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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>
Joyce Bryant and Elizabeth Foster also did screen tests for the role of Carmen Jones. Dorothy Dandridge did her screen test working opposite veteran actor James Edwards in the role of Joe. Edwards, whose career was on the decline, was never considered for the role. See more »
Reflected in a window as Carmen is walking through town. See more »
Memorable Melodrama With A Standout Performance By Dorothy Dandridge
This memorable melodrama is an interesting adaptation of the classic "Carmen" story and music with a new setting and new song lyrics. Most of it works quite well, but it is remembered most of all for Dorothy Dandridge's impressive performance as "Carmen Jones".
The basic Carmen story itself is a perceptive and tragic look at the elemental passions and emotions that drive so much of what happens in human relationships. For the story to work most effectively, it takes a Carmen who not only has plenty of energy, but who also can be convincing in dominating all of the other characters. Dandridge excels at both, and she makes it easy to believe that she could get practically anything that she wanted from anyone.
Except for Pearl Bailey, who makes her character lively and entertaining in her own right, most of the rest of the cast is solid but is clearly - as is no doubt meant to be the case - overshadowed by Dandridge and Carmen. One exception, though, is Olga James as Cindy Lou. Although her character is very meek, and has no chance against Carmen, James does a fine job of making her sympathetic without becoming overly weepy or maudlin, and her performance adds some additional depth to the drama of relationships.
Most of the musical numbers work well, and there is good variety in them, as there is also in the settings and the material. The climactic sequence in the arena is nicely crafted, with the prizefight taking place in full view while, hidden from sight, the characters' passions are reaching the boiling point. It caps off an effective and interesting movie.
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