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Carmen (1918)

The tragic story of Don Jose, a Spanish cavalryman, who falls under the spell of a gypsy girl, Carmen, who treats him with both love and contempt and leads him into temptation and thus ... See full summary »


Ernst Lubitsch

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Cast overview:
Pola Negri ... Carmen
Harry Liedtke ... Don José Navarro
Leopold von Ledebur Leopold von Ledebur ... Garcia
Grete Diercks Grete Diercks ... Dolores
Wilhelm Diegelmann ... Gefängniswärter / Prison Guard
Heinrich Peer Heinrich Peer ... Englischer Offizier
Margarete Kupfer ... Carmens Wirtin - Landlady
Sophie Pagay Sophie Pagay ... Don Josés Mutter
Paul Conradi Paul Conradi ... Don Cairo
Max Kronert Max Kronert ... Remendado
Magnus Stifter Magnus Stifter ... Lt. Escamillo
Paul Biensfeldt Paul Biensfeldt ... Soldat
Victor Janson Victor Janson
Albert Venohr Albert Venohr


The tragic story of Don Jose, a Spanish cavalryman, who falls under the spell of a gypsy girl, Carmen, who treats him with both love and contempt and leads him into temptation and thus damnation. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A stirring love tale of Old Spain. Based on the original French version of Prosper Merimee's "Carmen" (1921 Gypsy Blood poster) See more »









Release Date:

8 May 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gypsy Blood See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


On November 8, 1918, the UFA film studio held a special preview for the Berlin press. This occurred amid street battles between Spartacist strikers and government soldiers. Pola Negri later recalled the chaos: "The studio orchestra played selections from 'Carmen' to get us in the mood. We sat down in the projection room, and the film began. I heard a faint sound in the distance . . . gunfire." As the gunfire became louder, director Ernst Lubitsch urged the audience to remain calm and to finish viewing the film. By nightfall the strikers and the troops were engaged in close-quarters battle and all streets were closed. See more »


Version of Carmen (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Lubitsch and Negri's Carmen and the American Carmens
6 September 2006 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

As was the case with many other nations, especially after the war, the German movie industry had a disadvantaged struggle against the flood of American films into German cinemas. Ernst Lubitsch, like other prominent filmmakers, was surely acutely aware of this disadvantage. Beginning in 1918, Lubitsch went from being mostly a comedic director to a supposedly more serious filmmaker of pseudo-historical tragedies, with bigger budgets and starring Pola Negri. This new direction, aside "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" and the other stylized art pictures, did prove to be successful in paving the way for the exportation of German films.

Additionally, many of them, unlike the more or less distinctly German pictures such as "Caligari", were made intentionally to look more like American and other foreign pictures. This one, "Carmen", came after two American versions--both released in 1915--one by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Geraldine Farrar and the other by Raoul Walsh and starring Theda Bara. Compared to DeMille's film, Lubitsch's "Carmen" appears unpolished, but I don't think that's bad. Because of their glitter, DeMille's scenes often seem staged and stagy. Although Lubitsch's direction isn't recommended, either, aside from some occasional dolly shots and the addition of framing the story as a told story.

Additionally, Farrar was annoying as Carmen. Negri is much better in comparison, but still rather unremarkable, I think. Edna Purviance, in Chaplin's burlesque, is still my favorite Carmen. The Walsh-Bara version doesn't exist anymore, as doesn't many early Fox films that burned in their vaults, so there's very little one can say about it. One thing to mention, however, is that Theda Bara's character was a vamp prototype, and Fox advertised it creatively, which is similar to Negri's persona and Ufa's publicity of her. Both Negri and Lubitsch emigrated to work in Hollywood. Negri wasn't very successful, but it's no wonder that Lubitsch was a better American filmmaker than a German one.

I saw the American version of this film, re-titled "Gypsy Blood", which was kind of the original intention, anyhow.

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