carmen Jones: Boy, if the army was made up of nothin' but soldiers like you, war wouldn't do nobody no good.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ray (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

STAN' UP AN' FIGHT
Music by Georges Bizet
Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on "Toreador Song"
Performed by Joe Adams (dubbed by Marvin Hayes); reprised by chorus in fight scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating experiment
30 August 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

I believe the other reviewer misses the point. This film was a fascinating experiment in restaging and updating an opera "warhorse." Imagine a Hollywood studio trying to do something like this today? Unthinkable.

The basic story line is classic - man, woman, betrayal, death. I find the musical renderings of Bizet's tunes most interesting. (Dmitri Tiomkin was one of the musical directors (uncredited).) The original lyrics aren't all that interesting, so re-writing the words doesn't seem to me of much consequence. I could wish, however, that the singing and acting were better. (Except for Carmen -- Marilyn Horne!!)

The race thing doesn't trouble me at all. The original 'Carmen' was set in the Seville underclass, so this transformation to America of the 1920s made perfect sense. And it gave a lot of black actors a good gig!

Opera stage directors and designers often set operas in modern times. Shakespeare's plays are often reset into modern times. Remember Ethan Hawkes' "Hamlet?" We should encourage these revitalization attempts. After all, they are, in a very real sense, truly creative works.

Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, but films like 'Carmen Jones' exemplify a vital history of 'Americanizing' the sometimes stale European 'high art' ideal into more readily digestible fare. This maybe isn't the greatest movie ever made, but c'mon! Give Hollywood a break. They were trying to DO something, so let's give some credit for a good attempt.


9 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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